I returned to New Jersey expecting to go back to work and get caught up on real life. Instead, “real life” hit me in the face like a cold-hard snowball. After being gone a month-and-a-half my car battery was dead, not to mention it was snowed in and the roads weren’t plowed. I was unable to get any hours in at work, let alone get anywhere. There I was, without a running car, running out of money, running on the dreaded treadmill and surviving on canned foods. I broke down. I called my dad. I cried. But worst of all, I used the dreaded word that apparently isn’t a word; can’t. Until now I’d been so fortunate and my past few weeks in Texas were a worry free runner’s heaven. But suddenly everything seemed to be going wrong, and I told my dad, “I can’t deal with all of this.” He didn’t take that well, and kept the conversation very “matter-of-fact.” I was angry, unhappy, and especially concerned since that was minutes before I had to leave for my next race in Boston.
Luckily, I’m not the kind of person to dwell on an emotion. After the four-hour drive to Boston I put my complaints behind me and regained confidence and focus for my race. I wasn’t expecting it to be a huge race. Having Kate Grace as our pacer, and teammates Lauren Penney, Nichole Schappert and Ashley Higginson beside me on the starting line made it feel just like a practice. The gun went off and I positioned myself comfortably behind Kate and before I knew it we were over halfway done and she stepped off the track as I took the lead. Those last few laps, all I was thinking was, “just don’t slow down!” Then when I saw there were only 2 laps to go I almost didn’t believe my eyes. It wasn’t that I actually miscounted, I just felt so comfortable I couldn’t believe there were only 400m left. As I crossed the line in 4:26 I once again didn’t believe my eyes. I knew I was fit, but there’s nothing like the gratification of seeing all of your hard work pay off big time. All of the sudden things went from “falling apart” to “falling into place,” in just under 4-and-a-half minutes.
It’s funny how quickly your perspective can change in a matter of minutes or days. Just after my big PR in Boston I received the news that one of my high school cross country teammates had died after being hit by a car while simply walking across the street. I couldn’t believe it. Such a tragic reminder that life is short so you have to make the most of everyday. (James 4:14 “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”) As I returned to N.J. filled with confidence from my race, I was also stressed about issues that a few days ago seemed, “too big to tackle.” But as I thought about life and how short it really can be, I felt foolish for ever complaining, for ever telling myself, “I can’t” in the first place.
That’s when I started thinking about the verse Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you study this verse in context, you’ll find that Paul was teaching us that we can have confidence in Christ no matter what the situation. Confidence, not in our own power, or that we can do anything we want, but rather, confidence in Christ that we can always be content. Philippians 4:12 reads, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Confidence doesn’t come from always winning, having the most wealth or being perfect. No one is perfect, only God is perfect. When we put our confidence in him, then we (God+us) can do anything. This kind of confidence is faith.
A week after Boston I ran the Mile at the Millrose Games. Unfortunately, it didn’t go at all as planned. If there’s one place where the word “can’t” should be allowed, it’s in the age-old saying, “You can’t change the past.” That being said, life is short, and you CAN change your future. Now I’m looking ahead to this weekend’s USA Indoor Championships. I know where my confidence lies and I’m so thankful for another big racing opportunity. As always, I run for Christ #irun4Christ