Some Need Starter Blocks
I ran track for a short while in my youth. Like most things in my youth, I stopped out of fear. I stopped running track out of fear of making a mistake, fear of ridicule, fear because I was not good at it, and just plain fear. I started running track because both my parents did and they were good at it.
I chose to do the short sprints because that’s what my parents did. I came in last place more times than I can count (when I was picked to run). For short sprints, some choose to use what are called starting blocks (pictured above). The ready, set, go is the same whether a starting block is used or not. There is a process in using the blocks. You have to know what your positioning is to get the blocks set. In other words, what feels comfortable to you to get the right start. Then you have to know how to position your hands as well as your rear end. I know that last part seems funny but it’s true. You can’t be shy or fearful of having your rear up in the air but at the right level so you don’t lose balance. Neither of these made me comfortable so before the race even started I already lost. You have to focus only on your lane and the current race. If too much else is on your mind you can run into someone else’s lane (which is an automatic disqualification in short sprints) or you can lose your balance/footing which can cause you to lose the race.
I never thought to try anything else except the short sprints in track & field. My coaches did put me in the 800 run before but I was blinded by my anger of not being good enough in the short distances that I didn’t do well in that either.
I remember one day, long after I had quit track, we had to just run or walk the track during an entire gym class. My gym teacher was also one of the track coaches. I believe it was my junior year of high school. By this time, I had few friends and kept to myself a lot of the time. I actually ran the entire gym period. I didn’t get winded and actually did not want to stop. The teacher/coach approached me after and asked if I would consider coming back to track to do the long distance runs. I told him emphatically that I would not. He said it was a shame because I had a gift. I could’ve said yes but I didn’t believe him about me having a gift in that. Also, I had already set it in my mind that I was a failure at most things.
I rarely tried anything outside of my comfort zone in my youth and that has made for a difficult transition into adulthood. Yet, I am here sharing these experiences with you which (in the past) was outside of my comfort level. It is all because I allowed the Lord into my life.
Sometimes, we need a starter block to start our race. We have to know, through practice, what our positioning is to get the right start. We can’t be too high or too low otherwise our start may be off. Even if we have fear within us, we have to focus only on the race in front of us. We can’t look at others during our race or we may fall or cross over into a lane that is not for us to run in. Just because someone else is good in something does not mean that is what we are meant to do. God knows our comfort level. He nudges slightly to get us out of the box through our growth and our trust in Him. He starts small until eventually we are completely out of the bonds of this world and into His will and purposes for our lives.
Alicia R. Shipe
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