Were you glued to your TV during the Olympics? Or secretly streaming it while at work as well? London 2012 Olympics ended a few days ago. Our sister, Sandy, shares her thoughts on the Olympics and how she has been challenged by it.
I am an Olympics fanatic. I am definitely not the “sporty” type, but I love to watch sports. So, as you may have guessed, every second I find I turn on the TV or my computer to find out what is happening at the London 2012 Olympics.
Funny enough, several thoughts come to mind this time as I watch. I am reminded and challenged to ponder about the similarities between these athletes and us, those who profess to love Jesus.
The Love for the Sport.
One thing that seems to be common amongst most athletes is this: they all seem to say that they first started practicing their sports because they fell in love with it. That was their Drive for perfection, for excellence and for continuing despite challenges and obstacles.
They loved it.
**Question: What or Who do I love to that degree? Do I love Jesus that much that it drives me to seek to be perfect based on His standards? To excel in what He deems worth excelling at? To persevere despite challenges ahead?
Focus: The Vision and Dream
They seem to all talk about a Dream. I hear from the commentators all the time: “they have worked hard for 4 years to get here, to the Olympics”. They had their goal in sight every early morning they rose to go to practice. They had their goal in sight every time they faced injuries that stopped them. They had their goal in sight every time they faced a lack of resources to get them going. They even had their goal in sight when (and note, it is “when” not “if”) they step on the podium.
That seems to be one main reason they persevered and one main reason they are able to taste victory when victory comes. They can recognize where they stand in light of that vision and dream.
**Question: What is my vision and dream? What drives me to get up in the morning? What drives me to do things I do not like to do?
They all seem to have an amazing ability to deal with pain. They all seem to go through pain at some stage. Physical pain through injuries. Emotional pain when they lose.
I watched a special segment on TV last night about PAIN in these athletes, and one, a rower from the Canadian team said something like this: “for the first few seconds you are rowing with adrenoline…but after the first 30 seconds there is no more of that left. Then at the one minute mark pain begins to settle in and everything in you is telling you to stop or at least slow down. But you know that whether you stop or continue, the pain will continue being there. And you have 7 other people rowing with you telling you to keep going – they depend on you too. So you decide to push through the pain and keep rowing to the end”
**Question: Where does that ability to push through pain come from? This rower did not see himself pursuing this dream alone. He had a sense of community and shared vision and goal. He trained with these like-minded people. He journeyed with them. And though each time they row they experience pain, they push forward. Do I have a sense of community as I pursuit to know God’s call for my life? Do I see how He has placed me in the midst of other like-minded people and wishes for us to dream together and ‘row’ together and go through ‘pain’ together?
Preparation alone is not enough
One thing I realized upon watching the games – these athletes prepare and train for years for the big game – the Olympics. But what sometimes we forget is that they started with perhaps small tournaments locally, then regional, then nationally and then participating at the world level events. They had to prepare and train, then ‘test’ it out in competition. Then regroup and go back and learn from the experience and the cycle continues again and again.
**Question: Sometimes we are weakened in our spiritual lives perhaps because we have mistakenly thought we need more preparation. We are too scared to test out how we fair in the real competition. But we do not realize that without these, all preparation would be meaningless.
Support system behind each athlete
There is a commercial running right now where they feature the mothers behind each athlete. The message is simple: behind each great athlete there is a support system ranging from family that have given up money, time and other things to support the athlete’s dreams to coaches who have journeyed with these athletes cheering them on but also speaking out the truth to them so they may reach their potential. These people exercised a lot of faith when you think of it — they believed even when the athlete lacked faith in him/herself. They not only believed but they showed it by their actions. They affirmed these athletes of who they are, their potential and reminded them of their love for the sport.
**Question: Who is my support team as I journey through this life? Do I have people who believe in me? Do I realize my coach – my God – is cheering me on, reprimanding me when I need to wake up, loving me when I forget how much He loves, and simply journeying alongside me? Or am I foolish enough to think I could pursuit the goal alone? Even deeper … Do I believe in my children’s potential to bring Glory to God? Or am I clueless? Do I believe?
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Image Credit: Peter Mooney/Flickr