Gymnastics was my life for so many years. When I wasn’t training, I was dreaming of standing on an olympic podium, or gazing at my inspirational poster “life is simple: eat, sleep, gymnastics.”
One of our Canadian Olympic gymnasts, Kate Richardson, became my icon. I once got to train with her at a special session at another club in the Vancouver area. I could hardly focus on what I was doing knowing I was in the same gym as an Olympic gymnast. Her presence inspired me to work harder.
My Olympic dream ended at the age of thirteen when I fractured my spine, after ten years of wholehearted commitment to the sport. I had to take a significant amount of time off to recover, and during that time my parents announced that we were moving to a small town in Saskatchewan that didn’t have a competitive gymnastics club.
Up to that point I had been training 16-20 hours a week. My life was consumed with the sport, and I trained away from the gym for many hours. I was extremely dedicated to my dream.
As you can see in this photo, we couldn’t go outside without it turning into some kind of gymnastics adventure!
I remember one night sitting in my bedroom listening to music and hearing these song lyrics:
“when the dreams that you dared dream suddenly seem to far, I will run to you”.
I let myself believe that I could make it to the Olympics, and my heart was broken.
I broke down and wept for a long time. I went through a grieving period and a transition of letting go of my empty Olympic dream.
I wasn’t forever done with gymnastics and had many years of coaching in small towns around my own.
The death of one dream was certainly life to many others.
I had so many opportunities to be involved with ministry in high school. My youth group stared a youth centre I was able to be very involved in. I was able to be apart of short-term missions programs, lead worship at church and even was asked to be a guest speaker.
I can’t explain how thankful I am that God redirected that area of my life. If I really had become an Olympic athlete, I probably wouldn’t have been as open to pursuing the ministry calling the Lord has on my life after I graduated.
Sometimes the tragedy of the moment, is an unseen blessing to the future.
Some dreams truly are meant to die. You may go through a grieving process as you let it go, but ultimately God’s plan for your life is way more radical, way more exciting, and way more wonderful!
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
I am so thankful that this verse was true in my life!