Like most people in life, I had a dream growing up as a child. My dream was to become one of the best runners in the world. My goal to accomplish this dream was to make the U.S. Olympic team in one of the middle distance events. My desire for excellence and goal of running against the best in the world was a singular focus for many years.
Fast forward to the end of my story. As it turned out, I reached the national class level in my sport by making the U.S. rankings in the 1500 meters and the mile. However, I never reached my goal of the running in the Olympic Games. My times were just not fast enough. My desire to become one of the best runners in the world was never fulfilled, or was it? Now, for the rest of the story.
Desires of the heart are the fuel of life. Godly desires keep us going and get out us out of bed each morning. When a desire is awakened, it may initially take on one form to us but God may transform that desire into something completely different. He has a way of fulfilling our desires in the most unpredictable ways. Let me explain.
The desire locked deep down in my soul as a young man was to become one of the best runners in the world and to make the Olympic team. My goal of making the Olympic team was a focus for me for nearly two decades.
Something inside of me would not let my dream die. I kept holding on to my goal until one day in the spring when I knew my dream was over, or so I thought.
I remember very vividly the day I stopped chasing my goal. I was racing in a large competitive track meet and failed to reach the time I needed to move to the next level. I knew this was my last attempt at my goal because by the time the next Olympics rolled around I would be past my prime and too old to compete.
When I failed to reach my l goal of running in the Olympics, my thinking at the time was that I failed to reach my dream of becoming one of the best in the world. Being a realist and very logical, I knew my dream as I had defined it was over and it was time to get real, move on in life, and turn in my spikes.
Extreme sadness and a sense of loss crept into my mind and body like a storm passing through in the night. I was truly sad for the loss of a lifetime goal. I sat alone on the track at the last meet of my life quietly reflecting and praying as years of memories passed through my mind.
Being a competitor, my pity party did not last long. I intuitively prayed for a new goal to take the place of my lost goal. Like the Bible says, "without a vision the people perish". I needed to get back into the race again.
The desires written on our hearts are placed there for a reason (assuming they are within His will). However, we can miss or misread the intended outcomes of our desires at times. In other words, we can be mistaken about how our desires will play out in life. God may fulfill our desire in a completely different way than we ever imagined. Such was the case in my life.
You all know the rest of the story by now. I went on to win the title of The Ultimate Runner and set an all-time record in the event. In the process, I finished ahead of many national and world class runners whom I had never beaten before. I had fulfilled my desire to run with the best in the world. However, my goal was reached in a much different way than I had ever imagined. Winning the Ultimate Runner turned out to be my Olympic Games and the “best event” of my running career.
The life lesson here is apparent. We may have a strong desire and dream that we chase after—sometimes for years. That desire is a part of who we for a reason. However, God may have a different way of fulfilling our desires. Using a running analogy, He may have a "different event” for us that fulfills our desire and potential in a way that is unimaginable at first.
Never give up on your deepest desires and dreams. God is in the redemption business. When one goal fades, a better “especially made for you goal” may take its place that aligns more closely with his purposes...if you will listen to that still small voice inside of you.
Are you missing out on your God given potential because you are stuck in the wrong event in life? Think and pray over this question sometime if you are still chasing after a desire and dream that is burning in your heart. I did and have never regretted that decision.
Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Questions for prayer and reflection
Is there a different and Godly way that you can fulfill the desires of your heart?
Can you see yourself giving up something that is good and going for something that is great?
Have you took an honest look under the hood and prayed to be placed in your “best event” in
Has a good friend, parent, loved one, teacher or coach pointed out to you that you may be able to fulfill your desire and reach your potential in a different event in life?
You can learn more about the Original Ultimate Runner story in this video that was produced in October of 2019.