Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics and Spirituality (Part 1)

IS anyone else watching and keeping up with the Olympics? The Olympics are a big deal in our household. My wife and I both enjoy watching them. I fell asleep last night while we were wathcing them and one of my first questions to my wife this morning was "how did the US team do in Gymnastics?" "They got Bronze." She said excitingly. I didn't understand. Until she explained that no one gave them a chance to even get a medal. She said they were so proud to get the Bronze and were all smiling and cheering and celebrating on the podium.

I thought, what if Michael Phelps received a bronze? That would be considered a failure. The expectations are so high for him, that anything less than a gold is considered a failure. So as I thought about this, I asked myself what is the difference?

I think the difference is a simple matter of expectations. Nobody expected the US men's gymnastics team to even medal, so they were as proud of the bronze as the Chinese were of the gold (probably moreso). Everyone expects Michael Phelps to get gold in every competition he's in, anything less is considered a failure to meet expectations. There was one exception to his gold medal run, the 400 meter medley. Why? Because it was a team event. The announcer, a supposed expert, basically proclaimed France as the gold medal winner before the event started. The US team pulled a miraculous upset to win gold. Guess who was cheering more than anyone else...Michael Phelps. When he wins an individual gold he's happy and smiles, but when the team one the gold medal he took celebration to a whole new level? Why? Because the expectations were lower for the team than for him as an individual.

What do you expect out of life? What do you expect out of relationships? What do you expect from God? Make the expectations high and work hard to meet them. If you expect a healthy and happy marriage, that's what you will aim for. If you expect to have loving and disciplined children, then that's what you will work for. If you expect to be successful in your career, then you will strive for excellence in what you do for a living. Healthy expectations help us move towards good things. What are you moving towards?

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