Olympics… LOVE THEM! We DVR them so we can watch every possible minute. Knowing the athletes story makes us anticipate the event even more. Curling, skiing, skating, skeleton, bobsled and oh my goodness… hockey. My eyes ache from lack of sleep and when I’m in bed, I dream of being an athlete, specifically a runner. I even see the running clothes I wear, think about how I should be breathing and imagine how I will plant my feet. True. 🙂
We always cheer for the folks representing the USA, but we want to see all of the athletes be successful. Sometimes we are so captured by the story of a certain athlete, we get teary eyed as they prepare to compete. If they cry, you may as well forget it, you will find two blubbering people on our couch. If they fall, heaven help us. If they get back up…
The athletes fall. A. Lot. They fall as they practice, as they warm up and sometimes when they compete. It takes courage to fall in front of the world. It takes more courage to get up and try again. I’m often amazed at the tenacity of the athletes who get back up after a fall and finish their race or program, pushing through their frustration, sadness and pain. And those who suffer injury seem to always want to come back at least one more time to complete what they began. The finishing seems more important than the falling. I don’t mean to imply they aren’t disappointed or frustrated that they fell or missed a gate, but they still want to finish. The finishing and not the falling seems to define them.
Have you ever fallen? Physically? Spiritually? Personally? Emotionally? Financially? Professionally? Maybe you feel like you have bottomed out, that you simply cannot fall further? Maybe you’ve felt so humiliated that just holding your head up seems impossible. Maybe the world sees you as if… Dare I say it? As if you’ve failed.
The world is wrong. The only way to fail, is to not get back up, to not try to find a way to move forward. For an athlete it may be getting back up and finishing the race. For you or me it might be finding a new direction for our lives, or simply capitalizing on our strengths. Either way, it’s making the decision to do something, to find a new path or complete the one you are on. Often it won’t look like you expected. You might be surprised… maybe delighted, maybe even disappointed. But the failure is not in the falling or even in disappointment, it’s in the not trying.
Trying to maintain perspective in my life is a constant challenge. Regularly I’m confronted with things that quickly feel like the challenge is just too big or worse yet, that failure looms. But the reality is, it’s not failure at all. Why? Because I still try to fight for what is right, I try to find the best solutions to difficult problems. There are sleepless nights wrestling with difficult things, praying and searching for the right answers. We’ve been knocked down, confused and fallen more in the last two weeks than I could have imagined. And yet, no matter how others see it, we are pulling ourselves back on our feet and focused on the finish line. We’re searching for new answers, new solutions and strength to make difficult decisions. We may not always make the right decision, we may have to go back and as my Mom says, “Lick that calf all over again.” Falling doesn’t mean failure, it may be an opportunity to search for a new way to get to the finish line. We don’t always know what that will look like. But that’s where our faith comes in, trusting that God has a plan and God will see it through.
“It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” 2 Samuel 16:12
So many of you are wrestling with difficult things. There are sick children, broken relationships, complicated adoptions, financial troubles, health challenges, pain, devastating news, the death of someone precious, grief, depression… Obstacles, obstacles, obstacles. There are many others who have gone before us who have fought the fight and won the battle, even if the finish line for them was the gates of heaven. Let us continue fighting the good fight, working our way to the finish line.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Hebrews 12:1
You are amazing and we’re cheering you on! We love you!!
Cindy and John