Post image for Cam Viney, University of Illinois, Track and Field

Cam Viney, University of Illinois, Track and Field

by carmine on August 13, 2013




 

 

I was fortunate as a young child to have grown up in a Christian home. My mom was a single mother raising three kids. We went to church every Sunday and things were great at home until my siblings proceeded into middle school. We all became highly active in sports and Christ wasn’t a crucial part of our life any longer. I started doing the typical “Christian” things such as going to church and bible studies, listening to Christian music, and sustaining from things “Christians” shouldn’t be doing. As the years passed my siblings became devoured into the ways of the world and were far from God. We moved during my eighth grade year of middle school. That is when my siblings truly started to rebel. We had a step dad, one in which none of us got along with too well. My mom wasn’t happy in her marriage. They fought daily and weren’t acting like they loved each other. We had packed up our things multiple times throughout my high school career. My brother started devoting his life to drugs and alcohol and my sister became boy crazy. I knew that sort of life wasn’t for me and I didn’t want to disappoint my mother so I fled from that life and starting going to a great church. I had awesome friends that went to that church and we began disciplining each other.

 

  That is when my relationship with Christ truly began. I got saved when I was 10 during a group VBS that came to our apartment complex and I honestly knew all about God and lived a moralistic life, but I started following Christ whole heartedly during my freshman year of high school. All throughout high school I was following Christ and not really paying much attention to what was going on at home. One night my brother and step dad got into a gun fight and my brother ended up in jail and eventually got kicked out of our house to go live with my father. My sister didn’t care about her grades or my parents so she began to commit her life to boys and partying. My mother was so angry with the life she had and the way her children were acting that she began not caring about God or what he wanted for her life. My step dad wasn’t satisfied with his marriage so he turned to pills one time and began verbally abusing my mother daily. I was so angry with God but didn’t let any of it show on the outside. My brother went to move in with my dad but what my mom didn’t know is that my father wasn’t helping the case. He was dealing drugs and exposing my brother to a very unsatisfying life.

 

 My junior year the ministry YoungLife came to my town and it changed the way that I lived for Christ. The bible studies and the small group of men that met on Friday mornings before school for ManTown are what really made an impact on my walk with Christ. It was an awesome ministry where I could be myself and be real about my struggles with incredible brothers in Christ. All throughout my junior and senior year my relationship with Christ flourished and my fellowship with other Christians was incredible! I was excelling in football, basketball and track but the true accomplishments came from track. Senior year was amazing! I was Student Body President, Vice President of WV State Student Council and my relationship with God was growing. My sports life was incredible, I won many awards and I was honorably giving Him the glory for it all. I followed Christ so faithfully in high school, going on mission trips, being actively involved in YoungLife, and giving glory to Him through my accomplishments, but then freshman year came along. 

 

Illinois was a new state and community hundreds of miles away from home. I was so on fire for Christ when I first arrived but as the year ran on it started to decrease more and more. I didn’t have my incredible community of friends and I didn’t exactly jump into the main Christian groups on campus. I tried it out, being involved in Cru and even a little involved in YoungLife but then I started falling into the typical college routine. I was always around my teammates and surrounding myself with others who weren’t trying to glorify God in what they did. The life of a Division 1 athlete was slowly but surely getting the best of me. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I felt that I had nowhere else to turn. I didn’t feel that I was worthy enough to go to Cru or any other Christ following groups or organizations because I wasn’t following him with my all. I always chose to hang out with my teammates and the rest of the athletes at my school instead of hanging around and devoting my free time with strong Christian friends. I was strong for a little while, putting on that “I’m a Christian and I don’t do these sorts of things front,” but then the influences I was around started to dwell on me and I began to fall. On the outside it looked as if I had it all together and things were going great but truthfully it wasn’t. I drank and experienced sexual sin for the first time in my life. Although I only did both a few times I still wasn’t satisfied but I acted as if everything was grand.

 

Track was going phenomenally! It was my freshman year and Christ helped me to do far better things than what I could have ever possibly done on my own. He worked in crazy ways and I ended the season being the top freshman in the country for the 400H and going to the USA National Championships/World Trials and placing 12th. It wasn’t about the awards or accomplishments but I was so shocked and I wondered why Christ was blessing me with such success when I wasn’t giving Him my heart in everything that I was doing. Still then I wasn’t fulfilled with how I was living my life. I had stopped doing the dumb things I had done a few times and I was trying to fix my life on my own and be the good kid but I still wasn’t feeling fully satisfied because I was putting track and other parts of my life above Christ. I felt so convicted and stupid about the things that I had done. Truthfully I didn’t even want to proclaim Christ’s name because I knew that I would sound like such a hypocrite. I knew that wasn’t who the real Cam Viney was but I let the devil and his scheming ways get the best of me.

 

I came back home and was planning on taking an internship with a U.S. Senator but just a few weeks before my internship my friend asked me to go work Summer Staff at a YoungLife camp in VA with him. I was so excited for my internship but I felt that God was calling me to go serve high school kids for a month instead of taking this internship opportunity.  I agreed and God worked in me in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. I figured that he was going to show me a few things and maybe I’d learn a bit but he blew me away with his grace and mercy. He taught me the true meaning of not just being humble but being humble for Christ and genuinely giving Him all of the glory and honor for the many blessings that he’s bestowed upon me.  I was so upset and angry with myself for the past mistakes I had made and God freed me from that pain and regret and showered me with his grace and love.  I was in awe of my creator! He taught me how to serve and to faithfully serve others and that I’m not the one being served. I learned more about myself in that one month than I had in the last 19 years of my life. God knew I wasn’t satisfied so he filled me up with Him and his love. That experience was honestly indescribable. God had gotten at so many deep issues inside that I couldn’t do anything else but fall to my knees and praise Him.

 

My life has drastically been changed by the power of Christ. My parent’s marriage is improving. My mom is now following Christ and my step dad is being impacted by my mother, and his view on God is changing.  My brother is now following the Lord strong and in college, and my sister still falls into the unsatisfying ways of the world but I know that God is working in her. Everything isn’t perfect and easy but God is working in magnificent ways in my life. I’m by no means a saint but the God that I serve is and each day I try to die daily to myself and live fully for Him. 

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