For those who don’t know, I’m also an assistant cross country coach for a local high school team. This year, we had a young man on the team who is a great athlete, very competitive and was one of the top returning runners in the State. He had set some lofty goals for this season. He wanted to be chosen as a team captain, to run a personal best time, and for his team to win a state championship. He began working very hard in the off-season, but six months before the season started, he was diagnosed with a lower back stress fracture and wasn’t allowed to run during that time. He was crushed.
Two weeks into our ten week season, he did his first run; ten minutes of walking/jogging. Four weeks later, he’d worked hard and built himself up to 30 minute runs, while his varsity teammates were running 60-70 minutes. Truth be told, he was having trouble keeping up with me for 30 minutes…and I run at more of a JV girl pace :). His goals seemed so far out of reach just a month before the state meet, but he never gave up. He kept working hard, despite the fact that he was not selected captain.
Miraculously, he made drastic improvements over the next two weeks and ended up running on the varsity squad for the conference meet, and then at State. He ran well at the state meet and made the All-State team, but our team came up one point short of winning the state title. He felt that if he only had a week more to train, he could have finished two places higher and won that title for us. He was again crushed emotionally. He had accomplished exactly zero of his three goals for the year.So was his season a failure? He suffered through disappointment, frustration and a great deal of physical pain, but he never gave up. He learned to lean into the Lord and not his own strength. He became a better teammate and we saw a phenomenal amount of growth happen spiritually and emotionally in just a few short months. In his eyes, the year was a failure, but I believe God accomplished all of His goals for this young man’s season.
As 2018 kicks off, would you consider this young man’s story as you make resolutions and set new goals? We all have physical needs and desires, but I wonder if God has a bigger plan for this year than just to meet our perceived needs/wants? Are there areas He wants us to grow that will require being pruned, going through pain, growing in discipline and walking outside of our comfortable little boxes? Am I willing to submit to His goals for 2018? Are you?
Lord, help us to make Your goals, our goals for 2018. Help us to be good stewards and to redeem the time You’ve given us. Amen.
By Ryan Ovendon of Freedom Financial Counseling, Inc.