The 2012 Paralympics have enthralled me. Each individual athlete’s story has captivated my heart. The bravery and courage of these participants and the support of their families has brought tears of awe to my eyes. These inspirational athletes have responded to adversity in ways that really is a prototype for us all. They have risen above any “labeling” and have not allowed stereotypes to determine the path their life has taken. The decision to not allow the challenging events of their lives and their handicaps to define them, speaks deeply to something within me.
When I was out running this morning I was mulling over all of this and became aware the labels I have had for myself when it comes to physical activity…. “unfit”, “not sporty”, “inferior”. We all face challenges and have had people (very often in our youth) “label” us in both positive and negative ways. Names that are attached to us can become the impetus behind our choices and can sometimes direct our lives. Sport is an area where I have “never been good enough” and I have carried this message into much of my life. As a result, my thought pattern this morning tempted me to stop the run and to call myself “useless”. Fortunately, I know the truth of who I am in Christ and because of His affirmation of me I was able to take these thoughts captive, continue my run and not allow these thoughts to direct my day.
Each day our minds are bombarded with a relentless stream of negative thoughts, suspicions, doubts and fears based on lies. Unless we renew our minds (Romans 12:2), we risk continuing to believe falsehoods and will often make important decisions based on deception. I do not know how these awe-inspiring Paralympians have overcome the demons in their heads but I know that for me walking free from the labels that haunt me and choosing the Truth is the only way to fully live!It is often rightly said that people with disabilities should be judged not by what they can’t do but by what they can. I think that may just be true of all of us. If we chose to live in the Truth (even though it may be invisible to our earthly eyes: 2 Corinthians 4:18), we would live according to the Spirit and the Kingdom within us would be stunningly evident!! What we were not created to be would be unimportant. Instead people around us couldn’t fail to be inspired by watching us exhibit what we were designed for!
For other writers who write on this topic see:
Ralph Harris’ Book – God’s Astounding Opinion of You: Understanding Your Identity Will Change Your Life AND