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The Olympics of Dedication

Thursday, February 18, 2010

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Olympics and have been watching as much of it as I can, in and around trying to get Love Remains written and some freelance projects finished.

So here are some thoughts and questions I may or may not have Tweeted, which have crossed my mind over the past week.

  • Why are all of the male snowboarders’ pants falling off?
  • Why would a woman athlete wear a tiara to the medal ceremony to receive her silver medal?
  • Why is biathalon so strangely mesmerizing?
  • Shani Davis is AWESOME!
  • Why does Bob Costas get more and more annoying each Olympics?
  • Why are the “innings” in Curling called “ends”?
  • Why did only 90% of the male figure skaters get the memo to wear solid black for their short program?
  • Do the US female skiiers have someone doing their hair and makeup before the medal ceremonies? Lindsay Vonn’s and Julia Mancuso’s hair and makeup styles looked nearly identical last night.
  • I love Curling. I don’t always understand it, but I love it.
  • Short-track speed skating stresses me out. Therefore, I only watch the medal rounds, not the qualifying and semifinal rounds.
  • Isn’t a luge something teenage boys spit off the tops of tall buildings?
  • Love listening to Scotty Hamilton and Debbie Flemming commentate the figure skating events. When Peggy gasps, you know something bad just happened. And Scotty’s excitement over the good stuff is contagious.
  • Cris Collinsworth cracks me up with his attempts to be “hip” well beyond his advanced years when he covers snowboarding.
  • Evan Lysacek is the cutest thing on the ice. AND the boy can skate!
  • Why do the men and women individual figure skaters get a day off between their long and short programs, but the pairs don’t?

Okay, so enough of that.

Last night, as I tuned in and out of the Olympics coverage while working on an editing project, I started thinking about all of the training and preparation that the athletes go through to get to the Olympics—and of course started relating that to writing.

In the Christian writing community, we hear all the time of unpublished authors who refuse to take critiques or rejections and come back with, “But of course this is going to be published. God told me to write it.”

Now, could you imagine someone walking up to the U.S. Olympic Committee and saying, “You need to put me on the snowboarding team because God told me I’m going to win a gold medal in the half-pipe”?

Naturally, the USOC would ask, “What experience do you have? What competitions have you won? What’s your practice schedule like? Show us something.”

If all the person has ever done is ride a snowboard recreationally on a couple of ski trips and they get out in the half-pipe and can barely get six inches of air above the sides and fall more than they land on their board, is the USOC going to put them on the team? No, of course not!

Someone who wants to be an Olympic-class athlete has to practice, learn, compete, hone, learn, take criticism, try, fall, learn, tweak, study, readjust, try, fall, learn, tweak, study, readjust, try, succeed, learn, tweak, study, readjust, try, fall, learn, tweak, study, readjust, try, succeed, learn, tweak, study, readjust, start winning competitions, etc., before they’d even make it to the Olympic trials.

So why should we, in writing or with any area of our life that God has called us to, figure we can skate by with a “God told me to do it, therefore I’m going to succeed at it without having to work hard” kind of attitude? When did God say that the things He calls us to do are going to come easily to us?

For me, right now, where this lesson is hitting hardest is in my self-employed status. I sleep late, work whenever I want to, and get my work done when I feel like it—until it comes down to deadline, and then I practically have to kill myself to get my work done. Am I truly living up to the expectation God had of me when He gave me this opportunity? Am I living by this exhortation, from Colossians 3:22–24?

      In all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Should I not be as dedicated—nay, more dedicated to the work God has given me than those athletes I’m watching on TV this week?

As we enter this season of Lent, whether you observe it or not, examine your life to see if there’s something God has called you to do to which you are not applying yourself with the same dedication as those world-class athletes dedicate themselves to their sports. What can you do in the next thirty-nine days to “do your work heartily, as for the Lord”?

  1. Thursday, February 18, 2010 6:36 am

    So very true ~ we can’t just expect things to fall out of the sky {despite our desire that it be just that way!}. Perseverance, dedication and hard work ALL are a part of being successful at something ~ especially those things that God has called us to!


  2. Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:41 am

    “When did God say that the things He calls us to do are going to come easily to us?”

    The only easy thing God gives us to do is accept Jesus as Lord. After that, the work on us begins…

    I had to deal with the “it’s good enough” attitude so many times during my years in Christian broadcasting. I’d be pushing to make things the best we could make it since we were in essence representing God to the listeners and most times when something was substandard people didn’t want to work any harder. It was “good enough.” When are we REALLY “good enough” for God? I don’t know anyone who’s reached the perfection to say you’re “good enough.”


  3. Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:44 am

    “tweak, study, readjust.” Those repeated words above describe my writing journey to a “t.” Sometimes I get so tired of my manuscript, and I consider dropping it, then I think “I’ve spent this much time on it, how can I just stop,” and THEN I “tweak, study, and readjust” my thinking to, “God gave me the idea for this story. He didn’t tell me it would be published, but He DID tell me to make whatever I do, my best.” So I tweak, study, and readjust some more – and oftentimes fall in love with an aspect of my story all over again. Same thing in my day-job. Sometimes I get tired of the mundane administration part, but then something comes across my desk that requires my full attention, and that’s when I realize I need to get the desk cleared off, ignore the Internet and my own writing for a while, and do the job God gave me – you know, the one that actually sometimes GIVES me time to write?

    Thanks, Kaye.

    Oh, and as for the snowboarder’s pants? My poor high-school-principal husband sat there and shook his head . . . those guys would have been sent home if they came dressed like that to HIS school! LOL


  4. Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:48 am

    I hadn’t heard about the tiara wearing silver medalist – but I think that is *awesome* 🙂 She should wear one


    • Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:00 am

      I think during the broadcast last night they mentioned that she wore the tiara during the last Olympics as well.


    • Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:05 am

      Looked up the whole story:

      “At the 2006 Games, Mancuso caught the attention of fans when she wore a tiara on her ski helmet for the slalom portion of the women’s combined event. What started out as a gag gift from her coach became a good luck charm that she always took out with her on the course, for all to see. She did not don the tiara for the giant slalom – which she won – but wore it at the medal ceremony that evening, providing images of a ski queen with her gold. Today, the tiara – or any extraneous objects — is not allowed, so she has one painted on her helmet. The original tiara, she keeps at home. “It’s very valuable,” she says. “I’m keeping it as a good luck charm and bringing it to Vancouver.”


      • Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:07 pm

        I was wondering about that (and the hair and makeup thing–they looked gorgeous), too. Thanks, Ruth!

        Thanks for these thoughts, Kaye! It’s something I needed to be reminded of in the middle of tough revisions.


  5. Patty Hall permalink
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:10 pm

    Hi Kaye,
    I love the Olympics! Carly and I have watched every night since the beginning, much to my husband’s dismay.

    I think what touched me last night was the reaction of Lindsey Vonn after securing the Gold Medal–she was in the middle of an interview when someone mentioned that her husband was nearby. Instead of finishing up, she LEAVES to find him, running up to him with tears in her eyes, thanking him for being there for her through it all. The cameras followed her and her husband for several moments as they held each other, as if they didn’t quite believe her dream had come true, all the while, the newscaster is sharing the story of Lindsey’s years of work, her many injures and setbacks.

    And all I could think about during that moment was that’s how I will react when I get the call, holding on the man who always believed in me, lifting up my prayers of thanks, just enjoying the moment.


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