This weekend my eldest daughter has been in Reno Nevada for the US Open in Taekwondo. Throughout this past week I have seen many posts of parents, coaches, and teammates cheering the competitors on, and all should be applauded for their efforts win or lose. The word DESERVES made me think. The competitor from the gym my girls belong to put in many hours each week practicing, conditioning, competing each month to prepare for some of the bigger tournaments. Surely every competitor from every gym has dedicated just as much time, sweat, tears, and money to be able to compete at a high level. So who deserves to win? A win is earned not deserved.
The word deserves seems to me to say entitlement. As if putting in so much time and effort automatically earns a certain amount of power over the outcome. If a win is deserved does that then mean the person who lost didn’t put the same amount of time in advance? Are they less of a person, less deserving of a medal? My daughter, was eliminated in the first round of her competition. Part of me thinks I don’t help instill the desire to win, because I tell her I love her regardless of how she does. I will encourage her to work hard and do her best but I do not want my children to think my love has conditions or is earned because they won. There are too many problems in this country where kids feel they are or are not deserving of love based on what or how they do in school or sports. In reality, there isn’t one of us who deserves to be alive. We are alive by the grace of God. Everything else is an opportunity to earn the right to stay here on this planet and to learn to love despite what we think we deserve.
It’s the moments we feel we didn’t get what we deserved which is our greatest opportunity to love, to put all our disappointments and dreams into the will of the Father. How many times can we look back in life and realize it was our disappointments which taught us our greatest lessons? The past few months I have felt torn apart with so many internal conflicts and feeling like I deserved more from this life. “Why don’t others see my light shine?” I questioned my purpose, why I am who I am, and why I have to deal with so many insecurities, what did I do to deserve this pain of isolation. Then as I sat in mass this weekend I realized, I am not loving who God made me to be and blaming everyone for who I think I am not. I compare. I thought I deserved more just because I am me. I let Satan cast doubts in my head about who I am supposed to be. YET, I was reminded we are called to love, (yes even Satan,) not because he casts doubts and lies, but because he too was created by God. As bad as all the doubts and lies can be they can also be reminders that God is greater. It is this which we must cling to: God is Love.
We do not deserve God’s love, nor can we ever earn it. He loves us even when we allow the doubts, lies, and evil to fill our mind to make us turn away from Him but the moment we turn back to Him, He loves us. All he asks of us is to love back. So as we get ready to prepare for the lenten season, may we explore all that which we think we deserve and set those chains free. Instead of focusing on what “should be” embrace what is in front of you now. We are given opportunities, we just don’t always see them.
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