Monday, March 8, 2010

March Miracles

I have the privilege of coaching some great young leaders at a local gymnastics gym (Jill’s Gym). I think it’s wonderful when the extraordinary happens in March every year. Somehow, as if by miracle, many of the cheerleaders suddenly learn things or execute skills they have been trying to accomplish for months. Cheerleading tryouts seem to bring out the best in these young ladies.

I don’t know if it’s just their competitive nature, but girls who haven’t been able to manage a back-handspring by themselves since last year’s tryouts are able to do it again as if by divine enablement at the vernal equinox. If they can do a back-handspring now, and could do one year ago, why can’t they seem to manage it the other 10 months of the year? Maybe they are just not motivated. Maybe they talk or think themselves out of it. Or maybe the muscles just atrophy from lack of use. But many of the girls are in the gym all year around and just don’t perform up to the same level they do at tryout time. It is an interesting dynamic. It seems flip-flops (an old school term for back-handsprings) come out in the spring with the warm weather both inside and outside the gym.

But don’t we all do this to a certain extent? I remember a few years ago before my wife’s class reunion; we suddenly started eating a lot healthier, we worked out a lot more and one of us had to go and get our hair highlighted (she always looks great, but she looked exceptional!). Then when the reunion was over, it was back to less healthy eating, less regular exercise and other bad habits. We seemed to perform up to what we wanted to when we wanted to.

What if we could keep that kind of motivation all the time? I know, I know… some people perform exceptionally well all the time. They keep their weight in a healthy range, they eat healthy, they workout, they can execute a back-handspring anytime. But if the rest of us are capable of loosing weight for a reunion, or performing a back-handspring for tryouts, or whatever, why don’t we do it all the time? I’m guessing there are several answers for these phenomena, but it probably has much to do with how we see ourselves when we aren’t trying to impress someone, compete with them, etc.

Unfortunately, a similar thing happens in our walk of faith. We go through fits and starts in our spiritual life. We go to a camp, seminar, or (back in the day) a revival, and we are “on fire” for God. Or we understand some important bit of wisdom. But then life happens and we somehow loose traction and don’t live what we know to be true (we used to call it backsliding). Paul the Apostle encourages us to not go backwards in our faith walk, but build on what we have already learned. Philippians 3:15-16 (NIV) All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

I love to see a cheerleader get a back-handspring AGAIN just before tryouts, but it thrills me even more when a cheerleader can build on that skill and perform at a higher level the next year. God must enjoy seeing his children live up to what he has already taught them and enabled them to do.

Keep Moving Forward in life and faith! I want to encourage you to live up to what you have attained before. God has gifted you and enabled you to do some pretty awesome things. Keep using your gifts, doing good, and living well.