I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to a girl’s high school cross country team.
Many would be shocked to hear that while I love running and that I would love to run fast, it is not my purpose in running.
With a group of young girls gathered on comfy couches, they stared wide-eyed and listened as I told them:
Your identity and value is not what you run.
As I spoke, told my story of how I started running, my journey to choosing APU, my cherished collegiate success and also mistakes, I told them I have learned some valuable things about running and training thus far.
Your value is not in what you run.
Running can’t be first. It should never be first.
I shared that my value is in Christ alone. When I have a wonderful performance and race, I have him to praise for giving me legs to run, a body to work hard, the opportunity to run fast. When it’s not my best day, I am still who I am in Christ. I am valuable. I am worth it. I am blessed.
I told them I hope to run in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. It’s a goal. It’s a challenge. But, it’s not who I am. My most cherished moments in college and learning experiences in college through running taught me that I am valuable in Christ…I work too hard sometimes…and the more I focus on Christ, the more I see His purpose and live out His plan.
My most cherished moments in college were the moments I heard God’s voice so clearly through my own mistakes, through growing and being in the Word. When He told me to slow down and to cherish relationships…I saw that He was pruning me.
I chose to major in Christian Ministry with a sports ministry concentration. While I enjoyed it, by the end of college, I was semi-wishing I had my concentration in intercultural ministry, to reach others in places like Nepal and India (where a part of my heart is).
But, here I am, doing sports ministry.
My purpose in running is to glorify Christ, to use any opportunity to share His love, His love for His children. And, as the group of girls sat in front of me, I thought…this is what I love to do: share Jesus’ heart for His people. This is one of the reasons why I run…to share God’s love with young runners…to tell them they are valuable in Christ…to tell them they were created for a greater purpose…to tell them they are loved.
And, I couldn’t finish without reading a beloved quote from Shauna Niequist:
Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is.
You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural.
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given Today.
So, dear readers,
You are loved.
You were created in the image of God.
You are valued and treasured and loved.