Opportunities can slip out of our hands in an instant but they can also be thrust upon us out of nowhere. The question is are you ready to let them go whilst simultaneously being prepared to catch them?
The path to elite representation in sport is often clearly marked. Levels of achievement are used to indicate one's readiness to progress to the next stage. When an athlete has not been chosen to advance it can be extremely disheartening and motivation to continue can waiver.
Whilst opportunities to compete are often out of our hands, we can control how prepared we are when they arise.
We have the choice to honor a gift God has given us (Matthew chapter 25, verses 14-30). Are we willing to put in the hard yards to prepare not only physically and mentality but also spiritually for God's plans in our lives?
Preparation spiritually is not just with regard to ensuring we remain humble when we succeed, it is trusting that even if we do not that God is with us and his plan for us is not defined by a worldly outcome.
It is easy to proclaim God's goodness and purpose for us beyond the outcome when we do not yet know the results of the season. It is far harder when we do and they were not what we expected. All too often without realizing it, we can use our faith to convince ourselves that if we feel we have God’s blessing on our side he must intend for us to win. Misquoting bible verse such as Psalms chapter 46, verse 5 “if God is within her she will not fail”.
I spoke in front of my church prior to attending an Olympic Qualification Event, proclaiming God’s goodness and how I felt he was partnering with me, sending me to this event for a purpose beyond it regardless of the outcome. So many things had fallen into place for me to go and compete –selection, funding, covid restriction changes and MIQ spots.
The words I had proclaimed at church were thrown back in my face when not only did we not qualify for the Olympics but we did not win a single game in the qualifier. MIQ forced me to wrestle with my words, to examine my heart and whether or not I actually believed in God’s purpose beyond the outcome.
I realized I had not prepared myself spiritually for an outcome that was not Olympic Qualification.
Was I willing to trust that God still had a purpose for that experience, did I have faith that I had not failed to catch the opportunity that God had blessed me with?
Through struggling to reconcile what the world was calling an absolute failure with my faith, I came to see that if I held so tightly onto having missed the opportunity of the Olympics, I would not have the ability to catch the true opportunity God was placing in my life.
God can use all things for his good. I do not believe that God was the reason I did not succeed in Olympic Qualification but I have faith that he is the reason that regardless of that outcome I still have a purpose and God will continue to bless me in the future (Psalms chapter 73, verse 26).
Opportunities often do not appear to be what we envision, especially when we are partnering with God (Isaiah chapter 55, verse 8-9).
God can use our capacity to play sport to reach an incredibly diverse demographic that would otherwise not encounter Jesus. Through perceived failure in sport, God can create inspiring testimonials and radically move us in new directions. Do not limit your ideas of the purpose of God upon your life by buying into the belief that it must look a certain way.
Our experiences of worldly failure are just as valuable as winning. If we have not prepared ourselves spiritually to proclaim God's goodness and grace through victory and failure, our victories will be hollow and failures will be even more devastating and life defining.
Therefore, it would be foolish to refuse to not prepare our hearts (Proverbs chapter 20, verse 4). We need to choose to allow God to grow our faith and trust in him without fear of missing the mark.
Mhairi-Bronté Duncan plays Curling for New Zealand and uses her experiences as an athlete to inspire her writing.