Saturday, March 3, 2012

Remembering to Find Joy in the Simple Things

Last night, I finally made it to my first Gym Dawg meet of the 2012 season! I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t had the opportunity to go to more of these this year, especially since it’s my last semester at UGA. But the meet was awesome - #4 UGA upset #3 UCLA 196.975 to 197.7! It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog! After a week of studying for a New Testament midterm, working, and reading for classes, this was an awesome way to spend a Friday night in Athens! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that student tickets are only two bucks… gotta take advantage of that perk while it lasts!

Stegman Coliseum!

As a former gymnast of fourteen years, I have always loved these competitions… something about the crowd, the fireworks, the team unity… all of the pieces come together and make me remember everything that I fell in love with about gymnastics. It makes me remember the days when all I cared about was having the chance to put on my “sparkly leotard” and walk out on that floor. It makes me remember the excitement that I felt when they gave me my very first medal (a very prestigious 8th place medal, might I add), at my very first meet. Back then, I didn’t really care how I looked to other people out on that floor - I was determined to hold my chin high and pretend like I was in the Olympics even if my gymnastics wasn’t always the nicest to look at in those early days!  

Me finishing my bar routine at the annual "Dawg Days" meet in Athens when I was thirteen.

Over time, I got more serious… I worked hard to become a better gymnast… and by the time I was in high school I was qualifying for regional and even national competitions. The thing was, gymnastics wasn’t a “simple pleasure” for me anymore. It was more nerve-wracking than it was invigorating. I was too wrapped up in trying to be “perfect” all the time that I forgot why I even liked gymnastics in the first place.

Last night, I realized that as I have gotten older, I've done the same thing with life. I work so hard to look like I have it all together that I lose sight of the simple things that make even the most mundane days special - things like a hot bowl of oatmeal on a chilly morning, the smell of an old library book, or the first sign of light in the sky just before sunrise. I have been so busy doing what I am “supposed” to do that I sometimes lose track of what truly gives me a sense of value and worth in this world.  

So often, we forget that we are not here for ourselves. We are not here to become winning athletes or to gain recognition. We are not even here to earn degrees, to make money, or to climb the corporate ladder. We are here to love others. We are here to serve a purpose more profound than we can ever understand. We are here to surrender the lives that we think we want so that we can gain lives that are far more abundant than we can ever imagine.

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