by M. Sellers
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ~ James 1:12, NLT
In 1984 Dan Jansen competed in his first Olympics and finished fourth just missing out on a medal. Dan went back into training and four years later he showed up as the best speed skater in the world; favored to win both the 500 and 1000 meter races.
While he was training leading up to the Olympics Dan's best friend, his sister Jane, was diagnosed with cancer. She struggled with the disease and unfortunately she died the morning of his 500 meter race. She told him before he left that no matter what happened he needed to compete, to race, to never give up. With a heavy heart he started the race.
The race was going well until, for the first time in his life, he slipped and fell during a competition. He was heartbroken. He had dedicated this Olympics to his best friend Jane and he fell. A few days later, he had to race the 1000 meter and he was favored to win there also. As he rounded the final turn, he was leading; no one could catch him and then the unthinkable happened. Dan fell again. He slid into the wall and once again lost the race. He lay there, crying, in disbelief, in anguish.
Four years later, he returned to the Olympic areana and this time, while he didn't fall, he once again finished 4th in the 500 meter race. When he went home he vowed to give it one more chance, to remember Jane's words, to never give up.
In 1994 Dan made it through all the heats and was into the final once again. It was his last chance to win the medal in memory of his sister and best friend Jane. Dan Jansen raced and came around the last turn in the lead. He didn't fall. He didn't slip and he crossed the finish line in the lead. Dan Jansen won his gold medal that day. When it was time for his victory lap he didn't carry his gold medal, instead Dan, in tears, carried his newborn baby girl that he had named Jane.
For a long time in my life I struggled with many things. I faced the loss of a loved one, my Mother, at 16 years old due to cancer. At the time I was struggling with drinking, doing drugs and many other things. Rather than turn to God, rather than resist temptation, I gave in. I leaned on drugs and alcohol to help me through the pain I was feeling, to help me try and forget what was going on in my life.
What I got for leaning on those things were a lot of hangovers, lost time and lost relationships. Everything was a struggle as I let temptation take control of my life. As those struggles got worse, I was facing a second divorce and watching my children who I loved more than anything in this world be hurt because of me.
I knew I had to change.
I was working my way around that last turn on skating rink of life and I was slipping, I was falling again and this time I knew, I wasn't going to be able to get back up. As I started to fall, I looked up and there He was. He was on that rink with me, He was holding me up and suddenly I knew that I could never be held down.
Today, I still struggle sometimes. But I have peace knowing that my struggle is no longer one I have to face on my own. I can fall sometimes when I struggle but when I do and I look up, He is there. He is there to help me on my feet. He is there to make sure I can stand.
Our life in recovery is like that skating rink. The ice can be slippery; there are temptations all around, whether you are facing alcohol or drug issues, food issues, depression. Everywhere you look can lead to despair, can lead to a fall.
The thing is, Christ is there with you. Many times we feel alone, like we have nowhere to turn when facing our issues but now we have turned our life over to Him. He can keep us on our feet and only Christ can help us avoid the temptation. He has provided each of us sponsors, accountability partners to help us face our struggles. Most of all, He is with you, He is listening and He is keeping you on your feet. You just have to reach out and take His hand.
So this message is about resisting temptation. We all face temptation every day. By working the steps, by reaching out to Christ, we can avoid that temptation. By reaching out to Him, we will not fail. We may slip, we may even fall, but with Him we can always get up, we can always stand. So today you are on that ice rink of life, you are rounding the final turn and you are winning the race. The ice is slippery, full of danger. Just reach out, Christ will steady you, He will keep you on your feet, He will make sure you never fall again. We are in the long race to recovery. Today it's time to be like Dan, it's time to keep working, to keep leaning on Christ, it's time to win the race.
Have you found this to be true in your recovery or in general for making positive change? Share your stories here for all to be blessed.