True Strength

As the Tokyo Olympics winds down, much attention has been given to Simone Biles. Going into these games, she had a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, is the most decorated American gymnast, and is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time—all at the tender age of 24.
While all of that is impressive, what she did in these games is even more impressive to me: she stepped back to take care of herself, showing true strength.
She chose to leave the team during these games and stop competing.
True strength is being able to say you can’t do something. True strength is working your whole life, dedicating yourself entirely, and being able to step back and cheer on your teammates. True strength is feeling the weight of a country on your shoulders, and being able to see clearly that it’s not your duty to carry it if it will break you.
True strength is being able to see through the oppressive cloud of other people’s expectations and doing what your body, mind, and soul are saying you need to do.
If Simone Biles convinces even one person watching her that it’s ok to say, “I can’t,” and prioritize their mental health, that will be more valuable to this country than any gold medals she could earn.
We have more than enough gold medals.
We need more true strength.
As a pastor of a W.I.S.E. congregation for mental wellness, I salute her.
Shalom, Paul