When I was 9 years old, I started competing in track & field doing the long jump, high jump, and sprints. Because of my small physique, however, I was often initially overlooked as a challenging competitor, which normally worked in my favor in beating my opponents. By the time I reached high school, I was doing well in these events, and was one of the top scorers on my team.
One day at practice during my freshman year, I saw one of my teammates doing the high hurdles and I told my coach I wanted to try it. After a few practices, my coach gave me permission to compete in the hurdles in our next competition. When I got home from practice that night, I told my parents that I was going to be a hurdler, and that I would be competing in them in my next track meet. My parents did not approve. Besides telling me it was dangerous, they reminded me that the average female high hurdler was 5â€™7â€ť and I was only 5â€™3â€ť - it was absolutely impossible. Nevertheless, believing that this is what God gifted me to do, I continued to prepare myself to compete in the high hurdles in my next track meet.
The day of the meet, I was nervous. As I was walking to the starting line, my coach and some of my teammates gave me some last minute advice and encouragement. As expected, the other hurdlers competing were taller than me. Some of them smirked and shook their heads, but it didnâ€™t bother me. I was use to it. The starting official arrived and gave the command for us to take our marks. I got in my starting blocks, took a deep breath, and ran my race. I think I hit every hurdle within those 100 meters. When I was coming over the last hurdle, my foot hit the hurdle so hard that it caused me to flip in the air and skid on the track. Needless to say, I came in last place.
As I laid there bleeding on the track, my coach came over and comforted me, and asked me if I still believed that I could be a hurdler. I told him with tears in my eyes, â€śyes,â€ť in which he replied that he would train me to be one. By the time I graduated high school, I broke the school record, tied the state record, became a national semi-finalist, and broke the 20-year-old conference record, a record many believed could never be broken since 20 years prior from when I broke it, the womenâ€™s high hurdles were 3â€ť shorter.
Today, over 15 years later, I still hold these records. I ended up receiving a track scholarship to go to college, which relieved me of that heavy financial burden. I believe that one of the reasons that God gifted me with the abilities to be a hurdler wasnâ€™t to prove others wrong, but to increase my faith in Him.
Because of Godâ€™s sovereignty, we can be and do everything He tells us, regardless of any of our visible shortcomings. Satan knows this. So, if he can get us to question and doubt our identity in Christ and the things God promised us, he knows he will defeat us. Satan tried this tactic on Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He tried to get Jesus to doubt that he was the Son of God. He came to Jesus in the wilderness and said,
If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. (Matthew 4:3)
If you are the Son of Godâ€¦throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Matthew 4:6)
Jesus recognized that Satan was pulling scripture out of context to get Him to doubt His identity. He rebuked Satan with the correct scriptures each time, and eventually Satan left Him alone.
Another biblical example can be found in the popular story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Goliath, a giant from the Philistine camp who was over 9 feet tall, marched out against the army of Israel, and basically told them, who are you to fight me, a Philistine. Youâ€™re nothing more than the servants of Saul (1 Samuel 17:8-10). The Israelites believed what Goliath, a man, was telling them and became frightened and dismayed. They forgot their identity, that they were the army of the living God. Because of this, they lived in terror and fear of Goliath for 40 days. There was another man, however, who knew his identity and whom he belonged to. His name was David. David was the youngest in his family. He was a shepherd who, based on the book of Psalms, liked to write poetry. One day while bringing food to his three oldest brothers who were fighting in Saulâ€™s army against the Philistines, he overheard Goliathâ€™s defiling words and his immediate response, unlike Saulâ€™s army, was,
â€śWho is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?â€ť (1 Samuel 17:26).
To David, it didnâ€™t matter how big Goliath was because he knew his God was bigger, and that through Him he could defeat Goliath. Against all the odds of being scolded by his oldest brother for even being on the battlefield, and being told by Saul that he would be defeated because he was just a boy, David kept his faith in God. He went out on the battlefield to meet Goliath and told him,
â€śYou come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and Iâ€™ll strike you down and cut off your headâ€ť (1 Samuel 17:45-46).
David successfully defeated Goliath because he had faith in what God told him and all of Israel, that they were His people and the army of the living God. David knew and believed his identity. The question is, do you believe yours? As Christians, we are Godâ€™s people, able to do great things because of the God who lives inside of us. There is no obstacle or giant in your life that can stop you from doing what God has told you because He is sovereign. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 18:14, â€śIn everything he [David] did he had great success, because the Lord was with himâ€ť.
I hope my story and Davidâ€™s story will inspire and give you the faith to pursue, or continue to pursue, those big God-given dreams that the Lord has already gifted and prepared for you to achieve for His glory.