Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
I Peter 3:4
It's running at full blast now.
This event we call the Olympics.
All manner of sports on ice and snow. Jumping, skiing, twirling, racing.
There is something so poignant to me, that moment an athlete takes the stand and receives a disc of gold and the accolades of the crowd for what he has achieved in his given sport.
I found myself more that once during a few of the medal ceremonies this week looking at the faces of the newly crowned Olympians and thinking, "Now what?"
To have reached the apex of all they've been training for. To have set a high goal and achieved it. To have pushed beyond the limits.
For a small moment on a stand with an anthem playing in the background.
And to head back to one's country of origin.
And back to daily life.
And what of those competitors who don't realize their goals at this Olympics? The misplaced blade of the skate on the ice that leads to a fall. The soggy conditions on the slopes that grip the skis at just the wrong place. And the games are over and it's time to head home.
And it's in that season of the 'Now what?' that the true champions will be revealed.
Because the season of the 'Now what' reveals the true character and caliber.
It's the time of reassessment, re-focus. Without the eyes of a huge audience as motivation. Without a competition just around the corner.
It's the time of character.
It's the season that shows the inner life.
Because for any of us to have true victory in life, for any of us to leave a legacy of character and example, it will be those long seasons away from the medal stand that prove our metal.
Do we keep training, pushing ourselves, striving for greater personal growth, more maturity, improvement in our weaknesses? Or are we only working for those moments when the audience of our lives can observe a well-played event and clap accordingly? Do we blend our time of accomplishment in front of others with a healthy helping of humbleness and mindfulness? Or do we climb that medal stand and somehow think we have arrived?
The inner life. The training track of the true champion. The willingness to run well when no one is watching.
Well, not no one.
Our Abba is always in the stands. Pulling for us. Coaching.
He's far more interested in the integrity of our training in the 'Now what' season. He wants to know if we will keep training with Him.