I used to hate hurdles at school.
I could never seem to get myself over all of them. I can’t tell you the number of times I hobbled back to the P.E. changing rooms with blood dripping down my knees.
Hurdles frustrated me because I just couldn’t understand why everyone else could glide over them like elegant deer leaping beside me and I was like a big clumsy elephant bashing most of them over. I used to watch them all leaping ahead while I stumbled and limped. To be honest, most of the time I just sat on the floor and gave up on the race.
What was more annoying was the fact that I was one of the tallest in my year, these long legs of mine weren’t playing their part! How could all the shorter girls get over them but I couldn’t?!
I never mastered the hurdles but I discovered that my legs did do me proud on the high jump… well done legs.
Obstacles in life
Sometimes we come up against difficult obstacles in our lives; difficult, upsetting or frustrating situations which we find it hard to get over or get around. Sometimes we find ourselves tripping over, bloodied and bruised. We can look up and see others leaping along, with smiles on their faces, like elegant deer. How can they get it right, but I can’t? Why is it so hard for me? When will I be able to leap and smile?
When we sit on the floor and watch others around us living and leaping along it can be so discouraging. We sit there looking up, comparing ourselves. Whatever the obstacle is in front of you the first challenge is to stand up and stop comparing yourself with the girl on your left or the girl on your right (or the girl on your screen).
Stop focusing on the hurdle
My teacher used to tell me ‘Stop looking at the hurdle but lift your eyes and look ahead’. Apparently when you’re always looking at the hurdle your head comes down and you become top heavy and can end up tripping. It seems that if we are up against obstacles, however difficult or painful, it’s important to lift our eyes up and look ahead rather than always focusing on the obstacle itself.
When I was struggling with the way that I look, I started to realise that these thoughts I had about myself weren’t healthy and were making me incredibly unhappy. The view I had of myself was my hurdle. I needed to get over it because I didn’t want these thoughts to interfere in my daily life anymore.
So I decided to do something about it… I told people I trusted about how I was feeling and asked for their help. I stopped reading all magazines because I was find their obsession with ‘perfection’ was weighing me down and I started reading what God says about me, about how I’m loved and cared for. I also made a decision to spend time with people who weren’t obsessed with image. Slowly but surely I stepped over a massive hurdle in my life.
I don’t know what the hurdles are in your life, there may be one or two, or perhaps there are hurdles in front of you for as far as your eyes can see. You may be tired from attempting to get over them but don’t sit down and give up on the race. You won’t always feel like you do today – sad, angry or frustrated… it won’t always be this way.
Take small steps towards each hurdle, eyes up, focused forward, don’t compare yourself to those on your left or those on your right but move at your own pace. Slowly you’ll be able to step gently over a hurdle and make progress. Ok, you might stumble, yes you might have to limp along but your bloodied knees will heal. As you move forward remember to look out for those struggling and limping over their hurdles too, make an effort to always be a cheerleader for those who need a little encouragement in their race.