My friend coaches a youth soccer team. He instilled this fundamental principle into his group of young athletes, reiterating it often: "Champions focus on where they are going, not what they are going through."
Champion is a word that has never been associated with
my name. I'm not an athlete unless you
consider sprints to the concession stand during extra innings, something notable. Don't let the word champion fool you, though. We are all champions of something. Champions for whom we believe in, for a cause, for the relationships we cherish, and some days, we may be the champion of laundry. Being a champion is to succeed.
This quote, stated so wisely by my friend, has resonated with me…big! I'm guilty of allowing my circumstances to take me down. Do you know what I have accomplished by staying in the pit, lamenting my situation, and wallowing in self-pity? NOTHING! Nadda! Zilch! Focusing on my circumstances gets a lot of mileage but gets me nowhere.
I don't know about you, but it takes up all my mental space when I'm going through the thick of something. It's my every waking thought; it determines the trajectory of my life at that time. Occasionally, I come to my senses and remember where my focus needs to be. And guess what? When I do this, inevitably, I have hope.
At a particularly rough time, I was commiserating with a friend. She said to me, "You're just in the waiting room. What are you going to do while you wait?" Huh? She added, "Girl, while you're waiting for answers, you gotta get busy!". She was right. I needed to focus on where I was going and actively pursue the mission in front of me. By doing so, I had purpose and perspective. My troubles didn't go away but focusing on my higher calling sustained me while I waited.
I'm reminded of the Mathew 14 account of Peter and Jesus walking on water. When Peter saw Jesus walking on the storm-tossed sea, he asked if he could come to him on the water. Jesus said, "Come." Peter did. However, the minute he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm around him, he began to sink. So, it is with us when we take our eyes off Jesus’ plan and concentrate on the storm brewing around us – we fall.
Where are you going in 2023? What things has God called you to focus on? The year ahead is full of promise and possibilities. Perhaps a good New Year's resolution is to keep a champion mindset no matter what 2023 throws at us. Let us fix our eyes on Him!