What’s holding you back from achieving your
dreams? What overwhelming obstacles do you
face? These stories of drive and
perseverance can inspire us to go on in spite of
Rudy was 23 and had a dream—a dream that his
family members tried to squash over and over
again. “You’re not smart enough.” “You just
have mediocre athletic skills.” His family
feared he would fail and get hurt. The only
person who encouraged him to reach for his dreams
was his best friend. When his best friend
was killed in an industrial accident, it was then
that *Rudy Ruettiger
went out to make his dream
come true, even against all odds.
Rudy’s dream was to play on the legendary Notre
Dame University football team. After three
rejections, and then final acceptance, this young
man of 5 foot 6, 165 pounds and fierce
determination was able to realize his dream.
Because of his determination, endurance and
perseverance, Rudy won the respect of his fellow
teammates, coaches and the student body.
Because of his size, he was still not allowed to
play (even though he became a part of the team)
until the last game of his senior year. In
that game his teammates began to chant “Rudy,
Rudy, Rudy!” Then the people in the stadium
also followed suit. With 27 seconds
remaining in the game, Rudy was allowed to play
his one and only time. Rudy made a major
play—he sacked the quarterback! Rudy was the
only player since 1975 who was carried off the
field on the shoulders of his fellow players.
On a hot July afternoon, a young 17-year-old girl
dove into a shallow lake, changing her life
forever. *Joni Eareckson Tada snapped her
neck, and was left as a quadriplegic.
Through determination not to give up, she learned
how to paint with a brush between her teeth.
Today she is an internationally known artist,
author, speaker and radio host. She founded
“Joni and Friends” to offer hope to hurting people
by sharing her own experiences. Above all,
she is an enthusiastic and highly effective
advocate for those with physical disabilities.
A problem of gigantic proportions
David was a young lad who was considered the least
of his brothers. When Samuel asked David’s father
to present to him his sons, they overlooked David.
When Samuel realized that none of these young men
had been chosen by God to be king, he asked if
there were another son. David—the youngest, the
overlooked son—was anointed king of ancient
David was not sinless, but he was a man of great
passions and was driven by great goals.
While still a young man, David, when it seemed all
odds were against to him, took a stand against the
giant Goliath. When everyone else was
afraid, David bravely took up his sling and stone
and killed the giant. If David had
retreated, had listened to his brothers and others
around him telling him that it was impossible to
go out and kill a giant with a sling, the course
of history could have been changed.
“What was I thinking?”
Recently I had the opportunity to do something
that I thought could never be possible for me.
I was asked by the students of the Ambassador
Bible Center here in Cincinnati to speak at their
Ask God to travel that difficult road with you and
help you reach your dreams. God can be your
When I was younger, I was so shy that I would not
speak to anyone. When I did, I would usually end
up stuttering, which would mortify me and I would
retreat even more. But I did not want to
give in to this. Or to give up! I
wanted to grow and be all that God wanted me to
be. My minister advised me to go around,
stick out my hand and say hello. It was very
hard at first, but became easier with time. Even
now, there are times I get nervous and the words
just don’t come out right.
So when I was asked to speak, I said yes, then
started wondering, “What was I thinking?”
But like Rudy, Joni and King David, I did not want
to give in to my fear. I prayed about the
speech a lot! I practiced a lot and I asked
others to pray for me about it. When I got
up to speak in front of a whole group of people,
to my surprise I did not stutter and was not
nervous. I had accomplished something in my
life that I thought I could never do. God
had indeed answered my prayer and was there with
me through that speech. That speech
demonstrated to me how far you can come with the
help of God and others if you don’t give up!
What’s holding you back?
What is your dream? What is it that holds
you back from being all that you can be? Is
it a handicap, your size, your speech, your
education? Is it criticism from others
telling you that you cannot do this or your own
self-image saying you cannot accomplish your
dreams? Here are some points that I believe
will help you to rise against all odds.
1. Seek God first. Philippians 4:13 says, “I
can do all things through Christ who strengthens
me.” Put God first in your life! Ask
Him to give you wisdom, courage, strength and a
James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and
without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Hebrews 13:6 emphasizes the help and strength God
provides: “So we may boldly say: ‘The
LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man
do to me?’”
The movie "Rudy" showed Rudy praying often, asking
for God’s help.
God wants us to have good things in this life.
In Ephesians 3:20 Paul describes God’s power to
help us: “Now to Him who is able to do
exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that works in us.”
Ask God to travel that difficult road with you and
help you reach your dreams. God can be your
We all need mentors to help us along the way.
We need people to give us advice, to encourage us.
2. Prepare. You have to prepare for your
dream. You have to be willing to work hard.
You have to struggle. You prepare through
education. You have to have goals.
Rudy had to acquire sound study habits through
hard work. He even had to get a tutor.
He had to bring up his grades so he could be
accepted to Notre Dame.
Knowledge comes from preparation. Reinforce
your dreams every day with positive information
from tapes, books and mentors. Each day you
will get closer to your dream through preparation.
3. Ask God to send people into your life who will
encourage you and help you along the way. In
the movie about his life, Rudy had people who
urged him on. Before he was accepted at
Notre Dame, he was accepted to a college across
the street. During that time he worked for a
groundskeeper at Notre Dame. The
groundskeeper encouraged Rudy often to not give up
Rudy is now a much-sought-after speech motivator.
If he had given in to people around him and not
searched for his dream, his life would have been
so different. He would not have realized his
We all need people—mentors—to help us along the
way. We need people to give us advice, to
encourage us. I, too, had people to help me,
like the minister who encouraged me out of my
shyness. We cannot travel the road to our
dreams by ourselves; we need help along the way.
4. Focus on your dream and never quit!
Consider Hebrews 12:12-13: “So take a new grip
with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky
legs. Mark out a straight path for your
feet. Then those who follow you, though they
are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but
will become strong” (New Living Translation).
Joni did not give up when she wanted to. She
had friends to encourage her to use what she had
to give to others—her heart. Today she inspires
many by her example and drive to not quit! Joni
went way beyond what most people thought she was
capable of doing and far beyond what she thought
she could accomplish.
One of my favorite poems that I have often gone
back to is “Don’t Quit!”
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit—
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night slipped
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!
When everyone else was afraid, David bravely took
up his sling and stone and killed the giant.
Rudy almost quit. After all those years of
struggles, right before his last game he almost
quit. All Rudy wanted was to run out with
his teammates through the tunnel so all his family
could see that he had achieved his dream! He
was there at Notre Dame with the football team!
But when the list was posted for the last game
with the names of the players to be in uniform,
Rudy was not on it. Rudy felt betrayed and
was about to quit.
While Rudy was staring out into an empty field,
his mentor, his friend, his encourager, the
groundskeeper, reminded him, “You can’t quit!”
If Rudy had quit, he would not have had those
seconds of fame. He would have lost his
dream. But he stayed with it, and not only
did his family see him play his one and only play
on the field, but they saw the admiration that
Rudy received from all his teammates.
Sometimes our lives can seem like they are against
all odds. And we just give up right before
Rudy, Joni and King David were all young people
who battled against great odds. All the odds
seemed against them, but they persevered on, they
sought God, they received help and encouragement
from others and they did not quit. You, too,
can go against whatever is holding you back and
reach your dreams. Ask God for help, ask
others for help, prepare for your dream and don’t
quit! You can beat the odds! And when
you beat the odds, you can be an inspiration to
others to do the same.
By Janet Treadway
Virtual Christian Magazine