We never went to church when I was younger, and I asked my mother once why. She said Sundays were for rest and she wanted me to have my own opportunity to make the decision to be a Christ-follower if I wanted to.
Between my sophomore and junior years of college, I was having relationship problems with a boyfriend when a friend reached out to me. She was there to help me and told me what it meant to become a follower of Christ. I started going to a couple of Bible studies and found a church where I felt like I was with family. I found a great purpose for my life and started doing things for the Lord and not for man.
At Nebraska, we had FCA meetings every week, and I felt like that brought the sports teams together. I was able to meet people in other sports who felt the same about Christ as I did. It was like a team within the teams. That, plus reading the Bible, talking to friends about what they’re reading, and praying daily have helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ.
I feel like I have more of a purpose out there on the track than someone who’s out there for money or because they love the sport. I am out there competing and giving all my God-given talents for Him.
My faith has helped me with trials like a knee injury I had a few years ago. I would get down during rehab when I couldn’t do something the trainer asked me to do because my knee was weak, and I would break down. He would talk to me and that would help for the moment, but at the end of the day, I needed more to lean on. Talking to God gave me more peace about it. He would remind me, “This is the plan I’ve put you on, keep trusting it and you’ll end up doing great one day.”
During the Olympic Trials, God helped me through the last race when I was so nervous. I needed to run under a 2:20 to make the team, and toward the beginning 200 I thought we were coming in way too slow, and I had fallen to the back of the pack. When we got around the curve with 300 left to go, I suddenly got an image of Jesus running next to me for a split second, and I realized that if I wanted to be an Olympian, I had to go right now! I heard the crowd yelling for me, and I ran that race with all my heart. I put it all out there, and I was happy with that.
Being a follower of Christ takes a lot of weight off my shoulders because I don’t worry anymore; I know everything happens for a reason. Faith helps me through all aspects of my life. It’s fun to motivate my friends through my faith, too, showing them things that have helped me.
—Chantae McMillan, USA Heptathlon competitor