SHOP MY LOOK:
Many of you know I ran track in both high school and university. But running wasn’t something I was always passionate about. My older cousin who lived with us ran in high school, and she was the one who exposed me to the sport. I was always pretty athletic; I just loved sports, and I naturally thrived in them. As a young girl with an athletic build, people just assumed I was good at every athletic activity.
When I got to high school, I was exposed to so many more naturally athletic and gifted athletes. Many of these athletes were used to running on real tracks and competing at real meets while I was simply used to running after my cousins and friends in my apartment complex.
As life would have it, I quickly became a “bench warmer” on my track team. I could tell my track coach didn’t fancy me; I mean why would he, right? He didn’t see any real potential in me, and truth be told I didn’t see any real potential in me either. I thought a lot about quitting track after two years of running. My natural competitive spirit hated not thriving in that environment. It was not my usual experience and it made me so uncomfortable. But I’ve also never easily quit on anything in life so I continued to try my hand at track.
Well the most interesting thing happened my junior year (3rd year) of high school. My school hired a new coaching staff for the track team. These coaches were extremely dedicated to the success of the athletes both personally and corporately as a team. Workouts became more intense and difficult than the athletes were used to and many things began to take a shift.
Before the new coaching staff arrived, I was always categorized as a short sprinter- never competing in a race longer than 400 meters. I didn’t think I had the body build or capacity to run anything farther than 400 meters. But one day, my new coaches informed me that I would start training with the distant runners. They didn’t give me any reason why but just said I didn’t have a choice.
I was livid. Why on God’s green earth would a sprinter be training and competing as a distance athlete? Can I be honest with you? I hated my coaches for this decision. Not only did that mean longer runs during practices, but it also meant I couldn’t run with my closest girlfriends in the sprinting group.
How could my coaches betray me?
After a few dreadful months of this transition, my coaches decided to place me back in the sprinting group. As a result of my distance training a few things happened: 1. My body leaned out, 2. I grew stronger, and 3. I grew faster. By the end of the season, I became the fastest 400 meter runner on my team, and helped my team win city championships and also qualify for national championships.
what is the point, Christina?
At the time, I didn’t understand why I had to endure such discipline. I didn’t understand the goal and intentions my coaching staff had for me because they never gave their reasoning. But after enduring the discipline, I reaped the benefits and gained a new level of respect and love for them… And this is how our Father in Heaven operates.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12: 11 NIV
The Bible says the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son (Hebrews 12: 6 NIV). God always disciplines those He calls sons and daughters. And He does so to produce righteousness in us. He also does so to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Now obviously discipline doesn’t feel good, and usually we try to run away from those uncomfortable experiences meant to discipline us. Especially those experiences we have no clarity on.
Sometimes we pray and ask God to reveal to us why we must endure certain trials and tests. Sometimes, we conclude that if we could at least know what God is doing, we could better handle our trials. But God rarely reveals what He is doing in our lives. He only requires we trust Him in the midst.
If I knew what my coaches were doing with me, I would have had a better mindset and attitude in that season. At least that is how I reason when I think about that time period. But for whatever reason, my coaches did not find it necessary to disclose their plans to me. And oftentimes neither does God.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9 NIV
God’s thoughts and ways will not always make sense to us. Sometimes even after knowing why He has made a decision, we still don’t understand why He chose US. But maybe we’re not supposed to understand everything. Because if we understood everything He was doing then He would cease from being God.
One of the most challenging parts about having the right perspective during challenging seasons in our lives is watching others in less challenging ones. Sometimes we compare our experiences and stories with those of others and ask the question, why? I want to encourage you not to get obsessed with the why’s behind your situations. Be at peace in the reality that is God is in it, and working it out for your good.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28 KJV
This trial/ this test, is going to work out for your good. Don’t give in to self- pity. You’re not a pitiful person. You are a victor and more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Your story will change. It will bring glory to God. Don’t compare your story with anyone else’s. Don’t be an Israelite in the wilderness, complaining about everything you don’t understand. Trust God and believe that your discipline will end in producing righteousness in you.
In the end, I leave you with this:
LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE UNDERSTOOD, LIFE IS MEANT TO BE LIVED TO THE GLORY OF GOD! TRUST GOD!