“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” — Philippians 4:12
Headed into the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, two-time defending men’s ski halfpipe gold medalist David Wise wasn’t sure he’d make the team. Coming back from a brutal injury a couple years prior and having less than ideal results in qualifying events leading up to the Games, he had to resign himself to the possibility that he might not make another Olympic team.
In a candid interview around that time, he stated something beautiful that has since remained with me: “Once you’ve accepted the fact that your dreams might not come true but you still have a chance … you kind of become OK with both alternatives.” As we know, Wise was able to qualify and ended up winning the silver medal in his discipline. But the fact that he had gotten himself mentally to a place where he could accept whichever way things went is a sign of great maturity.
Most of us, when things don’t go the way we want or we are faced with the prospect that something we hope for may not work out, tend to get into a bad mental head space about it. We blame the circumstances, we blame ourselves, we blame others, or maybe even blame God. We try to replay how things might have been different had we done or not done certain things. We get focused on the minutiae and lose sight of God’s sovereign and providential hand in it all.
Sometimes God feels it’s best for us if we don’t get what we want. Learning to accept the divine “no” in our lives is essential if we are to grow in our faith and make sense of the craziness that life brings us. There will be times when He feels we need to let go of an aspiration in order for us to gain something better and more eternal. There will be seasons when we have to come to terms with the reality that the situation isn’t going to turn out as we want it to, and it is then that we must bring ourselves to a place of surrender to the bigger plan of God.
Wise, a guy of deep spiritual faith, figured out that he had to be all right with whatever outcome God wanted. If that meant he made the team, so be it. If not, God’s will will be done anyway. And that conclusion was what ultimately set him free to give it his all down the stretch and leave the results up to the Lord.
Perhaps there’s something in your own life that you’ve been holding onto — a goal you’ve had or a dream you’ve been chasing — that you’re being forced to confront with the possibility that it might not work as you’d hoped. What are you going to do? Will you accept whatever God has for you, even if it’s a bitter cup to drink? I hope so, and I trust you will let that acceptance free you to do your best and leave the rest up to Him.
— Katherine Singer
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