• Jason Bankston


Recently, I had the privilege of watching my son's cross country team compete in the state championships. Cross country is a sport of individuality and team. Each runner is working to do their best each race but it takes the collaboration of the TEAM to win.

A typical meet consists of 200 or more runners. Each team usually runs a minimum of 7 runners but only the top 5 runners on the TEAM score points. The faster they are the better. You want the lowest amount of points.

Our TEAM had a great race although not the outcome they wanted. It was close. Not everyone had a spectacular day, but each runner gave their best effort that day. Some had incredible efforts and seasonal best, while others were vastly disappointed.

As a parent, you wanted to be able to help the ones that had a disappointing day. They had worked the last 6 to 8 months for this one race and the outcome was not what they expected and dreamed it would be.

My son was one of the disappointed kids. Each week he competed, he would be the leader on the team. He was the first runner on his team in every race but one this year leading up to the state championship. For the state championship race he finished 6th on the team. He did not even score for the TEAM. Granted he lost his shoe 75 yards into the race and ran the entire 3 mile race with one shoe. He did not care about that. He was too distraught that he finished without scoring, and was not able to help his TEAM overcome their rival of Belle Chase and bring home a trophy for the seniors that he had become so close too.

This was the only race that mattered to him. It was the last race. He was competing with himself and lost. At least that is what he is thinking right now. We all would. It is tough. Each race you are competing with yourself. When you do not perform well you are blaming yourself. No matter the outcome you are always competing with YOU.

I know his day was a major disappointment. I do hope he will learn to see the positives of the race though. Number one, he got to race in the biggest race of the season as a freshman. Two, he did not quit and gave it his best (and with only one shoe!). Three, the TEAM stepped up and placed 3rd in their division. Four, the TEAM embraced him, consoled him, loved him. It was like a family. Lastly, lessons to be learned from competition and the difficulties of performing on the big stage.

I like to believe GOD will never put anything in front of us we cannot handle. By trusting in him, we are trusting in ourselves. Each struggle he gives us is an opportunity to grow, to learn. They are just stepping stones for what our true purpose in life is.

So do not get discouraged when something does not go your way. Maybe that is how it is supposed to be. Maybe we are supposed to learn from the outcome of struggles we face. Maybe they are supposed to humble us. Maybe they are supposed to get our ego in check. Or maybe they are supposed to give us confidence. Maybe they are building our courage. Maybe they are building our relationships with others.

So remember - our struggles, they are not struggles. They are life lessons from GOD to make you the person he wants you to be. If you go with that mindset, you will be the person you should be.

Be YOU, and trust in GOD, and let him defeat the YOU your competing with.




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