Jun 12, 2008

Equanimity, and running for Jesus

A math teacher signed my son's yearbook with a complement about his math skills and with Phil 4:13, which I thought was bold in the public school system which acts like there is some virtue in having freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion. But perhaps that kind of non-PC behavior is one of the perks of living in a hick town.

I have a favorite quote from Kipling's "If" (which grandpa Olsen decoupaged on one of his economy hardwood panels--see his blog on using these) about meeting with triumph and disaster with equanimity. Paul has a similar sentiment when he writes "I have learned, in whatsover state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound". That precedes where he says "I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me" in Phil 4:13.

After winning a "national masters championship" I was able to put together some good thoughts at a fireside at a scout campout, but actually I had better tie-ins from my next race where I struggled to finish in the back third of the pack.

I hear of some people that run to honor God. I love and respect Him. But I wonder how much He cares whether I run faster than my friends. He must care more about how I live, and that I do a good effort in exercising the talents He has given. I wouldn't rank even my greatest PR as more than an infinitesimal contribution to His enormous glory. But maybe the point is to do my little bit. I don't know whether to think of my success in running as a reward or a gift. But I think it is a blessing- I can't explain it on the basis of the relatively few training miles I do.

So I run. And I glorify God by doing all things that he sees fit to give me strength to do, running and non-running. I give credit to Him for every talent or good thing that happens, but accept disaster as a lesson and opportunity to learn and lean on Him. But I don't sign year-books.


carl said...

I agree with what I understand you to have said. At some point, it seems to veer into vain repetition. Brigham talked about putting "Holiness unto the Lord" on their fiddles and there stores (like ZCMI with the inscription and an all-seeing eye) a la Zechariah 14:20-21. I have met people not of our faith that thank and praise Jesus in ways that strike me as odd. Maybe I am not as observant or thankful, but I guess I picture a God that might not want to get invoked in every detail of our lives.

Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

You have had challenges more than the average person gets and it appears to me that you get strengthened by each one. You have made a man of yourself, my son, not just physically but also spiritually.


brenda said...

I think running, or any difficult goal, can bring you closer to God. It's like fasting--you suffer, you focus, you meditate, you humbly ask for help, and God affords you some clarity about life.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Prov 3:6
I think God does want to be invoked in every detail. All our "wins" should be attributed to him. But we can be thankful for our losses, too, because they refine us.

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I think that's cool that the teacher isn't afraid to testify. Our kids are way too timid to be who they are because they think they'll get in trouble.

Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

Such wisdom expressed by Brenda. And the refining rubs off rough edges, makes us softer hearted, easier to live with, more pliable, less brittle.

I remember once complimenting Louise Nash on a job well done when she was my counselor in the stake primary. She said, "God gave me the talent to do it." I thought, what a great attitude.

As Madeleine said over and over as she was being carried off for an appendectomy, "I can do anything." Yes, Madeleine, you can, with the Lord's help.


sheryl said...

The thing I've learned about humility lately is that goes hand in hand with gratitude. If we quietly acknowledge that we are nothing without His help, we are less likely to be prideful. As God is no respecter of perons, he rejoices with each person's accomplishments.