Over the weekend, one of my sons was hand picked to attend a junior surfing camp with around eight other kids.
Held at the high performance academy of surfing, three top coaches were in attendance, two of whom are former professional surfers. As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement for the kids as they surfed and worked out, surrounded by surfing memorabilia and state-of-the-art training facilities. Now that surfing is an Olympic sport, it is very well funded by the government.
Around the massive complex was pictures of world champions and the surfboards they had won their world titles on. There was inspirational quotes as well, one of which is below.
But the wall that really caught my eye was the list of under 18 champions from about 1975 through to 2018. As I ran my eyes down that list, whilst I recognized many of the names because of a life spent surfing, what surprised me was that probably only one in six of those surfers went on make it to the World Championship Tour.
Here is a list of the best junior surfers in the country, and the next stepping stone from here is moving up to the world tour, yet most didn’t make it. I was intrigued.
They had the talent, but what stopped them from taking the final step? Maybe it was a lack of belief, a lack of funds to travel the world, a new boyfriend or girlfriend that took away their focus, a lack of desire to give up their entire lives to have the obsession required to make it to the top. I am not sure, but many started very well, but didn’t finish that way.
My wife has a saying she has used since we met. It is: ‘it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish’. When I was in my twenties, the saying meant nothing to me, however the older I get, the more I realize just how true this is in so many aspects of life.
Many people start well, but they don’t finish that way. Even this weekend, I am certain that all of the kids that attended want to be professional surfers, and potentially all of them feel like they could be. But the reality is that maybe only one or two from that handful will make it.
Why do we start well, but finish poorly? I cannot answer this for the masses, but I can tell you that as a Christian, if you give your life, your dreams and your talents to God, while it may take a long time for your plan to come to fruition, you can finish well.
God has a habit of taking the long way around to ensure that our character is built, that we have solid foundations, and that we don’t crash and burn. He has great plans for us, but He is not worried about us being overnight sensations and getting to where we want before our character is developed.
In fact I wrote a blog on this a couple of years ago when I watched a young man who I thought was an ‘overnight sensation’ sensationally crash and burn.
We only have to look at Abraham and Sarah and countless others who waited patiently. God is not interested in you or I being an overnight sensation. He is building us for the long haul so we don’t fall apart when hard times come. It’s not to crush our dreams or our spirit, but to ensure we have deep foundations.
So as you may at times watch others rushing past you in life, remember that it is not how you start, but it is how you finish. Don’t take short cuts; take the long way around and ensure that you finish your life on top.