I just read about a fascinating study done by Professor Vicki Medvec which sheds some light on the importance of how we look at things. Medvec studied Olympic medalists and discovered that bronze medalists were quantifiably happier than silver medalists. Here’s why: Silver medalists tended to focus on how close they came to winning gold, so they weren’t satisfied with silver; bronze medalists tended to focus on how close they came to not winning a medal at all, so they were just happy to be on the medal stand. (If Only: How To Turn Regret Into Opportunity by Neal Roese)
The key is to live life without regret. To do our absolute best and then accept the outcome. Of course that’s easier said than done.
The Apostle Paul says it this way: “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Notice what Paul did not say, he didn’t say that if you run to win, then you’re going to win. Only one person in the race is going to get the prize. BUT, at the end of the day, if we’ve worked hard . . . if we’ve done our best to be a good parent, friend, spouse . . . if we can lay our head on our pillow and say to God, “I did my best to live for you today,” then in our own eyes and I believe in God’s eyes, we will have won the gold medal.
Am I judging myself too harshly if I never feel I’ve done my best for God?
Yeah, I know how you feel. There’s a fine line between doing our best and at the same time accepting the fact that we’re sinners living in a fallen world. For me, I keep reminding myself that I will always be a work in porgress who is fumbling about with the things of God.
I too, sometimes fall into the catagory of judging myself too harshly. At 48, and having accepted Christ as my Savior, I can see that I did have it right when I was younger….I WAS far from perfect….but, with my human eye I didn’t see Christ’s love to show me that HE makes up the difference for me. I can now see that I was made with everything I need to become perfect in God’s eyes. My talents and gifts are directly attributed to an almighty God that knew what He was doing! I now try to live my life somewhere in between the “no regrets” and the “win the gold medal” philosophies. Each hurdle or challenge that we meet is a gift from God to use our talents and gifts. If at the end of the day, I know that I have used my gifts and given their creator the glory (not me), then I can put my head on the pillow, knowing that I have my imperfection and God’s gifts in the right percpective. I think we are all given different races…some long….some short….some with more hurdles…..each different….each meant for us to discover our God given gifts. The less I look at myself, and the more I praise where my power comes from, the closer I know I am to winning the ultimate race. Then it’s on to the next opportunity…..the next race….God-given……and I will try humbly to use everything great that I have been given to “win” that race…..and on and on it goes….each race, growing closer to Christ…using more and more of what I have been given……I know there will be hurdles…..and that I will struggle….and this is where I know the Lord wants me….using what He has given me to glorify HIM.