If you have been watching the olympics, you would have seen elite athletes pushing themselves to the brink of their capacity and beyond. It becomes apparent that during many of the competitions, the determining factor of who prevails is not just a matter of who is physically stronger, faster or more skilled. The determining factor lies a lot deeper than the physical. Why do some of the strongest and best crack under pressure? Why do some spring back from set-backs while others crumble? Why do some let go once it becomes apparent they will not win while others continue to wring the best out of themselves to the end?
While every olympian competes to win, not every olympian can dig deep into themselves and bring out that something extra when they have already pushed themselves to the limit. When every muscle and sinew is screaming… or when victory seems impossible, not every olympian has the psychological tenacity and discipline to shut out negative thoughts and keep their eyes on the prize. It is always easier to give up and to find excuses. The true champions are those who regardless of whether they win a medal or not, have the ability to turn whatever outcome, praise, or criticism into motivation and who continue to surpass themselves.
We are, every one of us, participating in an ‘olympics’ that is our life. In this elite competition, our rivals and our stumbling blocks are our selves. We have to ask ourselves, do we know what prize we are training towards? Once we have one, do we keep our eyes on the prize? When set-backs happen to discourage us, do we give up? Or do we transform our pain into positive energy that fuel our journey? How deep can we dig?
The past week has been a tumultuous one for me, peppered with several emotionally draining episodes. Every time when I reacted, it was instinctively with anger and pain and impatience. I felt hurt and rejected. I felt indignant and unjustly treated. I felt I was not given what I was due. I was so empty that I could not give comfort for someone else in pain, and instead blamed that person for contributing to my stress.
Thank God for His kindness, for He gave me the grace to climb out of the swirl of negativity. I remembered that as badly as I felt I was being treated, I have always treated God worse. Here I was angry at not getting my due when I have never given God His due in love, respect, gratitude and trust. And I also remembered that the reason I am feeling so badly this week, the reason the set-backs felt so huge and overwhelming and despairing, was not because these were insurmountable odds, but because my heart is too brittle and not pliant enough. I have not been digging deep, I have not been tapping my heart into God’s never-ending source of love. The ultimate reason for my misery is because of me, not because of others, no matter how wrongly they might have acted.
Pray for me, that I will keep my eye on the prize no matter how difficult the struggles may be. My prize is eternal life with God. That is the medal I strive for.
how interesting that i was just doing my devotions yesterday on 1 corinthians 9:24-10:12.. we’re in a race for a crown that lasts for eternity, for our faith refined as gold, and for the many other lives that we help bring closer to God by His love and grace through us. As the olympians present their medals to their nation, so too, we will lay these crowns before our Lord and declare it His for His kingdom alone. the scripture reminds me also of the necessity of not being complacent but active in building up our faith, it is a continued discipline of self, in spiritual disciplines and in character.. while we may have been spiritually fed the same Word or been place in similar environments as others, or seen the same miracles, not all made it to the promised land of God because of idolatry of other gods (money, self, power, relationships), sexual immorality (lust, lack of self control), testing God (stubborn hearts) and grumbling! (ungrateful hearts). Was just reminded that the battle is ongoing and the battle for our faith is real, and how it is easy to let our guard down, and think we are doing alright and be led easily to be complacent in our faith responses — just as the atheletes continue to push themselves ahead even after they win the first round.. they are also aware there are many more rounds ahead. it never ends till the day we see our Lord, and lay down our crowns before Him. :)
Thank you for the encouragement and affirmation, Vee! It’s so true… we’re in a race for a crown that lasts for eternity, and it never ends till the day we see our Lord and lay down our crowns before Him.