We sat on the edge of our seats watching the Breeder’s Cup Classic 2012 Horse Race that aired November 3rd that year. As the horses were led into the gate, my breath caught in my throat, I wait. I hear the announcer shout, “And they’re off!” That phrase followed by so many words strung together, seems like there is no punctuation at all. (Who talks that fast?)
Fort Larned, with 9:1 odds, led right out of the gate all the way to the finish, beating Mucho Macho Man by a neck in an upset. Fort Larned led and won the race “from gate to wire!”
I learned from my mother, an avid horse fan, that you may have a favored, great horse, but if he gets boxed in right out of the gate, that horse most likely will not win, as it’s near to impossible to shift position and make it into the lead.
As fans, we witness in brief moments what has taken months and years in preparation. A whole staff of stable crew are responsible for training, grooming, exercising, feeding, and raising a horse to be a winner. Some have more potential than others, and some against great odds finish first. Fort Larned, positioned well, won unexpectedly.
I thought about the personal growth course I am participating in. I thought of how I have dreams of doing bigger things, fulfilling my purpose in life, and finishing well. I have felt like one of those who have the odds stacked against them at times. Small home town, struggle, trials of life, difficult circumstances and poor choices have landed me at the back, boxed in, unable to win. And I can let that be it. Or I can keep trying, keep praying for wisdom, and refuse to listen to fear, and run again. I can let my pain be what gets me moving to run differently this time. I can pursue excellence in my goals and keep improving my skills. I can try something new — without letting fear dictate to me the imagined outcome, and instead believing that God is no fool and that He is in me to do the things He has put in my heart to do.
We’ve heard or read it a thousand times, how Paul admonishes young Timothy to not only allow others to make fun of his inexperience, but to continue in the faith, pursue the race at hand, and see what God does through his one life. And of course there is Paul’s encouragement to the Hebrews in chapter 12 to keep running:
So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter.
I think of Fort Larned and breathe deep, remembering the smell of horses I grew up with at home. I was a cautious rider, never allowing the horse to run as fast as he wanted. I have lived cautiously – not allowing myself to stand and speak, or to try what I feared, or to get up from playing it safe. But in the last few years, I have sought out growth, taking classes, getting stronger, more whole. This journey towards wholeness and strength is never easy. But it is worth the effort – if only to take part in the race – even if we aren’t the winner. Success is not always winning. Success is doing well what you were created to do, at the right time, saying no to the fear and enduring the risk, all the while knowing you have God’s smile.
A young man once said, “I think God is just waiting for His kids to try something new so He can breathe on it.” Suspend the requirement of needing to know the “how.” Grab hold of “why not” and try. Your “why” is your motivator!
And so what if we get boxed in, make mistakes, fail? At least we are running! And what if we could lead? What if what we risked and attempted, even though it appeared to have failed, had an amazing impact anyway? Gate to wire! We’ll only know if we try.
**Fun Fact: The real Fort Larned was built in Kansas so that soldiers could protect settlers who were traveling on the Santa Fe Trail in the westward expansion. Pioneers. Those people pushed forward without “how” and embraced “why not.” And in today’s culture, a macho man is temporary at best, leaving a void for real men to fill who are willing to walk forward even when afraid. True trailblazers. That’s you!**
If you want more for your life, like I do, let’s move forward together. I understand and I can help – You are the hero of your story and I care whether you finish well or not. I have helped many like you, like me, and by empowering your life, you can soar! Contact me today – email@example.com. It’s going to more than OK!
Loads of Grace for the journey,
From the desk by the window where a crop of confidence is abundantly shared.
References are on the Happy Clients page. : )
(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, November 12, 2015