Not long ago, I went to watch my niece in her gymnastics class. The class was divided into several stages. As I sat and watched the class I couldn’t help but get distracted by all the different movements happening in the gymnasium. From somersaults to balance beams my eyes darted from one activity to another. At times I got so caught up in other areas that I lost focus of where my niece was. Attempting to focus on one section proved futile as my attention darted from one area to the other. I decided to stand up and everything in. To someone looking from the outside, the conclusion would have been that there is too much chaos going on. What I saw was not just the chaos but also the progress. I learned three things which I believe are crucial to progress:
1. Labels don’t define Ability
As I surveyed the room one particular girl grabbed my attention and taught me an important lesson. She was a little heavier than the other girls but her flexibility was off the charts! I had written her off thinking her parents made a mistake bringing her there. She shut me up a few minutes later with a level of flexibility that didn’t match her size.
The labels we put on others or ourselves can create our view on what is possible or not. Labels can impede progress. People can also put labels on us that put lids on the potential and gifts in us. Don’t allow labels to decide for you what you can and cannot do. We shed labels by getting in touch with our true identity, not what or who someone else tells us to be.
2. Shine on your Stage regardless of Age
I equally paid attention to the different stages where the girls were placed and noticed that the girls were all not of the same age. It’s easy to assume that we are entitled to be at a certain stage in life because of our age. We can also look at our age and get discouraged when we see others who are our age at a higher stage. This is one area I need plenty of work in. I fight the urge to quit when I notice this. It brings up all the “what ifs” and “If only I ___________” which drain me and fill my mind with regret. I have to continuously remind myself that everyone’s journey is different and my stage is for me to use to the best of my ability regardless of age. When I remember that Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in his 60’s when most people are thinking retirement, I am motivated to keep on keeping on. Age may be just a number but your stage is your opportunity to shine!
3. Use your Station to Sharpen your Skill
My final observation was the division of the groups into different stations. Some were stationed on the mat, some at the balance beams, and others at the uneven bars. Each station was designed to sharpen different skill sets which when combined would give birth to a complete gymnast. While I was distracted with trying to capture what happened at every station, the girls were locked in to their respective stations, using the time to listen to instructions and follow through with repeated action. This “locked in” focus was an eye opener. None of the girls seemed distracted by what was happening at other stations. None of them seemed to be wondering if they would get to the other station. They were occupied with growing their skills set at their present station. We find ourselves at different “stations “or “seasons” in life. Some seasons are more exciting than others, some seem to take longer to get through, and some seem frustrating by how complex they are. The thought process we carry at every station or season of life is important. I view stations or seasons as classrooms which offer vital education that will be necessary in developing us for future seasons. While watching my niece and the other girls go through their stations, I imagined that this is the place where Olympic class gymnasts are developed; in stations. How do we develop integrity? In stations. How do we grow our passion for our gifts? In stations. Make use of the station or season you are in now to grow into the person you have been created to be.
If you go to or pass by a construction site, it’s almost unimaginable how a beautiful building will come up through all the mess. A construction site can be one of most discouraging places but the building team is kept motivated through the mess by one thing; the picture of the end result. Don’t faint at the sight of the mess, maintain a picture of the beautiful end and use it to push you day by day. Choose God’s identity of you, shine on your stage, and allow the stations of life to develop your skills. Always trust that the right process will bring progress even when it looks like chaos.
Cheering You On!
Waiyaki M. Waiyaki
“Live by Design, Not by Default”