For the Sake of More Than the Olympics: A message from Dwell Founder Vera Schmitz

I've always dreamed of becoming an Olympian.

My whole life I’ve been in athletics. I trained for years to try and make the US Olympic Track and Field Team. When training for a goal like this, there are inevitable highs and lows. If you've ever watched the Olympics, you know what I'm talking about.


In order to keep my mind focused during the day in and day out, I would write verses on my arm in sharpie marker. While I was practicing or competing, I would try and memorize them. Sometimes, I’d have these big long verses strung along my forearm and they were hardly legible.  A friend of mine tipped me to an idea: just take the first letter of each word of the verse and string them along in a line. Then she encouraged me to challenge myself to recall the verse. Well, not only did it take up less space on my arm, but I found it remarkably easy to memorize the verse. Through the setbacks of surgery, the excitement of major competition, and the grind of everyday training I wasn’t just writing verses on my arm, I was writing them in my mind. When fear arose, disappointment lingered, or pride set in, my verses helped me dwell on better, more true things. They gave me hope and direction for my dream.


After coming up short at the 2016 Olympic trials, I retired from sport.


I had no idea how tough it would be to close that chapter of my life. Never had I experienced so much sadness and anxiety... maybe even depression. What would my life be now without this dream I’d chased for nearly 20 years? There was such an enormous void. More than ever I NEEDED the truth’s of God. I recited them day and night and continued to write them on my arm. Slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, what I memorized in these verses healed my heart and brought me out of the pit I was in. They were my lifeline.


And then.


And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. What if those 20 years of sports weren't really about sports. The true goal wasn’t being in the Olympics for its own sake, the true life lesson was in this amazing life skill I had picked up along the way: I knew the beautiful peace of focusing on God’s truth. My question then was… if I'd needed the very words of God so deeply, didn't others? What if I shared this verse memory tool with everyone? And that is how Dwell was born.



I write this today to encourage you. Wherever you are, whoever you are, God's truth is for you. If you have a massive goal like the Olympics, God's truth is for you. If you have a goal, but you've yet to step out in faith, God's truth is for you.  If you are currently crushed under the weight of having no direction for your life (as I was), God's truth is for you.


Keep on dwelling on what these verses say every month. They will bring life to you, that is the promise they hold. When it feels like they aren't bringing you life, keep on reciting them. They won't leave you dry. And just when you need them the most, they will flow from your mind down into your soul, bringing refreshment and renewal.


Wherever you are, we are with you, and God’s truth is for you.

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