Worth. It has a lot of pull in the world: how much something costs, how much we’re willing to pay for it, or how much people value the time we put into things. It all adds up quite quickly. But, what we find troublesome is defining our own worth.
It all connects back to what we truly value. Whether is it defined by our scholastic accomplishments or by the network of friends we carry, there is always something that we pull our value or confidence from.
For a long time, I found my value in running. I started running cross country in middle school and found a knack for it almost instantly. I had grown up playing all kinds of sports, but always found myself to be considered average. For the first time, it felt good to be great at something and, ultimately, to win. But, little did I know at the age of thirteen that I was placing all of my worth in something fleeting.
By my junior year of high school, I was ranked in the top 5 in the state and received college letters to recruit me. This only encouraged my expanding confidence in running.
If people wanted me and were willing to recruit me, I found a new assurance that I was important and that was why other people found me important. I hadn’t had this kind of incoming praise before, and it felt good.
Throughout this time winning, it’s what kept me on a high for so long. I had a lot of success in high school that allowed me to have amazing opportunities. At the end of my senior year of high school, I knew college running was going to be difficult, but I figured as long as I worked hard my success would continue. I rolled into college also expecting that this worth in running would be enough to keep myself happy, but I was far from right.
When I got to college I realized that everyone else was just as fast, strong, and willing to work as I was, and usually they were better even as I was doing everything I could to run better. I hit my rock bottom towards the end of my freshman cross country season.
I had traveled with the team to our largest races, which gave me confidence that I was still valued. However, time and time again, I was not running well enough to find value in my performances. My body was breaking down from the high intensity of training right as championship season was upon us.
I found myself in my coach’s office a week before our conference championship bawling about how my confidence in myself had plummeted and how I felt as if I was failing everyone by ending my season then.
Confidence in worldly acts or things can only lead to heartbreak. I grew up in the Catholic Church and found myself counting the minutes until church ended instead of listening, interacting, and finding a relationship with God.
My heart changed as I went into college and started to attend my high school’s FCA with my sister. I saw my sister’s heart for God and her unending love and happiness that she spoke about through her relationship with Him. I began to take it more seriously and found that my heart was growing for Him and for all the people around me.
My faith had never been tested as it did when I enter college. I gave the glory to God in all my successes but shielded myself away from Him when I began to fail.
I found that my worth was indulged in running that it dictated all aspects of my life. I dug deeper into my faith and reintroduced myself to the love that God has for people. I came to realize that the unending love of God should be what grounds me and supports me throughout my life. I came to realize that the lyrics, “And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us,” were more than just words, but showed me how fleeting and temporary my worth was. I came to realize that God gave me a gift in running, but it was never supposed to dictate the worth of myself.
We, as people, were never meant to indulge in worldly aspects, and it is something that I have fallen victim to for much of my life. What I hope to express in my story is that placing your worth within this world will lead to constant struggle, placing your worth within the love of Christ is eternal.
I am proudly still on the cross country and track team and work at it every day.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7