New Identity- Running With Giants!

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This week has been nothing short of hectic, busy, tiring and a little overwhelming to say the least.

I’m at a cross roads of sorts and at a moment of pivotal change with big decisions very soon.

I’m still healing a running injury that has put me out for almost a month now and I have often felt a little lost and anxious the past few months.

I went to Highlands Church this morning, a church I regularly attend now while I’m living in Birmingham. Those of you that know me, know that my home church is 12Stone<3 in Georgia where my family lives.

Today, Pastor Chris started the second message of a new series- “Running With The Giants”; which I am SO EXCITED ABOUT!

He referred to the greats we will be talking about as, “Bible Hall of Famers”.

Today, we discussed Jacob and your identity and letting God take control of your life.

This really spoke to me as I have once again, been trying to do my own thing and really spreading myself thin in everything I’m doing and planing on doing..

It’s not like I’m doing anything unhealthy or “bad”, I just have dreams and goals and I haven’t taken the time to really offer those things to God and seek his wisdom until recently this past week.

Mother Theresa said, “You will never know God is all you need until He is all you have” -PC

For me, hearing today’s message from PC really hit home with me because I know that’s exactly where I am at right now. I know I need to let God totally take what I’m doing and give me strength because I can’t do it by myself.

PC mentioned that sometimes God will allow “crisis” in your life at times to get your attention, whatever that may be. HE said sometimes that can be physical.

Well, up until my injury I was working so hard at work and training myself into the ground and honestly something was missing and I wasn’t happy.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man
-Genesis 32

Sometimes, it takes something a little drastic to get our attention for us to snap out of it!!

Since I’ve been injured, I have done a lot of reflecting and I felt like this morning was clarity for me and the final confirmation to submit my running, my current and future job endeavors, my relationships and myself as an “offering” to God.

Not that I wasn’t trying that before, I just wasn’t fully.

In Genesis 32, God gives Jacob a new “identity”. When we choose to follow Christ, we receive a new identity too. It’s our choice whether we decide to live in that daily.

7 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
-Genesis 32
Let me say this- because you are a Christian, you’re not instantly perfect, you’re not better than anyone, and you’re not going to have a perfect life without hardships.
BUT, you can have joy and love in the midst of chaos and pain as PC said it well today.

Someone who I used to be close to, who I sacrificed much of my own faith to please and make happy said something to me that I chose to believe for a while, it was a lie-

It was something along the lines of, “you’ve already sinned and messed up. What’s the point of even trying?”

Basically, this person planted a seed in my mind that I believed to be true, something many of us fall for a lot.

And that is the lie that it doesn’t matter what you do, if you do “bad” things or things not pleasing to God because you’ve already done one. What’s two more??

It’s your Heart.

When you try to do it your way, it’s never as good or fulfilling as God’s way. Trust me.

I was conflicted for a while with that thought lingering in the back of my mind and I was trying to please myself with making all of these plans for myself I wanted to do.

Then, I was trying to please others. I love doing that, but not at the expense of my faith or focus on God. That’s extremely difficult. Even when some people really do have “your best interest”, we’re human and we’re imperfect.

But, I’m telling you, don’t stop the race just because you tripped and fell!

One race I had during my sophomore Cross Country season, I was still at KSU and we were in Tennessee for a short 4k race I think, (or 2 mile). The Gun went off and within 100 meters out of the box, a girl spiked me in the calf and knocked off my right shoe.

I knew I had to finish the race with only one shoe, on uneven terrain with the chance of twisting an ankle, someone spiking me again or getting seriously hurt.

I dug in and gave it all I had and I finished second place overall, steps right behind first place.

Don’t let people, or circumstances in your life distract you with a lie that you can’t finish your race or that because you aren’t perfect it’s not worth it.

“Running With The Giants” means exactly this- letting go of yourself completely and fully trusting God with what he’s set out for you.

This week, after the dust cleared and I finally had thinking time to myself, I realized that’s what God’s been whispering to me the past few months.

In my running- healing my injury, trusting him with my future running career

In my relationships- letting Him be the center, letting go of things that lead me away from that

In my career- letting him direct me in the way that I can be a light & serve others with my gifts.

An article I read this week about one of my favorite pro Golfers, (following the Masters Week naturally) said it best about Bubba Watson-

“Watson doesn’t claim to be a perfect Christian. In a recent interview, the two-time Masters Tournament winner admitted to many shortcomings and personal failures throughout his life and career. Watson shared that many of his life’s deepest struggles are what caused him to turn to Christ.”

Maybe as an athlete myself I look up to such pros like Bubba who show us that it’s not about being perfect but a willingness to have a real relationship with God and seek him with your whole heart everyday; despite our short comings.

Like Bubba and many of you I’ve made some stupid mistakes. I’ve believed the lie that it doesn’t matter how we live or what we do as long as we’re “happy”.

Let go of that immediately. RUN from it. Drop it. FLEE.

That’s what I’m doing now. You’ll get to the point where, enough is enough and you just don’t have the strength on your own.

You don’t have to be perfect to follow God, you just have to focus your heart on him and ask him to be there. You’ll start to notice he’s been there all along, even when you’re “alone”.

I’m super excited for the weeks and months to come as I start “Running” with the Giants in my life too. And also actually running again as my tendon slowly heals!

I feel so relieved and joyful just typing this and knowing whatever God has planned for me is going to be Great! (And I can’t wait until we talk about Jonah!! There’s a cool story with that part of my testimony. He’s one of my favs besides David.)

If you need a song that could describe this message I would recommend- “Arms Open Wide” By Hillsong<3