If you’re like me, you’re going through a bit of Olympics withdrawal right about now. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one as the London Games were some of highest rated in history. Being somewhat of a track & field fan, I gravitated towards those events and, in particular, the story of Manteo Mitchell.
You’ve heard the story by now. In a qualifying heat of the men’s 4×400 relay, Mitchell ran the first leg of the race for the U.S. About halfway through, he heard a snap in his leg. He suffered a broken fibula. But realizing the magnitude of the moment, and seeing his teammates, he pushed through the last 200 meters… on a broken leg!
“I didn’t want to let those three guys down, or the team down, so I just ran on it,” Mitchell said afterwards.
PERSEVERING THROUGH PAIN
Though I like to think I’m a pretty tough guy and I can endure some hardship, I’ve never had a broken anything. And honestly, if I heard anything snap while running, I’d drop on that track. Olympic stage be damned! There’s always 2016.
But Mitchell’s amazing feat caused me to think of how his perseverance correlates to life. About how many times I’ve let minor obstacles, inconveniences, emotions, or difficult individuals keep me from carrying out a task.
Resistance from any source is almost guaranteed to confront us in any endeavor of life, particularly a noble one. That should be expected. But the resistance should be more reason to press through than to give up. Jesus gave us a heads-up about this when He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
WHY WE KEEP GOING
There are a few things we can learn from Mitchell’s gutsy run.
First, he didn’t panic. When something crazy and unexpected happens in your life, don’t panic. Keep moving. Our initial reaction to difficulties or obstacles is to stop and re-evaluate the situation. But sometimes we just got to keep moving, stay focused and push through. The obstacle is merely a distraction from your purpose.
Second, he finished the race not because of his own reputation or pride, but because he didn’t want to let the team down. This one hits home for me. Whether we realize it or not, people are watching us in life. And they watch us more closely when we’re in the fire of trials. We can’t give up, we can’t stop because others are depending on us to finish. They are depending on us to stick to our word, finish what we started, and carry out the vision. They need an example of perseverance in a world where it’s so easy to quit.
You are an example to someone. Someone is following you. Your race in life, whatever it may be, is bigger than you. Something may break in your life along the way — your heart, your health, your bank account, your relationships — but stopping is not an option. It’s not an option when there are others who need you to finish. Manteo Mitchell ran 200 meters as fast as he could on a broken leg. What’s your excuse for giving up?
Kevin is the editor of Transparency. Connect with him via twitter (@transparencymag) or via email (kevin(at)transparencymag.com)