OPINION

SGLY: Today is a new starting gate

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Prosper Press

The Kentucky Derby is known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” I was eager to watch this well-known horse race, even though I confess I know nothing about the sport. I lightheartedly choose the horse I wanted to win by its appearance and personality as the jockeys guided their mounts to the starting gate.

“I want number 14 to win—Essential Quality,” I said. Little did I know Essential Quality was the favorite to win, undefeated in five career starts.

Before the race, a television commentator said Essential Quality “deserves to be a slight favorite because he is solid, distance is no problem, and he is fast enough to win. What could beat him is just misfortune.” I gave a nod to myself, knowing I had (by luck) picked a winner. But after two exciting minutes, Essential Quality did not end up with a blanket of roses. Instead, he took fourth place.

The last words of the analyst replayed in my mind: “What could beat him is just misfortune.”

Hard luck. We have all had it. We cross off every box and think we are doing what is suitable for a good life, then… WHAM! An unfortunate occurrence happens that counters our preparedness, sidesteps plans, deflates expectations, and disturbs the desired outcome.

Sometimes we can see trouble coming; other times, we are blindsided and left to pull ourselves out from under the wreckage. Either way, there is damage and disappointment.

We have all heard that “Life isn’t fair.” Despite the overuse of this statement, it does little to console the mind or heal the injury. Life is simply life, and in this simplicity, we often overthink.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Simplicity does not suggest life without complexity or complication. Instead, it means creating clarity and a trained focus that can withstand both success and setbacks. Clarity is often muddied by putting too much emphasis on what we cannot control and less focus on Who is in control.

“They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Most people are immersed in their concerns, primarily the health of their relationships, bodies, and finances. When one of these is off balance, turbulence churns our thinking and muddies our perspective. We begin to live from a position that life is a series of problems, convincing ourselves what the muddied water is too deep and much too difficult to navigate.

Many remain in a shallow pool of muddy water because they have convinced themselves they will most certainly drown if they try to move.

“‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” - Psalm 46:10

Fear is a horrible decision-maker. The best thing we can do is stop overthinking and train ourselves to be intentionally patient, realizing our worst is temporary and God’s best is eternal. We must learn to settle our thoughts so truth can rise above fear. Rather than thrash in defeat and doubt, God instructs us to remain in Him—to trust and focus on Him.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

— Psalm 46:1-3

Misfortune finds us all, but the effect of disappointment does not have to control and muddy our every thought. We can begin to cultivate clarity by not living from a temporary position of fear and loss. Today is a new starting gate. May we set out with renewed excitement and fresh faith.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.