Grace ambassador, Christian Taylor, speaks with world competitor, Erica Belvit, on how she stepped out of her own box of fear to experience God’s Grace, mercy, and love while living the life of an athlete and all the struggles imposed through the changes in life.
Starting out as a relay runner in high school, Belvit knew she needed a change in her track and field life before she got to college, so she explored other areas of track and field events until she found a spark light inside of her as she saw the hammer throwers. With the feeling of one in her hand, she realized that it was something she had a knack for, causing her to work harder and build her strength until she landed a college scholarship to Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, Belvit was tasked with finding herself within her relationship with God and her faith as she tackled being a student athlete as well as a Christian athlete.
“I was practically born and raised in a church. I was the kid who was either at home, at school, or in church… when I got to college, that routine changed, and I fell into a really rough patch.” During this rough patch of navigating a big life change, Belvit realized her old faith habits were routed in routine and now that that routine has changed, she began a new journey to put God to the test and find him for herself while balancing her athletic career. “It took many years of crying and praying and trying new things, but it made me stronger the more I trusted the process and understood what it meant to have faith… [this] was an opportunity to look in the mirror and build that intimacy between me and God.”
Once Belvit found her grounding in God, she began to see what it meant to compete for him. She described a concept within the hammer throw about holding your ground, staying patient, and allowing the ball to go around you. Belvit took this concept and realized that it coincided with her faith and how she must hold her ground with God, even in the midst of a storm, she must be patient and hold fast to his words, knowing he has a bigger plan ahead. Belvit puts her best foot forward as she places herself into the hands of God while competing both for herself and for him. “Before I throw, I say a little prayer because I know I value God in my work and my journey, and if this is no longer the journey he wants me on, then I move on to the next… I get to learn God and learn the sport all at the same time.”
Through learning God, Belvit also came to learn what his Grace meant and the impact it has on her life. “If I could sum it up in one sentence it would be: an opportunity mixed with the unmerited favor and love.” Belvit goes on to explain that God’s Grace is not repayable and simply not deserved, but God still graces us with opportunities that we may feel unfit for, but he sees something else in us, something stronger, to allow us to do his will, even if that means navigating a global pandemic.
Before the pandemic hit, Belvit found herself working towards a lot of athletic goals. When the season abruptly ended, she took that as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board, work harder, get stronger, and be ready to return, until that return never came and she found herself relying on her faith more than she had before. Unfortunately, Belvit was hit with many painful shifts as she found herself feeling alone and strained during the pandemic when she realized that all she had left to do was to pray—so she did. “The answer received was a reminder, a memory that I had wanted to start a Bible study,” but between school and sports, there wasn’t the time to begin such a group. With this newly found, unexpected free time, she picked up the phone and lit the fire that became her Bible study group. As the pandemic panned out around her, Belvit’s Bible study helped her grow in her faith more and shift her mental focus as she could now thank God for a new day and new opportunities. “My faith got stronger; my trust got stronger; my love got stronger. I found peace and joy. I was happy before, but joy is something different.” Belvit came to realize that she was now equipped for anything to come. While the devil does not rest, she knows God always has our best interests at heart.
Through her own ups and downs and battling her own demons both in the sport and out, during a pandemic and following, Belvit continues to thrive and find passion in helping people. As a lover of makeup, she found that she loves helping people feel better about themselves, but knew she wanted to help in other ways, not just through cosmetics. She finds passion in talking to people, lending a listening ear, staying up late to figure out ways to help those who may be struggling. “People think I’m foolish and that I may have better things to do… but when I’m around people who are feeling good and doing their best, knowing they are strong makes me stronger too.” Through such a selfless passion, Belvit was led to the love of one of Heaven to the Yeah’s shirts that reads, Fear Less, which she wore during this talk with Taylor.
When asked about her shirt and what it may mean to her, what came next was a well-loved and inspiring response. “If you really understand fear, you realize how much it cripples you. This shirt gives people a key to freedom.” She went on to explain that fear traps the mind and cripples you in what you can and cannot do until you become trapped in a box, in the confines of your own mind. She shares how fear acts as a comfort, but once we can step out of that comfort and create our own forces of change, that is when we realize that life is lived outside the box. This fear is something Belvit herself had to overcome allowing her to grow in her mind, strength, and faith.
Before her talk ended, Belvit was asked to share any words of wisdom or encouragement to the Heaven to the Yeah community to which she replied, “know you’re not alone and that everyone is going through something or facing something in their lives… As a young believer, Godly community and solitude will be your best friends.” She continued by encouraging those watching, listening, or reading, to surround themselves with people who will be uplifting in low times or times of feeling down. She ended her insightful words in saying that building a faith community is important, but there is also a point in time where you have to know God for yourself, while understanding that there will always be people who are willing to go through life with you and join you on your journey. From turmoil, strife, and fear, to grounding, passion, and joy Erica Belvit gracefully shared her story on keeping her faith alive through her athletic life, inspiring and igniting a fire in all who listen.
Heaven to the Yeah (HTTY) is an online retail start-up with a mission to encourage people to live with heaven in view and spread the hope of heaven globally. HTTY sponsors children and missionaries on four continents through universally recognized non-profit organizations such as Compassion International and Food for the Hungry.