All three of those play major roles in developing as an athlete, all three have different lessons to teach, and all three allow opportunities to respond.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. ~Proverbs 3:5

Sometimes this is easier said than done, as in the case of last night’s disappointing performance.  It was my first no-height. (For those of you new to the sport, it means that I was unable to clear a bar and therefore taking me out of the competition).  There are a million things I could look at and point to factoring into the poor performance, but overall I think my inexperience in this event played a major role.  However it was a good testing of what this is all about for me.  Here I am, disappointed in my performance, and I am looking around at all the fans and other competitors, and I realized there is such a great opportunity here to move past disappointment and embrace the whole experience… Just then three little girls walked up to me and asked me for my autograph.  They had no idea who I was, or even how I performed, all they knew was that I was someone who got to stand in front of a crowd, living the dream, doing something I love.  And someday they would love the opportunity to do the same.  As I chatted with them I found out their names, where they go to school, and that they were all sisters.  They were beaming with smiles, and I hope that they remember that moment as they grow older and are encouraged to move towards something they dream about.  At the awards dinner, I sat with the group from Reno and once again got to chat and learn a little bit about each one of the high schoolers in their group.  Some were moving on to college next year, some moving into their senior year.  I got to listen, encourage, and give some of the knowledge I learned from my college experiences.  I hope they were encouraged by the conversation, because I was blessed by their presence.  It’s these kids who can make huge impacts in their peers and on their campuses.

Overwhelmed with thankfulness, I cannot express my gratitude to have been a part of the whole event, especially being the beginner as I am.  Not only did I get to watch some of the best pole vaulters in the nation, I got to meet them and talk with them one on one, even if just for a moment.  I met some of the major contributors, coaches, and chairpersons of the pole vault arena; people who make it possible for athletes like me to be a part of this sport…  So am I disappointed in the performance, of course, I wouldn’t be a competitor if I wasn’t… but the good outweighs the bad, and the experience outweighs the disappointment.

In life, trials are inevitable.  It’s how we choose to respond to those trials that determines who we are.  When we look outside ourselves to the benefit of others, it always eases the sting of loss.  Isn’t it crazy how that works?  It’s totally against our human nature, which is an inward focus.  But healing begins when we look outside ourselves.  I believe that’s why Paul wrote to the church of Philippi “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  When the focus takes that shift, it allows us to gain a new perspective that we often cannot find if we remain wrapped up in ourselves.  I hope if you are reading this and struggling with a trial in life, no matter how big or how small, that you are encouraged that healing will come.  You are created in the image of God, you are loved deeply by your creator.  He doesn’t promise a perfect life, but He promises He will always be there, and know that I pray for you.  I pray for healing, I pray for that new perspective, and I pray that you start to see the opportunities God has placed right in front of you and respond in a way that makes an impact on those around you.