28 laps. 10,000 meters.
And Mo tripped and fell on lap #10.
He sprang back up; it didn’t cause a setback. He still won gold.
As I watched the potential disaster unfold, I wondered if my eyes saw what I thought they saw. It all happened so fast.
A brief, unexpected contact with another runner sent him down. But watching Mo Farah get back in pace with the other runners brought a deep question to the surface of my heart.
How did he get up so quickly?
The answer is simple: Training.
I’m not much of a runner myself. In fact, my athletic skills are lackluster at best. In case you missed it, I wrote this post during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
(Click here to read it and find out Why I Wouldn’t Pick That Sport.)
However, even a non-athletic person like me can glean a great lesson from Mo’s performance. Here are 3 things my heart can learn from Mo Farah.
1. Stay in shape, because stumbles will happen.
God tells us in His Word we will have stumbles. He says we are “hard pressed on every side.” That’s a pretty extreme image of the pressures we will experience in life. But He also says, “…for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Cor. 4:17
It’s not that I don’t want to get back up when I fall. I do. But if I’ve let my heart get out of shape, I just can’t. If I try to jump up too quickly, I relapse and down I go again. It takes longer to bounce back to my normal pace.
When I stay connected with God through Scripture reading and prayer, my heart stays strong. Then – like Mo – I’m able to get back in the race before anyone even notices my fall.
2. Train in various settings, so I'm prepared for the unexpected.
Mo trains all over the world - France, Ethiopia, United States, and more. His body adjusts to a variety of altitudes and climates. He’s prepared for wherever the next race will take him.
I recently made this request out loud to God, “I want to be more steadfast.”
I love that word. Steadfast.
But I soon learned praying to be steadfast is a lot like praying for patience.
Not long after my request, I faced one of the scariest moments of my life, followed by an ongoing battle that tested my frustration level and my ability to keep calm in a crisis. Now I’m not blaming God for my trial, but it reminded me that sometimes we face difficulties in life for a reason.
Coming out on the other side of that challenge, I had a newfound empathy for others who’ve had the same experiences. It helped me understand their feelings and identify with their needs.
It prepared me for the future, because one day I might meet someone in that situation who needs help. And I’ll be ready.
When we go through difficult life situations, we may not understand why at the time, but God’s Word gives us this hope in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
So like Mo, we can be ready for wherever our race takes us.
3. Don't focus on my wounds.
After Mo finished the race, I noticed he glanced at the road rash on his shoulder. He must’ve gotten that wound when he fell, but he didn’t stop and focus on it during the race. He waited until the end.
There are times when I fall and I just want to stay down. I want to doctor my wounds for a while.
I may even want some sympathy from others – to show people my scars and hear them say, “You poor thing.”
But stopping to check my wounds during the race will only make it harder to get going again.
Have you ever been to physical therapy? If you have, then you know awful it can be. Physical therapists and doctors can seem downright mean when they force patients to get up and get moving so soon after a surgery. Why do they do that?
Because they know how important it is to get moving right away. The longer the patient lays in bed, the harder it will be to get back up.
The longer I stay down, the harder it is to get back up. (TWEET this.)
Let’s take a lesson from Mo today. Let’s keep our focus fixed ahead instead of letting our road rash deter us.
Then the tumbles of life won’t affect our finish.