Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lessons from the Olympics

photo credit
An Olympic junkie emerged the night Mary Lou Retton scored a perfect ten on the vault and brought home the gold in 1984. 

I love the Olympics. I leave on the TV all day long and cheer for beach volleyball, rowing, white water rafting and synchronized swimming. I stay up all night watching the Fab Five go for more gold on my DVR. I cry at every competitor's story and during commercials, especially the ones that talk about hard work, sacrifice and mothers.

Like most of America, I am obsessed with Michael Phelps’ quest becoming the most decorated Olympian in history. I cheered (and cried) when he was crowned with his career finishing 22nd medal and 18th gold.

An intriguing strategy
An interview with his coach, Bob Bowman, revealed some strategy for coaching the champion. Bowman says that by far, it isn’t Phelps’ swimming that’s his best asset. It’s his mental toughness. Bowman said that this past year he worked on developing that even more by focusing on helping Phelps overcome adversity.

Before every meet for an entire year, the coach watched for opportunities and arranged for some unexpected inconvenience. When Phelps forgot to get his goggles out of his bag, his coach pocketed them instead of giving them to him. When Phelps left his goggles laying on the ground, his coach stepped on them so they would fill up with water during his race. The night before one big meet, Bowman arranged for their car to show up an hour late so they’d miss dinner.

Frustration or confusion?
I wondered if Michael Phelps ever felt betrayed when it seemed the very one cheering for him, the one credited for shaping his talent, was trying to sabotage his success.

Or did Phelps understand that these trials in lesser meets would ultimately prepare him to withstand the pressures and unexpected surprises that would surely greet him in London?

An artist, not an athlete, identifies
Totally intrigued by this philosophy, my mind started twirling and God began to speak. 

The Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems [even when we don’t understand them]...And we know all things work together for good for those that love God. (Romans 8:26 & 28)

The mutual admiration and respect coach and swimmer have for each other is obvious. Twenty-two medals, 18 of them gold, are evidence that ultimately Phelps trusted in his coach’s plan to fulfill his destiny.

The question is, do I trust my Coach even when He allows or arranges adversity on the path to my destiny? Do you? Tweet this now

Romans 8:22 says, “If we keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.”

Dictionary.com defines wait as a verb, the act of continuing in expectation.

So today when I run out of gas, run late, burn dinner or find my six-year-old in his birthday suit lathered in soap shaving his entire body (yes, it really happened), I will trust that my Coach knows what He’s doing allowing these silly trials in my life. Because whether it’s cancer or heartbreak there is surely coming a battle for the gold.

Just click on the comment button to share your current trial, whether it’s routine or Olympic-sized. I’d love to pray for you!

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Helen Fagan said...

Thank you...I enjoyed reading this awesome post!

Lisa Smith said...

Thanks, Helen!! xoxo

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

What a GREAT post!! I truly believe the Lord allows difficulty in our lives to see if we will trust Him completely. Loved the Michael Phelps analogy.

Lisa Smith said...

Thanks Leah!! God sure has proven this through your story, my friend. Thank you for your constant encouragement :)

Donna said...

That was a beautiful analogy and brought home the message! It is definitely something to think about. Do I trust my Coach enough when He allows adversity on my path to my destiny? Thanks for sharing!

Kathy B said...

Your post is great. Stopping by to say Hi from the blog hop. Come visit sometime, tea is cold and no shoes are required. Kathy B. http://www.southernmadeintheshade.blogspot.com New follower from Austin TX