Walking in to our “All Staff” meeting earlier this month I was expecting a normal day of catching up with the other staff members and going over our “Christian Super Bowl” plans for next month. I had no idea I was in the presence of a 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist who was about to blow fire of heavenly wisdom over us. The greatest Men’s Freestyle Halfpipe Skier in the world, David Wise, calls Red Rocks Church home and he has one heck of a journey! Below is the recording from our meeting and it is well worth listening to every second of it!
I apologize, the recording picks up part way through the meeting
Here are some of my key takeaways from David’s talk and I believe they are applicable every believer’s faith journey.
Whatever you do, do it out of a heart of worship
To put it into perspective, pressure as an Olympic athlete goes well beyond competing for a medal; their family’s are financially supported by them placing in competitions. For a majority of Olympic athletes, they receive little to no endorsements from sponsors during 3 of the 4 years between Olympic games. Talk about pressure to perform!!!
David went on to explain that he loves this part of his profession because it’s all related to doing it from a heart of worship. He was telling us that whenever he puts those skis on, he doesn’t feel pressure because he’s not focused on his competitors or what he has to do to get on the podium, all he wants to do is ski as best as he can as an act of worship to God, giving him his absolute best!
In the 2016 X-Games, David was battling a back injury and in his first 2 qualifying runs he wiped out. He had 1 more run to make it into the finals and in order to do so he could have simplified his run with easier tricks to make it in; his friends and coaches reminded him of this but his response blew them away. He said, “I could.. but that wouldn’t be worship.”
He tells God, I don’t care if I crash again I am going to give you my best every time I put those skis on! He crashed but God used that in an incredible way that you can hear more on in the recording.
What does this look like for you?
For me, this is when I am exhausted and with my wife and/or daughter and I just want turn my brain off and not have any responsibility of being a husband/father. but that wouldn’t be worship, would it? As a father you are to lay down your life for your wife and children and that involves putting them before you in EVERYTHING!
If you want to be the best in your craft you MUST train your weaknesses
David went on to explain how his whole life he’s always feels a little underequipped. Like he’s almost had enough talent to be the best, or he’s almost had enough money to be comfortable financially with where he’s going in life. He said he learned that feeling underequipped doesn’t have to define him.
If asked to do a 360 turn, 70% of people would naturally turn to the left. David naturally turned right but it was hard for him to rotate going to the left. However, from the age of 14 he was fearless of feeling embarrassed from failing to try to learn something. He wanted to be the best at his craft so he endlessly worked on this weakness until he finally conquered it; because of it, 10 years later he pulled off what is the greatest run in free-style skiing halfpipe history to win the Gold Medal.
How can this be applied to your life?
For me, it’s answering text messages. This might sound ridiculous but I hate texting and I have a tendency to want to get things done that are in front of me before I look at it and sometimes things slip through the cracks and I never respond. In today’s age, this is not acceptable and it’s a little rude, even though I don’t mean to be ignoring them. This is a weakness of mine and in order to become a better leader today and even more so in the future I have to work on this.
Even if you fail or come up short, can you still glorify God? If you can do this, all of those times and difficulties will empower you for the greater plans He has for you.
In the 2018 Olympics, David crashed on his first 2 runs in qualifying. It was setting up to be almost a repeat of the X-Games 2 years before. There was a specific part of the halfpipe that was rough and he and other riders had been crashing in that specific spot over and over throughout the day. He decided for his last run he was going to change his strategy in that area and go with a trick that he knew he would be able to land.
David nailed his 3rd and final qualifying run and he thought for sure he’d be in the finals. Judges in competitions like this don’t tend to judge fairly across the competition. Since David was seen as the best in the World and they knew he was capable of doing a better run than everyone else in the world they judge him harder than the other riders. They put him into 11th place of 27 riders. Only 12 make it to the finals and there were other riders still to go. He thought that he was about to miss the finals in the competition that he had been working on for 4 years.
He had a moment with God where he told Him, If this is how I can best glorify you in this moment, I am willing to do it even if I don’t make it to the finals.
You can hear about the rest of it in the recording ;)
Before failure happens we can prepare our hearts for this. Look into your heart and where you stand with this. Ask yourself if you are able to glorify him even if you fail. If not, do some more searching and find out why. This is not like a shot that you have to get once and you are good for life, it’s important to check in with yourself often to see the condition of your heart. When I find myself not being able to glorify him through failure, it’s usually because I either have my own plans that I want to achieve or I don’t trust God with where my life is going.
I would highly encourage you to listen to the full recording. David’s testimony and the wisdom he shares throughout it is so encouraging and uplifting. He does mention that he donates 10% of his winnings to a non-profit organization his sister started called One Leg Up On Life. If you want to check it out or donate you can do so by clicking on this link. http://www.oneleguponlife.org/
God, thank you so much for the love, grace, and mercy you have for us messed up people. Lord, we give you everything and with the gifts and talents you have blessed us with we will do our best to worship you with them no matter the circumstance or result. We are so blessed to be your children and It is an honor to shine your light to a lost and dying world. It’s in your name we pray, Jesus. Amen!