Once upon a time there was a figure skater…
I know I’m not alone in saying that Ladies Figure Skating is above and beyond my most favorite Olympic event. It’s the one part of the Olympics I never miss. It has held me spellbound since I was a girl.
Last night I watched as the Ladies Freestyle Program unfolded before my eyes. Every performance was magnificent, but there was one in particular that stirred my heart.
Mao Asada of Japan skated first in the television line up. After a terrible performance in the short program, Asada was in sixteenth place. A silver medalist in the 2010 Olympic games, Asada’s hopes of winning a medal in Sochi were all but lost.
Four minutes on ice stood between Asada and her final chance for Olympic glory.
After making several major mistakes in her short program I watched as Asada fought back tears of defeat while listening to the judges’ scores. Tonight I watched her fight for the performance of a lifetime and when she cried joyful, proud, victorious tears at the end of her program I cried too.
I knew I had just witnessed something amazing, something magical. A glimpse of God and His work in me, His work in all of us.
I am hardly an expert on figure skating, but it seems to me that Asada had a choice to make as she stood in place, poised and ready to skate. She could offer the judges, the audience, the world her skill, her beauty, her passion, or she could crumple beneath the weight of fear, failure, and the pressure cooked voice of her critics.
As the world watched her skate it was clear that despite her fear and failures of the past, despite what the critics might do or say this girl was rising to the occasion, offering her heart and everything within her.
In the end, despite her flawless performance, Asada’s scores were not enough for her to win a medal but I’d like to believe the personal victory she gained from her skate was worth more than gold.
I may not know the glory of a perfectly landed triple axel or a performance that becomes legend but I do know I am faced with a similar choice each and every day.
I can choose to live from the heart, offer my skill, my beauty, my passion or I can choose to run, hide, build walls, shut down, hold tight to fear and failure, fall prey to the critic inside my head.
It’s only when I choose to offer my heart that my own brand of magic is made. It’s when I pick up my pen, cradle my babes, call a friend, or kiss my beloved that my world becomes my rink and glory abounds.
When I choose to offer, He takes my offering and spins His glory every time.
I may not win gold.
I still fall, and trip, and fail.
The critic continues to scoff.
But the real victory is never in the final outcome. The real victory is in all the little coming-outs where I choose to offer my heart and everything within me. Where I choose to rise. Where I choose to turn my back on the fear, the failure, and the critic.
Brave prince, lovely princess, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in a figure skater and the performance of a lifetime. May you take this day, this life and offer the world your own skill, and beauty, and passion. May you watch as He takes your offering and makes it shine.
As He makes the heart of you shine like silver ice and golden glory.