As the Olympics have been going on, I have loved the stories of the journeys of the athletes and learning what all was required of them to “go for the gold.” The media is also reporting about the effect of the Olympics on young children as they now become dreamers of being the next Michael Phelps or Gabby Douglas. I have to admit, I have not moved to the level of wanting to go that far, but I do have such respect for the commitment and sacrifice of these athletes!
This past Sunday, my indwelling Friend, the Holy Spirit, began a conversation with me in my heart about my level of commitment and sacrifice I have currently and even the willingness to go further with Him. (Can you say “meddling?”)
He began by drawing such a parallel in an Olympic athlete and the Christian’s life. When a young person begins the process of training for the Olympics, the circumstances, training, and even the coaching are more of a fun or joyful type setting. Perhaps, this would be the stage of desiring more than dreaming or committing. The level of understanding experientially is not that deep! (Experience is the key word.) As the training gets more intense, the requirements and testing increase. The coaching becomes more individualized, the diet is increasingly restrictive, and even the life of the athlete no longer belongs to himself. Basically, the Olympian is not his own any longer. He belongs to another’s ways, thoughts, system…you get the picture! The journey has changed considerably and many drop out, become injured, distracted, or decide the Olympic path is way too costly. (“If I had known this would be so hard or I would be expected to do this, I would not have signed on for the training.”)
By now, you may see where the Holy Spirit was taking me in my heart conversation with Him. The Christian life has certainly changed over the years as I have traveled and trained with the Lord! The ante has definitely been upped! The Coaching, distractions, diet, restrictions have intensified, and my heart has been changed from the night Christ came into my life! I had no idea where this relationship would take me when we began together, but I knew I was all in! It has been a thirty-five year relationship full of joy, fear, failure, rescue, forgiveness, do-overs, trusting, doubting, hope, peace, patience, surprises. Basically, He has been the faithful One, the steady One, the Leader of my life. I can’t imagine taking me on as a new creature in Christ. I am thankful my Coach did not and will not dismiss me when I am not as committed or faithful to Him and His ways as I should be. I do greatly desire to “finish the race marked out for me” and to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into your rest” when my spiritual Olympic life is over. But even as late as last night, I found myself and my Coach talking about the next level of training, and I was saying in my heart, “Please don’t ask me to do that or make me go there.” Not very Olympic! But, once again, He is faithfully and patiently working with me to give me the courage and surrender of heart to obey and not fear.
This Olympic spiritual heart wants the gold, does not want to settle for “just getting there.” I want to hear the anthem “Victory in Jesus” played when I finish the race and come before the One who got me there.
I am so honored to represent Him as He sends me to participate daily in the events of this life. The closing ceremonies are looking more and more exciting!