You can’t win a gold medal everyday

August 19, 2016

Most of us are watching (at least bits and pieces of) the Olympics. We stand witness to record breakers, medal takers, and status quo shakers. Athletes amaze us with their intense focus and tenacity. And overcome with pride, we all tear up when we see our flag raised, in honor of our champions. But we have to know that even those world-class athletes don’t have gold medal performances everyday.

I went for a run last night. But about 2 miles in, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was tired and weak and I felt a little “tender tummy”. Swallowing my pride and wrestling a sense of defeat, I walked for the next mile. At first, the mile felt like failure. But I caught a glimpse of a few leaves that, on their edges, were a soft shade of orange…a tiny window into fall. It’s Olympic season; back-to-school season; the full moon. My shoulders relaxed, my breath slowed. I ran the last two miles home. And I accepted that the run wouldn’t be a PR. But it was an essential run nonetheless.

I believe we need these cycles. The every four years of the Olympics. The school year and the summer. The new moon and the full moon. The emotional highs…and the depression.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything that happens in life—there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven..and I know God has made everything beautiful for its time.” About two years ago, I found myself at a place that I can only describe as The Bottom. Emotionally spent. Physically unwell. Spiritually dry. Relationally disengaged. A season of despair. The choices I made in that place, the opportunities I missed, are painful for me to reflect on now. But in that shattered spot, there was a season of humility. A season of tears. Then a season of openness. And the season that followed was a season of such intense joy and hope and renewal, unrivaled by any season of my past.

I don’t know why we all think we belong in some sort of artificial steady state. That’s not how God made us. We are wired for seasons. Because without the comparison of the deep and aching sadness, the failed run, the scorching of summer, we can’t fully appreciate our encounter with a gold medal run; a crisp fall evening; with true joy.

Disclaimer: My viewpoints are not necessarily reflective of my employer, or any local, regional or national organization that I belong to. As a matter of fact, I pretty much just speak for myself. Please keep that in mind.

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