Today’s interview is of a young lady of virtue! She’s making huge moves through her faith, and displaying the power of God as a track player. As she shares how her relationship with God and the power of prayer help her continue to get better, I hope this interview sheds a light of the many different ways we can depend on God.
1. Tell me about the time you discovered you could use your faith in God to help you with track?
For as long as I can remember my faith in God has been a vital part of my ability to run and it is the reason why I have gotten as far I have in track. Each time I step on the track for a race or for practice I discover a new way to rely on God to be my strength. There is no limit in track, there is no one fastest time that one can reach and say this is the limit- this is the fastest anyone can run. I think in that there is a constant challenge and opportunity. To me it runs parallel with faith. I can always grow in my faith, there is not one point where I can sit down and say I have become as faithful as I can or that my relationship with Christ has reached its summit, so I use that to keep pushing and propelling me forward. I do know that all that I am and all that I have achieve is because of God’s grace and I want to continue to glorify the one that has given it all to me.
2. What ways have you seen your faith be successful in helping you run track?
My faith has helped me in many ways. One specific example that I can point out is my conference meet (Big Ten) when I raced in the open 400-meter dash. At my indoor conference meet I had run a good time in the prelim of the 400-meter dash and came in to the final as the top seed. In the race, I came out very hard and was leading the race. In the last 30 meters of the race was passed by some competitors and finished 5th . I had made it to the final the outdoor 400- meter dash and again I was the top seed in the final. I made it a point this time to keep all thoughts of placing, pressures, and competitors out of my mind and focus on God. I told myself no matter what happens all glory will go to the Lord and that God would be right beside me as I ran that race. This time around I was behind for the first 200 meters of the race. I remained focused and coming into the last 100 meters of the race I had a big push of energy and I came from behind and won the race. The time I ran at that meet qualified me for the U.S.A World Championship trials and the Nigerian World Championship trials. Those are opportunities that I had never dreamed of before. I believe all that we go through prepares us for what is to come and I could not have imagined all that has come from this season. I am very grateful!
Getty Images/ Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP
3. Has your faith impacted others on your team?
People have told me that my faith has encouraged them and I think if my faith can uplift and encourage someone that is one of the greatest things. Before races and meets and even before practices I let people know that I am available to pray because I know how it has manifested in my life and it really changes things. For me it is a blessing to be surrounded by faith filled teammates who I also know I can lean on. Community and support is important and I want to be there for others just as they have supported, encouraged and uplifted me.
4. Tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle in your sport through faith.
My sophomore year I went through a hamstring injury that kept me from running for most of my outdoor season. It was frustrating, I could not lift, I could not run and it was even difficult to walk around. I did not understand why I was experiencing this or what I was supposed to learn from this experience. This injury slowed me down but during this change of pace I had more time to focus on God’s word and in this time, I began to trust Gods plan and process more. We may not know how or when but God always finds a way to better our imagined best. In this time, I began to see how God’s intricate plan for our lives is so much greater than what we would plan for ourselves. I was able to provide more support to the people around me and when it was time to come back I was refreshed and looked at running in a new light. When I was able to run again that same season I ran with a new fight and fire. The 4×400 meter relay I was part of helped our team win the Big Ten outdoor championship title, to the glory of God.
5. What tips have you found to be successful for applying God’s strength when you might not have any?
Finding time to spend with God and incorporating that into your schedule so it does not fall low on your priority list is, to me, one of the most important things. God understands your situation and knows you better than you know yourself so it is important to pray for balance and organization. It is also important to “Do your best and leave the rest” My mother always tells me all you can do is your best and God will take care of the rest. I think in sport it can be easy to put unnecessary pressures on yourself- finding a way to let those pressures go and enjoying what you are doing can help. It is important to find a group or even just one person you can go to for prayer, support and to speak into you. Training can be hard, especially if you are trying to balance that with school, work or other activities so support is important. For me, it is also important to remember why I am running because if your why is strong it will push and propel you further.
6. What advice would you give to other young believers about being confident about their faith?
Seek ye first! Honestly, all else will follow and it will follow in the best way, a way that you may not even be able to imagine for yourself. I think many people may be afraid to speak out about their faith in fear of what people might say, or how they may perceive you but in my own experience the more I keep God at the top of my list and keep my focus on God the more I experience balance, peace, joy and strength to face challenges that come my way. If you do not know how to do that or if you do not know how to implement that in your life I would reach out to someone you trust to help you. Prayer is key and it is also important to remember it is a process. Success in anything is not a straight line but if you remain steadfast and keep getting up you will reach it.