As the bleary-eyed families of Olympians whose hopes have been dashed in the qualifying rounds of the Olympics console their loved ones, dreams of golden victories laid aside, Sophie this week presents a story about two young missionaries going off to do good work in Nepal.
When he was confronted with two options: to pursue his athletic career or accompany his sister on a mission to China, the Scottish sportsman Eric Liddell ultimately chose the mission field. After winning Olympic gold in the 400m, he hung up his running shoes, became an ordained minister, married and had three children (more on his story to come).
In January, my husband threw away nearly all his sporting trophies. He kept just three. A step of faith that says, 'I will not be defined by these things, though they brought me great pleasure at the time' can be the most liberating thing. But it is often hard to let go if we feel that we have not yet accomplished the task of rising to our best. The finish line has not been crossed.
No doubt many of us have entertained 'what could have beens' with regards to where we left our sporting (or in my case ballet) careers off. For some the motivation simply was not there, for others there were distractions, for still more the feeling that we were not quite good enough. So let's encourage those who show talent to give their all, for the window of time is short, but also keep in mind that once that season has passed, there's lots of new terrain to explore. Nothing is lost.
"The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God's help I run faster," said Liddell. And I think there's something in that for all of us. When we come to a place where our own strength has run out, we can safely turn to God and say, 'What next?', and then take a leap of faith.
Though the conversation around the pros and cons of 'voluntourism' and foreign aid are coming to the fore, positing missionaries as out for their own gratification and making a mess of localised situations, my current position on this (after many hours of reading and thinking – and more to come soon) is that it is better to do something with the right heart motive and all the knowledge you can acquire than to sit back and do nothing at all. And it is best to have God on your side.
The Word for the Week: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord." Psalm 19:4
Quote for the Week: "Beyond the impact of a student's home and family – which remains unparalleled as the leading factor in their attainment at school – the quality of teaching has the greatest impact on academic performance." - Andrew Stevenson, 'Back to School', The Sydney Morning Herald, August 4-5, 2012
Dictionary.com word for the week: billet-doux \BIL-ey-DOO\, noun;
plural billets-doux \bil-ay-DOO(Z)\: A love letter.
"Her pocket stuffed with a little billet-doux, she headed out into the sunshine to pour over its contents. Could it really be as the words said? That she was loved and that love would conquer all? It was almost too much to contemplate."
Girl With a Satchel