“However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” — 1 Corinthians 2:9
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The tennis world said a fond farewell to one of its icons recently with the retirement announcement of 20-time major winner and former world No. 1 Roger Federer. For nearly 25 years, he pushed the sport to new levels and won the hearts of fans all over the world. Sadly, injuries forced him to end his career and thus close an illustrious chapter in the history of tennis. Up until his arrival on the tour in 1998, nobody would’ve dreamed of the dazzling results his career would give the sport: 103 ATP singles titles (which included the 20 majors, as well as 28 Masters titles and six ATP finals), an Olympic gold medal in doubles and an Olympic silver medal in singles.
Full of emotion, Federer said goodbye in September at the annual Laver Cup event he helped found. He played his final match with his longtime rival and close friend, Rafael Nadal. In an interview shortly after stepping away from the court, Federer revealed how the ending of his career turned out to be different from what he’d perhaps envisioned.
“I lost my last singles match,” he reflected. “I lost my last doubles match. I lost my voice screaming and supporting the team [Team Europe]. I lost my last time on a team. I lost my job, but I’m very happy. I’m good. I’m really good. That’s the ironic part — everybody thinks about happy fairy-tale endings, you know? And for me, actually it ended up being that but in a way that I never thought was going to happen.”
Federer’s words left me thinking about how we envision certain outcomes in our own lives. I think he’s right in that we all picture things a certain way, and when they turn out differently, sometimes it’s hard to accept. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my own life, it’s that God’s outcomes always turn out to be better than the ones you initially pictured. When you’ve submitted your story to God’s creativity, your heart will find peace in all circumstances because you believe in and trust His goodness at all times.
As he transitions away from tennis, Federer has stated several times that he “feels complete.” No, maybe he didn’t get to leave in exactly the way he wanted, with a farewell tour at the majors and stadiums filled with adoring fans as he stepped on each court for the final time. But he’s accepted the way it happened, and he’s been grateful for it anyway.
As you look at your own life, will you be OK with what you’ve been given and be thankful for what you have instead of getting stuck on what could’ve been? Can you say that you still feel complete even if you got a different result than you’d hoped?
Whatever transition or adjustment you may be going through in your own life or sports career, take it from one of the greatest ever as he reflected during his televised farewell: “Don’t overthink that perfect ending; yours will always be amazing in your own way.” Roger’s right, friend. Even if it looks different than you imagined, embrace it. Because God writes perfect stories, and the surprises in our chapters only serve to celebrate His plan.
— Katherine Singer
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