I've always been known as “The Runner”. Everybody in school, church, and my family always asked the same expected question “how’s track?” or phrases like “can’t wait to see you in the Olympics” “we’re so proud of you“ or “Wanna race?”. Almost as if this was all people knew about me. Most conversation revolved around this, but ultimately what I was running from was much bigger than these cliché track questions in my life as well. I was running away from the true champion of all…GOD
Lately, my life has been a whirlwind of confusion, questioning, and doubt—confusion, in my relationships, questioning about my future, and doubting my walk with God overall. And ultimately I was teetering on the idea of whether living a godly lifestyle was really for me, or completely running away from it all. I've always been “The Runner” physically but in this case I suppose I was mentally running away from God and all he had to offer…
One might question why a girl that’s grew up and spent her whole life in church from birth to 20 years old would ever doubt the power of God and would want to leave. But that’s exactly why. It seemed to me that from the moment I was placed on this Earth I never really knew what freedom was. I never experienced my own understanding of Gods power, and I never got to decide for myself if I really wanted God in my life. In my view, it seemed that because I was made to go to church every week, bible study every Wednesday, prayer every Friday and any event in between it was almost as if I was forced into believing in God, rather than seeking him for myself. I didn’t quite understand or love God for myself. I knew he existed because I’d seen him work in my family’s life and people in the church as well, and I felt his presence every so often. But I wasn’t exactly sure about him, that he was all there is to offer in my life. I needed to figure it out.
And that whole hypothesis would be tested shortly after in Fall of 2012. I started college in August 2012 on a full scholarship to Towson University running Track. Unknowing what lied ahead of me, or what was in store I jumped right into the college life and all that it entails. Classes, practice, studying, partying, hanging with friends, and ultimately trying to find my place in this whirlwind of a home we call college. Notice, I never included church. When I got to Towson I began to test my boundaries of freedom, I didn’t go to church, and never really prayed-except over my food (some habits are just never broken). But I was enjoying it. It was my way of sticking it to my parents and saying “see I’m doing just fine without you,” and without God as well. I was having fun and experiencing things that I never got to experience at home. I was on cloud nine, only going to church when I came home on breaks. But not even really soaking in the word…and this went on for 2 years.
But as time went on it seemed that everything began to fall apart. The more I sprinted away from God the more my problems began to catch me. My grades were depleting (probably due to more partying and less studying). I was getting in involved with guys that broke my heart one after the next, and losing friendships that I had back home. And I was in a place in my life where I felt that nothing was going right, and I was utterly confused. It wasn’t until this current summer that I went back home that it seemed like everything was going downhill in my life that I decided I needed a change. I decided maybe leaving God wasn’t the right way to go.
But the problem arose…I didn’t know exactly where to start. After two years of not really praying, I utterly forgot how to approach God. And also I felt like I’d sinned so much in the past couple years that God couldn’t forgive my wrongdoings. But, overtime I suddenly I began to talk to him as if he was my friend, trying hard to pray more and put my heart into productive things rather than distractions. Instead of giving my heart to meaningless boys that didn’t deserve me, I gave my heart to God, and instead of giving my time to parties, I gave my time God.
Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Yes some sins may have been colossal, but regardless God never judges. 1 John 1:19 states “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Maybe that’s where I needed to start; I took the first step and repented for my sins. I talked to God as if he was a friend rather than some fictional being. I confessed everything and tears flooded.
But ultimately I began to come back to him. I guess I had to go through hardships, pain, doubt, instability, and loneliness to form my own relationship with him and see growth. In track you learn to run your own race, and stay in your lane. Going through difficulties I learned that yes, we all have our own race and battles to face in our walk with God. But I ceased to realize that God was always in the race right beside me. Ultimately, I had to stop running away from God’s plan for me and run toward him. I know many of you readers stray away and lose sight of God. But getting back to him is in fact possible, though it may be sometimes difficult, and it may take time and a lot of energy. A relationship with God will never be easy, but better believe it will be worth it. Because of my testimony, I’m sure of this: Run to him full-fledged and he will greet you with open arms.