11 "... and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life …"
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV)
William Zinsser wrote, “Good writing is a reward in itself,” in his book “On Writing Well.”
Athlete, regardless of how much athletic or academic attention you get, a quiet job well done is a reward in itself.
A quiet job done well does not seem like it has a place in our sensationalistic, stat-crazed culture. We look at how many people liked, viewed or shared our post, tweet or picture. Therefore, we might be inclined to post and do things that we think will gain popularity.
But, attention received does not necessarily correspond to the quality of something.
There are trite songs that have millions of views on YouTube and masterful songs that have a couple hundred views. There are thoughtless tweets that have thousands of shares and thoughtful tweets that have no shares.
So, do not put too much stock in how much public acknowledgement you receive.
Athlete, remember you are living for the unseen God, and much of your life is hidden. Jesus said part of what it means to follow Him is valuing what no one else sees (Matthew 6:1-18). Know that laboring wholeheartedly in obscurity is a sign of the character Jesus values.
My friend talks about the “art of becoming.” He means God has His eyes on our process and formation – who we are becoming on the journey.
Imagine if our mainstream culture valued quiet faithfulness and process instead of sensationalism and instantaneousness. Then we would consider ordinary people doing ordinary things extraordinary.
Athlete, remember God values development, and God knows failure is a crucial part of our development. Knowing this can help us better handle our failure and obscurity.
Because of God’s value system we do not need to get down if our sports or social media stats are bad. It is good news that we can sit satisfied in obscurity. It is good news that we do not need to cater to the buzz!
Athlete, consider what practical changes you have to make to think more like Jesus in these ways. Maybe start with fasting from social media for 12 hours, not because social media is inherently bad, but because taking a step away for a time can help re-orient our thinking.