Terry Storch Dispatch w.29.2020
"We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking." - Richard Rohr
I grew up playing sports. It’s fairly safe to say that sports were my life, and just about all I really cared about. At four years old, I started playing soccer. (Football in the rest of the world.) When I was around 12 years old, I switched to tennis. By the time I was in high school, tennis consumed my life. I played every moment possible, and spent hours and hours on end on the sport. In the summer my mom would literally drop me off at the tennis center before it opened and pick me up when it closed. So much of my time was spent developing my game, understanding my strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to win.
There is something unique about competitive athletes and their ability to win. They have a gear for winning and grit and drive to dig deep to get a win. Something that’s visible with the best of the best athletes is an inner character that just won’t give up and a drive and ability to push through the seemingly daunting circumstances to achieve a victory. If you watch old reruns of Michael Jordan, Rodger Federer, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Steffi Graf, or Serina Williams, you see this over and over again—the will to win. I’m not sure if the will to win is teachable or not. But, what I’m realizing more and more is that some of the principles of the competitor are mission-critical and should be cultivated in our everyday lives.
I think back as a very young athlete, and how I was absorbing everything possible around me to improve my game. I would watch tennis on TV and dissect each and every shot the pros would hit in order to try and evaluate my strokes and shots. I would soak in my coach’s feedback and push myself to reach the next level in my game. I knew my weaknesses and my strengths deeply, and I’d learn how to work through them to get the win. Just the other day as I was watching the Tennis Channel, I heard one of the top, young female tennis players say this:
“No matter how good you think you are, there is always another level you can get to.”
- Ashleigh Barty
What a brilliant quote and statement! There’s always another level you can get to, no matter how good you think you are. This is humility. This is the growth mindset. This is the essence of being a Christ-follower, for we are on a journey to unlock and pursue the best version of ourselves. The Apostle Paul guides us in this direction:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV
Now, here’s what I know. If you’re a competitor, more than likely you’re resonating with this post. If you’re like many that I know and aren’t competitive or don’t have a competitive bone in your body, then you just might be turned off. I get it. We aren’t all wired the same and if we were, that would be a very boring world. I also know this: life is not about winning or losing. Life is so much more than this. Winning and losing and living a life driven by this will lead us to a scarcity mindset, and that is not a good thing. So, we must tap into Paul’s words, “Do not run like someone running aimlessly.”
This last week I really dove into this line of thinking as I was unpacking Hebrews 5 and 6. God is continuing to do a deep work in me, and I try to share that journey every day here. You can see some of the recent posts at the bottom of this dispatch. And if you’re wanting to read more about my learnings on this topic, you can read my post, Spiritual Dullness is Deadly.
If you are not growing, you are dying.
I really liked this thought from Adam Grant:
Eventually, I learned that just as sexism is not only a "women's issue," racism is not only a "Black issue." In social movements, research has shown that when majority groups stay quiet, they inadvertently license the oppression of marginalized groups. In the workplace, evidence reveals that women and minorities are often penalized for promoting diversity and equality, whereas white men are more likely to be applauded for it. I was wrong about psychological standing: those of us with power and privilege actually have an easier time getting heard.
I believe we all have a responsibility to raise our voices against injustice. As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
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Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest in New Mexico, and his writings and thoughts really challenge my thinking regularly. Rohr has dozens of outstanding books and is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC). If you have followed me for any period of time, then you know I believe it’s really important to continually push outside our bubbles and our echo chambers and try to learn and grow from others who think differently than us. Rohr is one of those who constantly pushes me and challenges me in great ways. Here’s a snippet from his post:
The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But the mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart—chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level, and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place.
Take the time to read the full article. I wonder what might be falling apart in our lives that we are struggling to hold together? What in our lives needs to die so something new can be born? What new place is Christ trying to take us to that is being held back because we continue to hold on to tightly? Oftentimes, it isn’t a new physical place He’s taking us, it’s often a new inner spiritual place we have never been. Read now.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6...yeah, you know the drill. The countdown is powerful! Seth Godin wrote a great post called The Magic of the Countdown.
I have talked about strengths and weaknesses as well as quoted thoughts from Adam Grant. I figured this would be a perfect time to introduce you to one of his great podcasts called Work Life. In this episode Adam unpacks the concept of When Strengths Become Weaknesses. Listen now.
Reflections on 2 Peter.