The greatest lesson I learned from running came from having my running dreams crushed.
During my junior year of high school, I became a team captain of the school’s cross country team and was determined to lead the team to greater heights. My biggest goal was to run in the state meet in both cross country and track. For me, running wasn’t just a hobby—it was life! And it not only brought me great satisfaction, it taught me great life lessons. Little did I know, however, that the greatest lesson would come from having my running dreams crushed.
It was the weekend before the state cross country meet of my senior year. I was on top of the world that season and well on my way to reaching my dreams.
Then my sister and I got in a car accident. There wasn’t any noticeable damage on either vehicle, so we just let it go and completely forgot about it.
But as I warmed up for the state meet a few days later, I felt a strange pain in my legs. I tried to shake it off, but when I ran my race, I finished a humiliating minute and a half slower than what I’d anticipated.
I went to a doctor and learned that my hip and several places on my spine had been misaligned. After two months of physical therapy, I thought I’d made a full recovery, but then the shin splints started. As the track season proceeded, they became worse and worse, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t beat my personal records from the previous years. I felt like a failure to myself and my team.
During one particularly difficult week, I was in church and turned to the scriptures for answers. I came across the words of the Savior to Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail and felt as though the Lord was speaking to me:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7–8).
I didn’t fully recover that year, but those words carried me and I came to discover that some of the greatest blessings of perseverance don’t come from trophies or ribbons. I gained new respect from my teammates and coach. We built even closer relationships. The Lord blessed me with a stronger testimony of the blessings that come from trials, and I have been able to share that testimony with others.
God has a plan for each of us, and I know that if we persevere through whatever life throws our way, we will find a greater store of blessings than we ever previously imagined.
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