In 2018, Justin Gallegos, a junior at the University of Oregon, became “the first professional Nike athlete in history with cerebral palsy.” Gallegos wrote on Instagram, “I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put [one] foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good!”1 His “dream wasn’t just to run, but to run fast. Despite his disability, he can do a seven-minute mile.” Justin’s father said, “Running really opened up doors to him. It gave him the opportunity to be on a team, to have friends, to be part of something.”2
Fear can stop us in our tracks, even stop us from fulfilling a call God extends to us. Both change and opportunity are inevitable in life. How we approach those changes and opportunities and overcome fear influence our attitude in the process.
Gallegos not only conquered fear but also persevered in spite of the limitations of cerebral palsy to create opportunity. He set his sight on a goal others thought impossible and approached it with determination and a positive attitude. While many young people dream of becoming professional athletes, a Nike contract came to a young man who just dreamed of being part of a team. Like Rebekah, Gallegos challenges us to approach and even create opportunity with a joyful attitude, not allowing fear or limitations to get in our way.
- What inspires you from Justin Gallegos’s story?
- What attitude do you usually bring to change and opportunity in life? How does a joyful attitude affect change an opportunity in your life?
- How can your local faith community encourage young people with fears and limitations in the face of change and opportunity?
From “Cross Country Runner Becomes Nike’s 1st Professional Athlete With Cerebral Palsy,” by Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News (abcnews.go.com/GMA/Living/cross-country-runner-nikes-1st-professional-athlete-cerebral/story?id=58448773).
2From “First Runner With Cerebral Palsy Signed by Nike Says He’s “Still in Shock,’ ” by Carter Evans, CBS News (cbsnews.com/news/justin-gallego-first-runner-with-cerebral-palsy-signed-by-nike-says-hes-still-in-shock/).