Something good about deep disappointment is that it makes me think A LOT. I’ve written about my training this year, and feeling more prepared and more fit than ever. I’ve written about the bumpy road but yet upward trajectory of this season. I've taken baby steps forward while leading toward the biggest competition of the year- the World Championships, and in the final weeks of preparation everything seemed to indicate the success I was searching for was imminent.
However, in Beijing at the World Championships I was eliminated in the first round of both the 1500m and the 5000m. When the results are very bad in the wake of that build up, it’s crushing and also really confusing.
I’m a logical person. I love logic… sometimes to my detriment. In the past looking at facts and numbers has held me back from dreaming and believing something great was possible. Learning how to recognize positive facts and focus on them has helped me become more hopeful, set bigger goals in my career and appreciate my accomplishments, but I am always searching for a logical progression. Improvement, building on the previous year, problem solving, learning, putting those lessons into practice… these are all concepts that resonate with me.
So as I reflect on the end of my season it is hard to make sense of anything. The confusion is unsettling and leaves me feeling powerless. The disappointment is like an empty hole inside me.
My first reaction is to give up and protect myself from further pain. (Which is what I am currently doing - temporarily - because my season is over.) My second reaction is to FIX IT!! As quickly as possible!!! Keep fighting! (This, I have been doing all season.) Keep training! Work harder! Eventually it will all pay off and everything will fall into place!
The problem is…. that didn’t happen. Everything did not pay off, and everything did not fall into place. Everything actually slipped through my fingers. Of course there is next year, and I still believe that I can improve and achieve the breakthrough I’ve been working for. I would not continue for another year without that hope. But the logical girl in me knows that it is possible to have another year like this one. One year of disappointment doesn’t necessarily mean that the next year will be better.
Since there are no guarantees, and no amount of hard work and dedication will assure me of the success I’m so desperate for, then what is there to do? I still want to fix this and fill this hole of emptiness in my heart.
So I am running to the One who knows it all. While I see a tiny dot, God sees the whole picture. Thinking about His complete perspective makes me thankful that I’m actually not the one in control. I don’t expect to figure this out and don’t demand answers, but I believe there MUST be a purpose for this season and every high and low in my life. Maybe I needed to reach the end of my rope to realize in a new, fresh, and painful way what I knew all along: The Lord is my only option. There are literally no other options.
If and when I achieve my athletic goals, I will be happy, and feel a sense of control because of what I accomplished. I will always desire the thrill of victory, and the satisfaction of proving to the world what I’m capable of and what I’ve worked for. But I have already experienced many highs and many more lows. I have to face the fact that success will never fill me up. The feeling is hard to catch and always gets away.
Today training resumes. (Not for running though- I still have a least a couple weeks of time off before I get back to that grind!) In the past year I trained my body and my mind harder than ever before. All of my focus was on training that would help me run faster and achieve athletic success. This next year I’m going to train my spirit more diligently than ever before. My goal is to become more faithful in prayer, more trusting in every situation, more confident of God’s goodness, more aware of His presence, more thankful for His control, and deeper in love with Jesus. The results aren’t tangible but they are guaranteed.