Passion and purpose came together, broadcasted on our television, for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Our family gathered in the living room to watch the opening ceremony and many of the events.
The DVR was backed-up to replay seventeen-year-old Red Gerard snowboarding to the gold. We were absolutely blown away. Remarkable excitement continued as we watched Chloe Kim, another seventeen-year-old USA snowboarder, take the gold in the ladies’ halfpipe. We’re talking high schoolers here! Winning gold at the Olympics!!! So super impressive!
Of course we were rooting for the athletes who are practically considered advanced age when it comes to these competitions.
Snowboarder Shaun White represented not only Americans when he secured the gold in the men’s halfpipe, but he put a face to every individual over the age of thirty who has fierce competition running through their veins. And although we were pulling for gold, thirty-three year old Lindsey Vonn made us equally as proud taking bronze in the alpine skiing ladies’ downhill. I had seen an interview of her discussing how sentimental this was for her, not only being her last time to compete, but it also being a tribute to her late grandfather. My heart was a bit sad during the medal ceremony as she stood watching Italy’s flag raised with gold medalist Sofia Goggia passionately singing her country’s anthem. I just wanted that to be Vonn’s moment, for her flag, her anthem, her country, grandfather and for her purpose and her passion.
But it got me thinking.
It got me thinking about all the competitors we never take note on. The many athletes whose passion and purpose got them there, but don’t rank at the top.
For instance, thirty-year old Peetu Piiroinen from Finland. He ranked twelfth in the snowboard men’s halfpipe. Meaning his score was 13.50 compared to Shaun White’s gold medal score of 97.75. That hurts when we compare the numbers. Or consider Elvedina Muzaferija, the eighteen-year old skier from Bosnia and Herzegovina. While I was sad for Lindsey Vonn, her performance on the alpine skiing ladies’ downhill was more than seven seconds faster than Muzaferija’s.
These athletes have also committed, dedicated, trained and pursued their purpose and passion. Although they didn’t get a medal, their achievement is found in attaining the status of an Olympic athlete. Which is an impressive accomplishment in itself. Truly.
But this got me thinking some more.
How does this relate in my life? What can I learn from these athletes who commit their lives to something they may never receive a medal for?
There is most certainly something to learn.
I think we can all recall a time we’ve given our all without being given any notice.
It’s been for real recently. I’ve got passion and purpose for my role as wife, a mom, a writer, a speaker and a nurse. And The Uncelebrated moments are far more frequent than the celebrated.
Moments in mothering like having a teenager shrug shoulders when I sincerely express how empty on love and appreciation I feel. Uncelebrated.
Moments in marriage when I believed we were no longer vulnerable to hurts, hang-ups or four-hour fights, only to find ourselves in one. Uncelebrated.
Moments in NICU nursing like having a surgeon hang-up on me to place a complaint call about me. Uncelebrated.
Are you with me? Please tell me you’re out there.
The point is, just like these Olympic athletes, sometimes we don’t get the gold for pursuing our passion and purpose. Gracious, we don’t get a medal. We often don’t even get a measly thank you for crying out loud. But we don’t stop pursuing do we? We don’t throw in the towel on those ungrateful teens, those imperfect marriages or impatient surgeons.
Why? Why don’t we just say, “Forget it” or “I give up”? Because it’s bigger than us.
Those passions, God placed them there to burn in our hearts and He gives us purpose in pursuing them. Especially when they are hard. Especially when they are difficult.
I’m convinced the more challenge or opposition we find, the greater the value is in it.
I believe those are the things worth investing in, the stuff worth pressing on and sometimes fighting over.
This life is our crown. At times it certainly seems like an Olympic-sized challenge. However, unlike the Olympics, the gold and jewels aren’t found in the celebrated moments, but rather in those uncelebrated ones. Whether the world sees it or not, God watches you compete and He’s taking note of your courage to pursue the passion He placed within you. You may not feel like you rank at the top, but God is making a champion out of you- giving you the status of overcomer, victor, and winner!
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 NIV
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