Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is there a Lance in You? - Lessons from Lance Armstrong


Lance Armstrong
There has been so much news on Lance Armstrong. When I first saw him on the news I was like who is he? I don't know him? Why is Oprah interviewing him? Doping? Oooooh seen...cheating with performance enhancing drugs? Cyclist? Won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005? For real? So people actually watch those races? *covers face* Why should I be ashamed? Tell the truth, did you know him before now? 

It is easy for us to look at this guy and shake our heads and call him a cheat. This issue has caused a lot of finger pointing, side taking, and vehement arguments, so many people helped him cheat. And finger pointing is always directed to another person, never to ourselves. Before the dust settles and he is out of the news, the question we must ask   is “Is there a Lance in me?” Who are you when the chips are down and you're running out of chips? 

The person vehemently condemning Armstrong may not realize that he may be just as guilty. He may be a teacher who by failing to teach his students leaves them little or no option other than to cheat during exams and giving them an unfair advantage, sometimes even facilitating the cheating. He may be a father who by demanding and expecting his son to become a millionaire, like the neighbors son, forces him to steal in order to live up to his father’s expectations. He may be a man who indulges in pornography patronizing an industry that propagates sexual perversion. She may be mother who encourages her daughters to marry a rich man at all costs, failing to show her children that there is more to life than the mad race to amass wealth and achieve without spending time on moral or spiritual advancement. He may be a politician, living far away in Abuja, who by stealing the people’s money leaves them no option other than to steal. He may be a Nigerian living abroad, who by giving Nigeria a bad name through dishonest living, who visits the country during festive months showing off his ill gotten wealth stirring a craving for the same in younger people who should be learning the values of honest work. The corruption discourages investors from investing in Nigeria, thereby preventing the flow of money into Nigeria; the flow of money that would have helped to alleviate the poverty and desperation in Nigeria. 

"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". The very idea of transforming yourself by the way you think about things struck me as profound long before I realized how profound it really is. The only way to transformation is through the mind. That's why, the only changes that are maintained and sustained are those in which something inside the receiver clicks, aligning with that which is being received. 

We must receive the will of God concerning our lives. Psalm 3:1-4 says we should write the Word on the tablet of our hearts in order to find favor and good success. Yes, it is not easy to change ingrained behavioral patterns and especially in the face of economic hardships but that is the time to prove we really believe in the omniscience of God. Many people stifle the work of the Holy spirit in their hearts by constantly looking around like a cyclist wondering who is in front of us and who is behind scheming ways to get ahead.

I'm convinced that by letting each experience, especially the tough ones, strengthen you and add depth and wisdom we give ourselves a chance to be transformed. We all make mistakes, sometimes we're ahead sometimes we're behind. Not allowing for other people's mistakes and understanding that we are all tempted leaves no room for our own. As we raise  our children, progress in our careers let us ask "Is there a Lance in me?"


Ijeoma Olujekun.

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