There’s a bit of Kelly Slater inside all of us

To say I am inspired at the moment is an understatement.

A virus over the last couple of days forced me to have some time off work. During this enforced break, I have been fortunate enough to watch the Quiksilver Pro on Australia’s Gold Coast.

This is the first event on the world surfing tour for the year, and professionals like to use the first event to really show they mean business.

I am not one who rests easy when I know how much work I have to do, but if there is anything that will help me to rest, it’s watching the world’s best surfers strut their stuff – and it’s live footage to boot.

So instead of fighting getting back to work, I chose to just enjoy a bit of rest, knowing this is a treat I generally don’t get time for.

I am a mad-keen surfer. Having grown up on the beach and surfing since I was seven years of age, including competitively through to my late teens, I’d say surfing is still my sport of choice.

But there was something that just blew me away over the last few days – that was watching Kelly Slater, now 41 years of age, still showing the world’s best surfers how it is done.

41 years of age and still surfing on the elite tour is like seeing a 40 year-old still playing top-level professional football. Put simply, it usually just does not happen.

The body cannot keep up with what is a sport for younger men and, even if the body is in good shape, it cannot learn the new tricks, mostly now performed in the air, like the younger guys can.

So watching Kelly over the last few days, I have had a real revelation in my own life. But not just for my life, but for those Christians who feel like their dreams are dead, or that they have to resort to a life of being an also-ran.

The Bible talks about the old dreaming dreams and the young seeing visions (Joel 2:28). Just because we are getting a little grayer, perhaps a little more weighty around the middle regions, and potentially a little thinner on top, doesn’t mean that it’s time to roll out the retirement plan and to stop dreaming.

Abraham was an old man when his dream came to pass. He thought there was no way that the dream he was holding on to could happen. But God had another plan.

Too often the world seems to put us in a box and give us a certain timeframe as to when our life should be over – or at least for our working life.

By 65 we are meant to be leaving behind a life of vision and work for gardening and afternoon naps, when in reality many will go on to live well into their 80s and 90s.

I am also inspired when I look at the Warren Buffetts and Rupert Murdochs, men well past what the world deems to be retiring age, and see them still achieving amazing things. It proves to me that we can actually get better with age.

Christians, more than most, should keep their visions alive as they get older. In Proverbs, gray hair is a sign of wisdom, which makes me think that as our hair color changes, God wants to use all those years of wisdom to still do something great for Him. And also something great for ourselves.

He loves the energy and raw passion of youth, but He also knows that we need the gray to bring that wisdom and experience in what is a complicated world.

God uses all of our wisdom we have accumulated over the years, and as He is mostly interested in character, which comes with time. I am confident that if you’re older than, say 41, that your best years are still ahead of you.

And just a side note for those who care about the result: Kelly beat the current world surfing champion, Joel Parkinson, in the final, and is now shooting for a record 12th world championship.

image courtesy Glaser/Kellyslater.com

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