If I Were An Olympic Judge

I see the tears and anguish and want to console each one. Walk through the big screen and give a long embrace.

I want to tell them you are not your shortcomings. You are not defined by your loss.

I watch them come up short of a medal, these Olympic athletics and I long to console them. Wipe their tears, dry their eyes.

After all the training and all the effort and the blood sweat and tears, they fail to win big on the world stage.

This outcome, this turn of events, these results are not their Plan A.

And it hurts, it stings and it feels like defeat.

You are so much more than this one competition, though often your life and certainly your training have built up to this, lead to this, I long to say to the losers. The ones who fail to win the medals.

Because in my eyes, they are winners.

They and their stories are gold medal winners. And I’d give them each a medal for their humanity. Their humaneness on display for the world to see. Those who struggled and trained and gave it their all, but fell short. Or made a costly mistake. Or stumbled. Or botched the routine. Or simply had an off day. Or who ran out of steam.

Those Olympians whose stories are ripe with over-coming hardship and difficulty. Those whose story wins the medal for its tender perserverance, its victory over life’s rocky places take up big spaces in my heart.

They are the all of us so often. So very often.

They are raw and human and hurting. They feel loss and disappointment. And they are humbled by their shortcomings.

They are you. They are me. They are everyman living and struggling before our eyes. Though they wear an Olympic uniform we have walked where they are.

We know that sting. We know that pain. We know that deep hurt.

If I were an Olympic judge, they would get the medal for being there. For practicing hard and showing up to compete. For being a human. For being human. For being.

Because they look like winners to me. They wear their ache like a medal of bravery for being man.

And I know that more often than not, they can turn their disappointment into good and for the good.

They can take the moment of defeat and tease lessons from the trials. Wrap it into a future Hope for tomorrow. Take the loss and build on it, learn from it.

And change because of it.

The lessons from loss and disappointment so often bring big victories in charachter. They layer lessons of life on us like new skin, tougher smarter wiser layers of humanity.

They give us a humility. And they teach in a way that out and out winning the gold simply does not.

Because the lessons from difficulty teach from an entirely different book. And the lessons from suffering and pain are the ones that make us more human, more tender and more able to help and serve a hurting world.

And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God- those whom he has called… Romans 8:28.

But don’t we know how profoundly they are suffering when they stumble and fall and go home empty from these events. Don’t we know. Can’t we suffer alongside them, in our common humanity. In our shared state of being human and frail, vulnerable.

Don’t we feel deep in our bones and in our flesh and in our soul, the bruising and banging of the hurt. Of the falling just short, or very short, or way way off the mark entirely.

Don’t we long to change the story. Change their story. Edit, re-write the parts of hurt and suffering.

Don’t we long to re-wind the tape and turn the tide back for them. And let them start again afresh, anew. A second time. Don’t we want for them a do-over.

Don’t we want for them to win what they came for.

But their stories, when they stumble will be beautiful in loss.

And their stories will wear a crown of victory if they let them. And all the hurt and pain can be written into something beautiful in the end.

And the moments of hurt and pain can be redeemed. By Him who makes all things new.

If I were an Olympic judge I would give them gold for being a participant in the event. In this event of living this always wonderful always beautiful, sometimes difficult life.

And as they reach their hand for the medal I would say always remember” His mercies are new everyday.”

Now get back out there and finish your story. Your beautiful story that is your life.

Joining with Jennifer today at GDWJ.

And with Duane at Unwrapping His Promises and also for the first time here as well……

 


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26 thoughts on “If I Were An Olympic Judge

  1. Smiled wide when I saw you over at Duane’s place today : )

    Secret confession? I wish I had that kind of discipline to be an Olympian…in anything. And yet, isn’t that how I should pursue Him? Run the race with my eye on the prize? No looking back…just looking forward.
    I love that each Olympian has their own story to tell…and makes me wonder if God made me one after all.

  2. I can only imagine their pain. Working so hard to a goal and then failing…you are right, we’ve all been there. But He redeems all those stories of loss and pain and makes them beautiful. For Him. And this, “But their stories, when they stumble will be beautiful in loss.” So true. Beautiful post!

  3. Yes…whether on the olympic stage for in everyday life…victory or loss should not define us…but only the part of a long story God is writing…so the highs to elevate us to pride…and the lows drag us down into despair…but a constant abiding in His love for us. blessing to you~

  4. Hi Elizabeth,

    I just realized I called you Wynne when I commented last time…So sorry. You wrote my thoughts in this post because it is what I was saying to my husband last night. To learn that neither our victories, or our losses define our worth in God’s eyes is such a precious truth…and you are right, the painful times are character-forming times…thanks for your encouraging words over at my blog.

    • Oh, great having you here. I don’t think you did, but if so, its FINE. No worries. All’s grace here. Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for reading. Its a huge gift to have your heart and your eyes over here.

  5. Oh, this title grabbed me because I have felt the same. So glad we have a God who IS that kind of Judge. Just loving, consoling, and noticing His children for WHO they are and not who they aren’t.

  6. I agree. My heart just freezes sometimes for these talented and less-than-perfect who are just like the rest of us who ain’t perfect. In our day and age, it’s much more difficult, more serious. With TV constantly showing every tiny detail, unlike how it used to be, how could anyone have any privacy? Good thinking, good sharing.

  7. Each day, with grace, we can learn and discover the beauty that lies in our shortcomings. He is the One who gives us the joyous gifts that come in our disappointments. Great post. I really enjoyed reading it. DAF

    • DAF, what wise words from your end. Yes there are joyous gifts in our disappointments. Beautiful. Just hope he will give me eyes to always see and not get stuck. So easy to bog down when we’re disappointed. He teaches so gently in these times, though. Don’t want to miss His hand. Thanks for your great insight.

  8. Watching the Olympics today, I was so heavy-hearted for those young gymnasts that seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. I am so glad you wrote this. It was my heart, but your words are beautiful.

    I am going to have to come back when I am not so blurry eyed. It’s late here. I just want to say thank you too, for always have so much grace and love to share with me. I am looking forward to getting to know you more :)

    • Awwww, thank you for being here blurry eyed or not. You are kind to come when its late. That you chose to is a gift. Thanks for being here. And yes, I look forward to knowing you more and better, friend. Its always a pleasure over at your place. Thanks for the welcome mat.

    • Pam, your words humble me. I am grateful. I am glad you found this post beautiful. Thank you for being a visitor at my place. Hoping you will come back again and again. Your kindness touches me this day. Blessings.

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