Chanelle Price admits that enjoying a track meet from the stands while being sidelined with injuries is something she couldn’t have done in previous years.
The decorated runner and former 800 meter world champion attributes her shift in perspective to her spiritual growth through some of the toughest moments in her career. From dealing with personal loss and a potential career-abbreviating health scare to the grief of not being able to compete, her reliance on her faith in Christ and not defining her self-worth by her performance has made the task of working her way back into the starting blocks one that is strengthening her from the inside out.
As much as she loves cheering on her fellow runners and friends from the bleachers, Chanelle’s desire to use her athletic gift to glorify God is as strong as ever.
In our chat with the world class athlete, she discusses her dependence on the Lord, what she’s learned from her time off the track, and how she’s encouraging others on her way back to the starting line.
AIA: What has God revealed to you in your recovery time that sticks out to you?
CP: I think he’s saying, “Am I enough? If you never run another day in your life, are you going to be ok?” I think I needed to get to a point where I could honestly say, “Yes God, You are enough.” If track is gone, I’ll still be ok. I’m thankful ‘cause I’m at that point now. He really wants to be number one in my life because for so long track was number one.
AIA: In those times when the enemy wants to get in your head, how do you keep yourself encouraged when you feel pulled back into a dark place?
CP: When I feel attacked, I just have to slow down and take a deep breath. If it’s a scripture that I have to say to myself over and over again, or a song that I have to turn on, if it’s a message on Youtube that I need to Google and watch, if it’s someone I need to call, it’s just turning back to God in whatever way I need at that moment.
Whatever attack it is, I usually have my different weapons I turn to. It’s just being equipped because Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but if you have your weapons, then you’re good.
AIA: What’s something you’ve learned from recovering from injury that you think you couldn’t have learned any other way?
CP: I don’t think I would have learned how to find joy and peace in the midst of struggle any other way. It’s been one struggle after the other and you can’t really learn how to find joy in the midst of struggle unless you have struggle, right?
I’m only 27 and have years to live — hopefully— and there’s going to be times when life happens. To be able to look at God instead of my circumstances, that is something that I feel like I’m truly learning.
Like, Lord, I don’t really like what I’m going through, but I trust you. Lord, I don’t know when things are going to get better, but I trust you. I don’t understand, but I trust you. To me, that’s what faith is. Lord, I don’t get what you’re doing, but I trust you. And I wouldn’t have been able to get to that point in my faith without these injuries and setbacks.
AIA: Have you had friends to go through similar points of struggle? What type of encouragement would you impart to friends?
CP: It’s OK to get upset and to get angry, frustrated and disappointed. We’re human we’re going to feel those emotions. It’s just not OK to stay there. Don’t stay there. And so friends will say ‘Well, how do I being myself out of those emotions?’ It goes back to those things I named before.
Whatever you need, whether it’s encouragement from a friend to pull you out of that whole, whether it’s gospel music or it’s a certain sermon you need to turn on or if it’s scripture or prayer. Those are the ways you pull yourself out.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s a process.