Shaun White by loren13_2010

fascinate – to engage; occupy complete attention

I love the Winter X Games!  This past weekend’s coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 was fantastic. I didn’t get to watch as much as I would have liked, but I was able to find time to watch all of the coverage of the men’s snowboard superpipe competition. Shaun White came away with his 4th gold medal in the event (that’s 4 in a row for those of you who don’t follow this sort of thing).  As amazing as his performance was this past weekend, that is not what caught my attention the most.  What did catch my attention was a comment that he made on the first night of the games.  After completing his first run in the qualifying round (a run good enough to secure him the top spot for the finals) he stopped to talk to a reporter before heading back up the hill.  Here is what caught my attention:

Reporter: “You were down here asking what you did.” (Apparently Shaun was asking about his run, not sure of what tricks he had actually performed)

Shaun: “I kind of messed up my trick so I just started throwing tricks.  I didn’t really know what I did.”


He had just come down through a 20 foot superpipe, thrown down 5 or 6 crazy tricks on the way while flying at least 12 feet (first hit was 18 feet) above the edge of the pipe, and he doesn’t know what he did.  Was he on ‘autopilot’?  Is he even human?

This comment caught my attention because I realized that this is kind of how I often go through my daily life.  On ‘autopilot’.  In Shaun’s case, one of his first tricks didn’t go the way he had planned so he improvised and fell back on what was easy and comfortable for him.  He didn’t even fully know what he had done when he got to the bottom.  He was successful with it, but it wasn’t his best effort.  The commentators on ESPN even agreed that it was Shaun at “B grade status.”  In my case, when I start my day and something doesn’t go the way I had planned I tend to fall back into what is easy and comfortable to try to get things back on course.  I choose the ‘autopilot’ setting for my life.  What I find for me is that ‘autopilot’ often means that I am falling back on my own abilities rather than the grace of God.  I usually manage to get through the day (or days) successfully, but it wasn’t my best effort.  As I strive to be a better follower of Christ shouldn’t I be putting out my best effort as a husband, father, friend, coworker, etc in order to bring glory to God?  Shouldn’t I be engaged and aware of what I am doing rather than choosing ‘autopilot’?

Last year I attended a leadership conference where one of the exercises we did was to write the one thing we had learned from the day on a small yellow paint bucket.  Here’s what I wrote:


Shaun White’s comment was a good reminder for me this week that I need to trust the grace of God when I feel like I have messed up and am reaching for the ‘autopilot’ button.  How about you?  Do you ever find yourself on ‘autopilot’?


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