• James Shepherd

Are you more than your accomplishments?


You might have watched some of the summer Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan this year. One of the competitors was American Simone Biles, considered to be one of the greatest and most dominant gymnasts of all time. However, at one point in the competition, she started to feel out of sorts. She withdrew from her vault event and a teammate had to take her place.

She received criticism from some for withdrawing, but she received much more support and love. So much so, that she tweeted a few days later, "The outpouring love and support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before." And she has continued to champion this point since then.

It always warms my heart to hear of others finding that there's more to them than what they do. As Simone and so many others have found, if we think that we are only what we accomplish, then what happens when we fail - at school, at work, at home, or even in sports? Who are we then?

Well, who we are is so much deeper than the surface-level things like our achievements and accomplishments in the world. As we look past our accomplishments (and failures), we can see the qualities we express - the joy, love, grace, strength that we bring to our school, our work, our home, or the task we need to do. These qualities are innate in us all because we are all the offspring of God, the Creator of all. In a way, God, infinite Good, has created each of us in order to express all of these wonderful qualities - and each in our own unique way.

And sure, as we use these qualities, we will sometimes accomplish big things. Some athletes will win medals. others will not. We can have a great day where everything goes right, then the next day there are challenges that pop up. Yet, we must remember that we all express Godlike qualities, and we can bring these qualities into the world regardless of an accomplishment or what might seem to be a failure.

Putting God's qualities into action is how each of us is having a positive impact on the world. It could be something big that we do, but more often it's in small ways. Giving up our seat to another on the bus, a smile in the grocery store, or taking an extra minute to talk to someone, all stem from our God-given love of others. These things are so natural for all of us to do that we often do them without even thinking. I think that if every night before we headed off to bed and reviewed our day, we might find a lot more ways that we brought light and joy into others' lives than we may have guessed!


And even if we don't have the opportunity during the day to do something kind for somebody, just our conscious love of all mankind has a beneficial effect on everyone. Often, we may not see the results of our good thoughts and actions, but they are always helping to bring life and joy into others' lives - as well as to our own. And actually, this is a much bigger feat than any of those more visible worldly accomplishments.


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