Panning for the Gold Gymnast

Have you ever panned for gold?  I love watching “Gold Rush” on Discovery channel with my husband.  It is incredible how they find this and how plentiful gold actually is.  If you aren’t sure how it is done, you dip the pan in a stream, then remove the pan, ensuring you keep as little water as possible in the pan. You place a magnet on the bottom side of the pan and slowly move it around the pan. Black sand is magnetic and will be attracted to the magnet, and the gold not being magnetic is then separated from the black sand.

Coaching gymnastics is honestly just like panning for gold!  You have to determine the gold from the black sand.  Not everyone is made to be a gymnast, and this is what parents really find hard to understand.  Just like everyone isn’t a ‘AAA’ athlete.  Everyone can enjoy the sport of gymnastics, but not everyone is going to make it to be a National Level Athlete in this sport.

We also have gymnasts in this sport that can do the sport physically, but somehow they run into confidence issues for certain skills.  Physically they are more than capable of doing the sport buy mentally they hit walls.

It really is frustrating as a coach when an athlete goes through this, because you can see their potential, but they are holding themselves back from their true potential because of a skill, or the confidence to do the skill.  There is something in their brain that isn’t letting them move forward to their true potential.

Do you realize that God feels the same way as I do as a coach?  He has created every one of us to reach and to do amazing things in this world, but so many of us never reach our true potential.  For some reason, we’ve let the evil spirits in our heads convince us that we aren’t wonderful, that we can’t reach our goals.  Maybe someone has stated their opinion about us, and that made us feel little or inferior, but why?  Why are we letting someone’s opinion about you dictate what you will do, or who you become?  They aren’t the creator of this universe!  They aren’t the ones who already have our lives mapped out for us.

Just like I try to explain to my gymnast, they can’t let this one skill stop them in their progression and let it determine who they are as a gymnast.  The same holds true for us.  We have to stop letting things that happen to us, or things that are said to us determine our destiny.  We have to realize that we are all created equal, and that isn’t a myth.  Acts 10:34 tells us, “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,”  We are all the same in God’s eyes!

Just like panning for gold, we have to realize that even though the waters might be muddy at first, when the water clears, we are all made of gold.  We are all priceless in God’s eyes!  God gets frustrated at you, just like I get frustrated at my gymnasts, because I see the gold in them, but many times, they don’t see the gold in themselves.

I try to bring the best out of all my gymnasts.  I try positive reinforcement, reward systems, negative reinforcement…one of my gymnast even comes over to me when she sees me working with a struggling gymnast and recommends, “Give them your speech, it always works for me.”  She makes me chuckle, but they have empathy for each other and know what it is like to have mental blocks.

I can see the gold in them as a gymnast, but until they realize their own worth, none of my tricks will work.  Until they realize that they are just as good as they believe they can be, my power is useless.  I saw the transformation in my daughter by using God as her power in her times of struggles, and now, I know that she is learning to pray for patience when she is struggling, or praying for strength when she gets tired.  Her go to verse is, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Nobody knows how much I wish I could use this verse with all my gymnasts.  If they would only believe that they can do all things by using the strength of Christ I would have a group of rock star gymnasts.  It’s no secret, but until we believe that we are made of gold, and that we are all created equal, I am fighting a losing battle, and I just keep repeating my daughter’s go to verse myself.  I wonder what verse God chants to himself whenever we are frustrating him not reaching our own potential in life.