Monday, August 25, 2008

An Awkward Ending

The flame was officially extinguished last night in Beijing. The flag was taken down and passed on the London for the 2012 games.

I don't know if he was scared or just plain nervous but the Mayor of London looked very uncomfortable last night as he entered the stadium and walked onto the stage. It was really odd to watch him climb the stairs two at a time, not know what to do with his hands while standing there, and then struggle with the flag (as they all did). But I could not help but think that this guy was coming across as a goof ball.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not coming down on the guy. I am just wondering why he seemed so out of it. I am guessing he was just really nervous and was in a situation that was totally foreign to him (pun intended).

We all feel like that sometimes. The boss calls a surprise meeting and all the other "bosses" are there. The teacher starts asking for volunteers to come to the front of the class. Dad comes home and goes straight to his room with Mom so they can talk about a "situation" that occurred at work. A neighbor invites you to a party and you know absolutely no one else who is there. The school is hosting an Open House and you are the new family in the class. All of these situations and others just like them can really make us feel very uncomfortable, uneasy, and out of place.

I want to encourage you to try something. The next time you are in one of these situations, remember that you are not the first person to feel that way. You are probably not the only person in the situation who feels that way. And this is probably not going to be the last time you feel this way. So relax. Take it easy. Don't draw attention to yourself but go ahead and introduce yourself to someone new. Take part in what is going on. Don't just sit there doing nothing and looking awkward. Wade into the situation with confidence that says, "I know this is new for me but I can get through it and will know how to handle it better next time."

I bet you will find that by taking some steps like these that others will be put at ease too and you will make some new friends at the same time.

And remember this: At least you are not on world-wide TV.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh No Lolo!

"I could feel the gold around me." That was the comment from Lolo Jones right after she finished 7th in the final of the 100m Hurdles in the Beijing Olympics.

Lolo was winning by a huge margin as she approached the 9th (next to last) hurdle. For whatever reason, her lead foot struck the hurdle causing her to lose her balance and, more importantly, her momentum. She struggled to keep going, cleared the final hurdle, crossed the finish line and collapsed on the tack in total shock and dismay.

She was so close to wining the gold. She could see it, taste it, feel it. But she didn't get it.

So what can we learn from Lolo? How can we find anything good from this athletic disaster?

After her devastating loss, Lolo took time to be interviewed by NBC trackside reporter Bob Neumeier. She smiled as she explained what happened, She mentioned that she usually hits two hurdles a year and how crazy it was that this happened in what she termed "the most important race of my life." She mentioned how proud she was of her team mate, Dawn Harper who won the race, and how proud she was to represent America. Was she just putting on a good face for the camera? Was she just feigning athletic pride and sportsmanship? Was she just trying not to cry on world wide TV? Maybe. But I think there is more to it than that.

Lolo showed us the importance of facing the obstacles in life and still finishing the race. She showed us how to keep going even when it's tough. She showed us how to never quit, learn from your mistakes, take on the hurdles that life throws in your path and keep your eyes on the prize.

Did she get the gold, No. Did she just smile and keep going? No. She disappeared under the stadium and cried alone. Did she set any kind of record or secure a spot in the Olympic history books? No. But, she finished the race. She gave her all. She did not make excuses. She did not blame anyone else. She simply expressed her disappointment, congratulated her team mate, and moved on.

Way to go Lolo. I hate that you did not win. But I am proud of you for handling defeat with such grace. May we all handle the disappointments of life so well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Let The Medal Count Begin

China - 14. USA - 12. Korea - 8

What a blast. The Olympics are in full swing and the records are falling and the medals are being awarded! I am loving this.

Not only is China leading in the overall count but also in the Gold Medal count. They are jamming. Call it "home country advantage" if you want but the fact is China is winning.

This week we talked about the importance of training in order to win. We looked at some things that will help us get in SHAPE in order to put ourselves in position to succeed. Training is essential to winning and that's a fact.

One thing that will help you as you try to get in SHAPE is to put a goal out there. Put something out there to remind you of what you are trying to accomplish. Something that you see everyday to help you focus and recall your goal. Some kind of tangible motivation for your training. It will make all the difference in the world. It will help hold you accountable. It will keep you on track and help you win.

Get in SHAPE and Run to Win.

BTW...a guy from India won the gold medal in 10m Air Rifle! He's in the photo above.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Going For Gold

Four more days. Only four more days until the 2008 Olympics begin. I can't wait! I love the Olympics. Especially the Summer Olympics because of the track and field competition.

We kicked off a new series yesterday called Going For Gold. I believe the Bible teaches that we can all be winners in the race of life. It won't be easy and there will be obstacles but we can all win. As I was preparing for this series I was struck by an interesting thought. Not every believes that. There are tons of people who believe that they are losers and will always be losers. Many people believe that since they have so much junk in their past they will never be able to be a winner in the race of life. Some people believe that they are not "good" enough to win. Some think they don't deserve to win. Some are just so tired of trying and failing that they will not put themselves through that pain of trying again.

That's too be because life goes on. No matter what has happened or even will happen, life goes on. One day, those of us who have a relationships with God through Jesus will be set free from the junk of this world but until then, life goes on. So why not get in on the best we can.

As we work through the truth of God's Word over the next few weeks, I am excited about what He is going to reveal to us about getting in on the best He has for us. He has proclaimed us winners, not whiners. He has provided all we need to win the gold. All we have to do is grab it and go.

So don't settle for silver. You are better than bronze. Go for the Gold.

Run to Win!