I've been an athlete for as long as I can remember. To give you a picture of how prevalent of a role sports have played in my life, consider the following example. On my first date with my boyfriend, we went to the batting cages and afterwards he asked me what sports I played growing up. My response: "It would be easier if you asked me which ones I didn't play..."
With that being said, as a lifelong avid athlete, I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on what it means to win and what it means to lose. And then this semester happened.
As I write this blog, I'm on a plane to Detroit to begin Christmas break. Just yesterday, I took my last final exam and finally kissed this painful semester goodbye. The highlights of the semester included expensive car troubles, a kidney infection (with several adventures to urgent care and a field trip to the ER), crippling stress and anxiety, navigating dating long distance for the first time, and four trips from Florida to Michigan (which is obnoxious for one semester), all while balancing classes, work, and extra curricular activities. There was a solid month I cried at least once a day. Lord knows I wanted to quit. Oh, did I want to quit.
You see, in my mind winning has always been defined as being the best. Being the best means beating everyone else. Applying this mindset to law school, winning to me meant straight A’s, a high GPA, and ranking in the top of my class. As the semester moved forward, I missed a number of classes due to illness and when I was in class, I struggled to focus and pay attention. My friends and family told me that simply finishing the semester and passing would be a great accomplishment. But to me, that wasn't enough.
In Corinthians, St. Paul talks about running "so as to win." I don't think he meant winning in the way I've always understood it. If he did, he would have written, "run so as to be in first place" or "run so as to beat everyone else." What I think St Paul is saying is: run the race with the effort of a champion. It is our effort, not beating everyone else that determines our status as “winners”. Perhaps it took a semester of “losses” for me to understand more clearly what it truly means to win.
It is my prayer that in whatever challenges you are facing now or will face in the future, you won't give up, but rather, you will always run the race of your life so as to win.