Track and field sprinter, Lauryn Williams, talks about her spiritual journey to God.
The two main characteristics that best describe me are an appetite for KNOWLEDGE and my strong desire to GIVE. They are as much my strengths as my weakness.
“I often gave myself to the wrong things”
GIVING of myself is all I desire to do. My favorite scripture comes from Matthew 6:1-4 which talks about giving without expectation of praise or something in return. It makes my heart feel good to GIVE to others, hopefully encouraging them to give as well. Although my zeal for giving is a good thing, it has not always been a positive trait in my life, as I often gave myself to the wrong things and the wrong people for much the wrong reasons.
My mom and dad split when I was three years old. Over the years, my dad expanded my siblings to five sisters and two brothers with various marriages and relationships. To his credit, he made certain we all were close.
“Somewhere along the way my father ‘found God’”
Somewhere along the way, my father “found God” and decided his children should too. Much to my dismay, he began to require family devotions and long drives to his boring church, among other things. As if that wasn't enough, my grandmother also kept us busy with things like memorizing the books of the Bible! It seemed there was no end to it all.
Since it was mandatory that I attend church, I started looking for one located closer to home with shorter services. It was more out of rebellion to my dad’s regimen than the intention to pursue God. I needed to get enough “knowledge” of God on my own terms and declare my independence when it came to spiritual pursuits. That way I could excuse myself from attending Dad’s church. It worked! I became independently responsible for my own quest for God, but kept it neatly packaged for Sundays only.
“But I continued to compartmentalize my spiritual life”
KNOWLEDGE and education is what brought me to the University of Miami (UM) on a track scholarship. Church was not easy to get to, but I discovered the joint meeting of Athletes in Action and FCA on campus. It was fun so I never missed a meeting, but I continued to compartmentalize my spiritual life. I rationalized my knowledge of right from wrong and chose wrong over right with frequency.
“I began to question the duplicity of my lifestyle”
Years later, shortly after my father had passed, I had a wakeup call. I was a professional runner and all the drama that plagued my life had me so constantly filled with guilt that I began to question the duplicity of my lifestyle.
Because I still trained at UM, I would occasionally bump into the AIA chaplain’s wife. She invited me to join her and a small group of professional women for Bible study. I welcomed the opportunity to join anything that could ease my heavy heart. Joining up with these “seasoned” women who are committed to walking with God has taken me to another level in my faith.
“Now, it is no longer a chore—but my desire—to pursue God”
Now I seize any opportunity to help myself grow in my KNOWLEDGE of GOD. Recent events include AIA’s Ultimate Training Camp and the Impact conference. I no longer put limits on God in my life. I want to make choices that stay well away from that slippery slide that creates constant drama. Believe me, I am still in process! But I am not afraid to say that I know the Lord is the head of my life and I must continue to pursue Him in order to gain KNOWLEDGE and to GIVE myself to doing what is right.
Now, it is no longer a chore—but my desire—to pursue God. As a result, I am learning so much more about myself. God is presently setting me free from my low self-confidence...and to admit this to you at the age of 27, reveals the new confidence God is giving me to be real with you.