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I love the Olympics. But probably not for the reason you suppose. I’m not particularly interested in sports. Sure I enjoy watching the top athletes in the world compete. But it is the background stories on them that really draw me in. I will sit and watch for hours each night, why? Because I am learning powerful lessons as I watch how the athletes handle victory and defeat and whether or not they have learned to embrace the experience. Simple truths for life can be found in the little remarks made along the way. “Are you tired of being a lane filler?”, or “She’s a world champion gymnast, just not today.” Or “It’s Ok to smile, you’re at the Olympics.” I’ve started keeping a pad near by to take notes!

Silly? Perhaps. But just look at the meaning packed into the casual comment “It’s Ok to smile, you’re at the Olympics.” Jonathan Horton was concerned that his teammate was so focused on the task that he was missing the experience. Don’t we do the same thing? We are concentrating so hard on getting somewhere we miss the joy of the journey. We want high scores in whatever we do, but we are so caught up in the details.

As parents, we get caught up in getting results from our kids such as good manners, good behavior, good grades. We can be so focused on  how to accomplish those, that we risk missing the experience of being a parent. You know what I mean. There is no time left to laugh with our kids, to talk with them about their hopes and dreams, to really get to know them.

As Christians, we can become so task oriented that we lose sight of the big picture. We put our heads down and push forward in our work. After all, there is a lot of work to do, right? The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.  No doubt we must give attention to details. But have you noticed there is a lot of burn out in our churches today? Could it be we are so focused on our specific tasks that we forget  why we are doing them? We miss the experience of ministry, we miss what God is doing all around us. It is seeing this that empowers us and motivates us to continue.

This unsmiling young athlete had trained hard; he wanted to do his best; he wanted to win. But he was at the Olympics! An exclamation point experience! Giving his full concentration to doing well, should not prohibit him from embracing the wonder of this moment in his life. Don’t let your concentration on the details of your day, hinder you from embracing the wonder of it. Each day, each role we have in life brings with it an experience you don’t want to miss. Whatever lies before you, remember “It’s OK to smile, you’re at the Olympics.”

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