A recent scientific study has found that Olympic athletes that win silver medals die younger than those who win either gold or bronze. There is something about being so close to gold and just losing out that takes it toll on minds and bodies.
Dissatisfaction can kill you.
There is a kind of disappointment that seeps into your bones. There is a longing that will eat you up. Proverbs 13.12 calls it deferred hope and it makes us sick.
Expectations are powerful. I have seen Olympic competitors who were not expected to win a medal celebrate their surprise silver like it was gold.. And I have seen world champions miss out on gold by the smallest margins, their faces full of shock and sadness.
It is all about the expectation.
Sometimes things don’t work out as we had hoped. Sometimes people let us down. Sometimes we make assumptions about what God is doing in our lives and we are wrong. Sometimes we are misunderstood and sometimes we fail.
These dashed hopes will drag us to the bottom if we can’t let them go. Like ageing sports stars we can live a life of what might have been as the regret sickens our souls.
Of course, desires are normal. Wants and wishes are part of being human. The problem is when desires turn into expectations.
We can have expectations of others that are unspoken or unfair. We can have expectations of life that are unrealistic. We can expect to find value and meaning in ways that can never satisfy. But these great expectations lead to great disappointment.
Be careful where you plant your deepest longings.
Always expect less of people and more of God.
Jesus says in John 6.35 that those who come to Him will never thirst. My Bible dictionary defines thirst as to ‘painfully feel the want of the things by which the soul is refreshed’
When we walk with Jesus, we can be free from painful wantings. He promises that He is always, in every situation, enough.
Like the determined athlete who uses disappointment as motivation for next time, we must move on from life’s let-downs and press forward for what matters.
So, put the silver medal in the drawer. Put to bed the things that didn’t work out like you thought they would. Forgive. Forget.
We are called to run a race that has eternal value. We were created to be satisfied with nothing less. We have been given everything we need to finish this race well so let us expect to. Let us expect to live a life of spiritual success that fills heaven with treasures.
‘I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lied ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’ Philippians 3.12-14