Australian athlete Sally Pearson recently won the 100 metres hurdles at the World Championships.

In the final, Sally ran the fourth fastest time in history with a phenomenal effort that saw her take victory in convincing fashion.

Hurdling is a gruelling event, with athletes sprinting at full pace before having to launch themselves over an obstacle, trying to maintain balance and form so that they can repeat the process in quick succession and cross the finish line first.

In life, we are often confronted with hurdles.

There are a wide variety of obstacles that get in our way and test our resolve.  They can range in gravity from a simple traffic jam to a marriage conflict, challenging work situation or serious health issue.

How we look at these obstructions will significantly impact our capacity to achieve our full potential in life.

So why do we have hurdles?

Hurdles are not to be avoided.  Just imagine if Sally or any other competitors decided to just run around the hurdles on the track.  There would be an outcry.  Accusations of cheating and trying to take the soft option would come from every corner.

Some people try to live an easy life, avoiding difficulty every chance they get and aiming for a comfortable existence.  I’m sorry, but that’s not how life is meant to be lived.  No-one was ever successful by avoiding the challenges that came across their path.

Hurdles are not meant to stop us.  Imagine if a hurdler came to the first obstacle and thought that it was too hard.  They just shrugged their shoulders and walked off the track without even trying to overcome it.  They would be pilloried for giving up.  Commentators would criticise them for having no heart and they would forever be remembered for stopping.

Ever give up at the first hurdle that life placed in our path?

Ever had a single argument with someone and then just decided to write off that relationship?

Ever missed out on a job application and then decided to give up on working in that industry?

Ever prayed and not felt as though God answered?

I want to encourage you today to keep trying.  To not let the inevitable obstacles that are placed in our way stop you from achieving your dreams in life.

Hurdles are not designed to trip us up.  There are few more dramatic images in athletics than a hurdler in full flight clipping their foot on one of the obstacles, sending them sprawling to the track.  However, that’s not the intention of the hurdle, it’s merely a side-effect sometimes.

Sometimes, we look at some of the obstacles that have been placed in our path with suspicion.  We see them as some sort of conspiratorial blockade that’s designed to send us sprawling.  However, whilst there may be people in our lives who would like to see us stumble, I suspect that the majority of life’s challenges are simply a part of life, not a personal vendetta placed for the amusement of others.  If we spend too much time trying to find out who put the hurdle in our way and what their motivation was, we will have less focus and energy for running the actual race.

Hurdles are there for us to jump over.  Champion hurdlers don’t run around their obstacles, give up when they get to them or look around to see who placed them there, they run and they jump.  They focus on their own performance and put into place all that they’ve practiced in training to run their race to the best of their abilities.

So it is with us.

When obstacles are placed in our way, we are required to do our best to leap over them.

By jumping over the smaller hurdles that are placed in our path today, we are better equipped to deal with the larger problems that will come across our path tomorrow.

It may be that there’s an obstacle in life that looks too big for you right now.  Instead of giving up, let me encourage you to keep trying.  To build your level of resilience, to keep training and to have another go at it.

On this side of your hurdles is unfulfilled potential.

On the other side is the finish line, even bigger challenges and success.

What are the hurdles that you’re facing at the moment and what are you going to do to ensure that you’re able to jump over them?

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