“I started running faster and faster”
In high school, I ran a lot of laps around the track. For me running was—and still is—a proving ground for Christian Science. I have experienced many healings while running and competing.
During the spring of my senior year, my coaches decided to enter me in three events for the state qualifying meet: the 800-meter, the 1600-meter, and the 4-x-800-meter relay. While I’d had plenty of practice running the relay and the 1600, this meet would mark only my third or fourth time competing in the open 800-meter run.
I attended a high school for Christian Scientists, and one of the ways our coaches supported us was by drawing upon some of the foundational ideas of Christian Science as they related to running. For example, God is infinite, and we are individual expressions of God. So our team would often talk about how it was actually natural for each of us to express qualities of God—such as infinite energy, endurance, poise, grace, strength, and so on—rather than to be limited by personal abilities. Our coaches made these ideas practical by sharing stories of former runners who overcame limitations through their understanding of God.
As it turned out, I was able to qualify for the state championship in all three races. The state meet was scheduled in such a way that the 1600-meter and the 800-meter races took place within an hour of each other. The 1600-meter race happened first, and I ran very well—well enough to win. But I didn’t have a lot of time to recover before running the 800.
Throughout my years of running, I have turned frequently to a passage from the Bible that says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ). No matter how many times I’ve prayed with it, this verse has always provided fresh inspiration, and that day was no different. Despite my limited rest between races, I knew that I could rely on God for my strength. This verse isn’t just a nice idea; it is a divine law that I had seen in operation many times.
I was able to qualify for the state championship in all three races.
Halfway through the 800-meter race, I found myself in first place. But with one lap to go, I quickly ran out of steam. During the next 250 meters, I went from first place to ninth, and I felt exhausted. There were certainly human reasons why I felt so tired, but I knew I had to turn my thoughts away from those and toward God, my infinite source. With a little more than 100 meters to go, this message came to me loud and clear: “God didn’t bring you here to be mediocre.”
I’d always loved the idea that God, infinite good, must be expressed in excellence—limitlessness and freedom. And with that fresh inspiration, I started running faster and faster. I wasn’t focused on beating any of the other runners; the front runners were 30 to 40 meters ahead. I just wanted to express God—and I knew that I could.
I wasn’t focused on beating any of the other runners. I just wanted to express God—and I knew that I could.
A few meters before the finish line, I passed the first-place runner and ended up winning the race. I got down on my knees, thanked God, and said, “What cannot God do?” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 135 ).
That meet was one of the clearest examples I’ve ever had that our strength really is infinite because our source is infinite. And each one of us, as the expression of God, can demonstrate excellence, perfection, strength, poise, and persistence. We can’t help it; it’s who we truly are in every endeavor.