Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rethinking "Deserving"....

US Women's National Team 2011
The dictionary defines "deserve" like this:  to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation.  It's the last part of that definition that has always bothered me.  Are we really qualified for things because of qualities we possess?  Can we merit or have claim to things on the basis of our situation?

The U.S. Women's National Team just lost the World Cup this afternoon, minutes before I wrote this post, actually.  I am not a soccer fan.  In fact, I barely understand the game.  I remember a few of the rules and the names of some of the positions on the field that we learned in junior high phys ed class, but that's about it.  However, you really couldn't help but be drawn into this storyline today, fan or not.  Championships do that. 

As I watched, I was amazed at the athleticism of the women on both teams.  But something struck me during the post-game comments and awards ceremony.  One of the announcers said that Japan really DESERVED this victory...because of the devastation their country suffered four months ago when a tsunami hit their country.  Really?  THAT'S why they deserved this?  I don't think so.  They EARNED that victory...and it has nothing to do with a freak weather event... and everything to do with hard work and excellent play.

The definition of "earn" in the dictionary is this: to gain or get in return for one's labor or service.  And I like this concept a whole lot better.  When I think about this new journey I'm on to change my life one step at a time, it helps me to remember that the results I'm getting right now are what I'm EARNING.  I'm seeing a return for my labor.  I work out.  A LOT!  And the changes I'm seeing in my body and in my attitude are because of that.  I don't deserve these results because I'm hard-working.  That's an admirable quality to have, but it's not the reason I've lost 77 pounds so far.  I have EARNED every one of those pounds that I've lost!  Every. Single. One!  This has nothing to do with me being hard-working and EVERYTHING to do with me WORKING HARD!!!  It's the ACTION...not the quality...that is producing this change in me.

My own personal belief is that most times in life, we don't get what we "deserve" at all...and I'm really grateful for that!  Looking at my life, I can see that I am "qualified for" far more pain and suffering because of my "actions and qualities" than I've ever had to bear.  There are people in my "situation" who are a lot worse off than me health-wise.  The fact is, I had poor eating habits and was sedentary for far too much of my life...and I became obese.  Some people do these same things and endure far greater consequences than I've ever suffered.  I do have horribly painful knees, elevated cholesterol, and at one time had high blood pressure.  You could say that I "deserve" that.  But I prefer to think of it as I'm getting the consequences I earned.  Because when I view it like that, I can more easily see that if I change my actions...I can change my outcome.  And that's exactly what I'm doing.

I'm not advocating eliminating the word "deserve" has its place.  But not in my new way of thinking about health and wellness.  I want to EARN my victories!  I'm willing to take the actions in my life that I need to in order to produce the results I want to have.

Congratulations to the 2011 Women's World Cup Champions.  Japan earned a great victory today!  I really think that the U.S. Women's team understands that, too.  At least the looks on their faces today seemed to show that.  Thanks for a hard-fought, well-played game, ladies.  Sorry it didn't earn you a victory today.  Maybe next time!


  1. Mike- great blog. I want to encourage you on your journey to better health! Keep up the good work and keep your eyes on the Lord as you do this. I love how you started your blog and tied it all together. We are blessed to not get what we deserve. Good point!

  2. We surely are blessed that we don't get what we deserve!! Thanks for joining me on the journey!!


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