growing & stretching.
[if you look really hard, you'll figure out that this header photo is the same Santa Monica pier from THIS BLOG post back in September...just in December...so neat visiting this place again in the same year :)]
Happy almost last day of January!!! Where has the month gone? Wow. [and yes, if you're asking, I'm doing this instead of homework...but that'll get done tonight regardless].
The last few weeks have been spent (not 24/7...) thinking a lot about what will happen come three or four weeks from now. You might ask, "Hey Katie, what's in 3 or 4 weeks from now?" Well, let me tell you.
It'll be the end of my track career. It feels pretty weird to say that, but I'm filled with emotions ranging from "NONONONO I don't want this to end" to "PLEASE GOD let it be over". I don't often write about track, because I like to think of it as something that I do in the background. By all means, I value it greatly, I just like to think of it as a secret weapon. As in, "What, she likes to run?!" Yeah! Maybe I do it because it just makes me feel good (act that way about it). Only God knows.
Nonetheless, it's been a constant in my mind, and while something that's been part of my life for 15 years, I'm so excited for what comes next. I have these three or four weeks, then anticipate God providing in a crazy awesome way.
I often return from practice and ask myself, "What was the point of that?" If I'm not the best runner, the top jumper, still don't know how to hurdle properly (10 year-old Katie probably looked better), what value is there in even doing it still? When a real career lies ahead, demands on my time start taking away training time, I can't help but think, "What happens when we're done?" and "Was it even worth it?" The answer in short, is always yes.
If I'm being honest, I like donuts way too much to even consider trying to be an Olympic athlete. It also seems kind of boring to me...training for something like 8 hours a day is A LOT OF TIME SWEATING. Not that I don't like sweating, but do you catch what I'm saying? I'm also not saying I don't want to put in the work...I just think there's a new season where God is ready to use me to reach other people in another area of life. And who knows, maybe I'm not done with it after all.
In this time thinking (which is often a dangerous thing), I've learned a thing or two that I'd love to share with you.
When I talk about "not being the best" or "I don't know how to hurdle", I say those things with humour and laugh when I say them out loud to myself. I don't mean it to be degrading whatsoever, but I believe doing this sport for 15 years has revealed to me what my place is on this team. Essentially, I know now what I bring to the table.
I'm currently in a relational communication class (IT'S THE BEST! MCOM 371 if you're at TWU) and the book we're reading (conveniently written by my prof) talks about the act of saying "no" to people. While I don't mean to start talking about that conversation, I do mean to take the approach that my prof says:
"Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion...[we say] no without guilt, so that [we] may say yes to things that energize [us]..[we] figure out what is important to [us] and avoid accepting projects that aren't."
In my mind, this completely translates to what you bring to the table. You have self control with saying yes or no, to people, to situations, to team events, to leading the team during practice, to encouraging a friend. You can either take something on because you know it gives you life OR you can say no because you know that's something toxic. Ain't nobody got time for that. Essentially, you can commit out of a place of knowing who you are and where you stand with God, but also your teammates, coach, family and friends and of course the future.
So while I may not be the greatest hurdler or the top multi-event athlete, I am realistic and know what I bring to the table. These abilities do NOT define my person in Christ, but they are still things that are helping me to grow and learn. I bring to the table leadership, I bring to the table encouragement and friendship. In my mind, growing in those things is FAR MORE important than winning conference finals. I get someone to encourage and learn with, and while sprinting around a track is fun and physically and mentally challenging, is only a fleeting moment. Do you get what I'm saying?
Today at the track, I walked away feeling defeated from hurdles. Like I've said now many times, they're just not my strong suit. I still take five steps in between each hurdle and there's still so much to learn. I often feel two or three (metaphorical) steps behind my fellow teammates and think "well if I can't hurdle, then am I even a multi-eventer?" The answer to that is yes, I am still a multi-eventer.
Driving away from the track, I thought to something I read last night. "His good is our bad". We live in a world where we walk away from situations and deem them either good or bad. Success or failure. Black or white. I did that with hurdles. While I had a bit of perspective about successfully getting over the first hurdle (which has been a struggle this entire season), I said something along the lines of "well I didn't do what I was supposed to do", and considered it a failed attempt.
God sees this and he sees GROWTH. He sees a process. He has ALL THE PERSPECTIVE that I don't. Rewind (a ways) to the Garden of Eden, and when Adam and Eve chose the fruit, they made it so our world was like that: one or the other. Good and evil. Success and failure. Now, I'm not blaming them, I'm just saying we're auto-programmed to think that way. God saw my hurdles today as a process. Even if I don't go on to hurdle any more after I'm done my season, he took that thirty minutes for His glory, He took it to show me determination and persistence and trust. That's irreplaceable.
Speaking of patience and perseverance, that's the last thing I want to speak to. While there are probably a bazillion other things track and running have taught me, nothing speaks to the heart of God like taking a child through a process of humility, patience and perseverance. My mentor from my first year once said to me that her process of humility with God went something like this, "God, if you make me great, make me humble". I LOVE THAT. God, if you want to make me great at something, or if someone even compliments my abilities, would I stand in humility and give you the honour because I quite literally couldn't do it without you breathing life into my limbs? GAH. That's just so unreal.
With patience and perseverance, I think to the start of this very month. On Jan 2 I was in Los Angeles at winter training camp, and I was rounding the 200m bend in some short speed work and I pulled my hamstring. It was one of the most painful things I've ever experienced in my life, and I fell to the track screaming and crying. I couldn't partake in the rest of camp and quickly learned techniques for taking care of a bummed hamstring.
If He is bringing me through this, then the purpose is to teach me to be patient through injury. To look after myself, to persevere and push through even though I have no idea what the end goal or game is. Or, if I don't want to (which happens probably every day). Why would I try and heal myself if I don't even have a shot of making it to nationals? Well, because He is asking me to. I honour Him through my injury, through my diligence, through the process. I'm better for it, He makes me stronger and builds a better reliance on His love and grace.
With that being said, it's not over till it's over, amiright? A few weeks left and we're going to give it everything we have, breathing into the ever present ALWAYS MORE Ephesians 3:20 verse and loving every minute because it's what He created me to do.
Thanks for journeying along this year! Can't wait to share more with you in the future.