With the Olympics winding down in the next few days I'm reminded of something that happened years ago when my daughters were pre-schoolers. Our family was gathered around the television watching the games when one of our daughters turned to my wife and asked, "Mom, were you ever in the Olympics?" Never to disparage my wife, but at that question we both broke out into laughter (I may have laughed a little too long)! How sweet for her to think that her mom was a world-class athlete.
The talent really is amazing, and neither my wife or I have or ever will come close to being Olympic athletes. The closest I have ever come was that I once saw the Olympic flame on its march around the world. I admit, I used to dream of being an Olympian. Back in 1972 when Mark Spitz was swimming his way to one gold medal after another, I would swim in my pool dreaming of standing on the podium as the gold medal was draped around my neck. However, it was never to be!
This can be a little depressing. Knowing I will never be the best swimmer, gymnast, or runner can sometimes make me feel like a failure. Watching the Olympics makes me wonder - Am I really the best at anything? And as I think about that, I realize I am.
I am the best at being me. No one else is me. No one else has the mixture of talents, genes, disposition, and character as I do. And the same goes for you! And as much as we sometimes would like to be someone else (especially those someone's who get international notoriety), the fact of the matter is that God has created me to be me and not someone else. And everyone is an amazing creation. The Bible affirms it - Everyone is "fearfully and wonderfully made." The apostle Paul reminds us of this when he writes, "For we are God's workmanship" (NIV) or as another translation puts it, "We are God's masterpiece." (NLT)
I need to be thankful and impressed with what God has made in me. When God looks at me and you he sees as much glory in us as he does in any Olympian. So, I need to be me and not depressed that I am not someone else or preoccupied with being anyone other than me. An obsession with being someone else inhibits me from being the best me I can be, and that (being the best me I can be) is what God calls us to. Henri Nouwen wrote, "Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others. It has everything to do with being as great as each of us can be." My job is to find out what I'm good at, to discover what talents God has given uniquely to me, and then to do my absolute best at living out God's calling in my life.
At my age I have given up dreaming about being a gold medal swimmer, or a gold medal gymnast, or a gold medal runner. But I still have a goal - to be a Gold Medal Me!