He’s skydived, gone surfing, met celebrities and gone on a world speaking tour. Not bad a for a guy with no arms and no legs. Joy Tibbs found out the secret to Nick Vujicic’s success
What do you see when you look in a mirror? Many of us see too fat, too short, too spotty or a little overabundant in the nose department.
When Nick Vujicic took in his reflection as a child, he saw a worthless guy with no arms and legs.
Born with a rare condition called tetra-amelia syndrome, he saw a person who would never get a job or get married; who would never be able to hold someone’s hand.
“What kind of a father are you going to be if you can’t even pick up your kids when they’re crying? How can I provide if I can’t even look after myself?” he repeatedly asked himself.
Life was tough for Nick. He was severely bullied because of his disability, everyday tasks were mountains to climb, and he felt as though he was a burden on his family.
He couldn’t easily walk, play, write a letter, clean his teeth, dress himself or even get back up when he fell down. In fact, doctors predicted that most of his life would be spent lying down because that was just easier.
By the age of eight, Nick had had enough. He started to think about ending his life, and by the time he turned ten he had actually tried to drown himself. He had no reason to live and no hope for the future.
Worse than having no limbs was the absolute fear of being alone. “I couldn’t see hope because I had fear; fear of what my life was going to look like,” he explains.
The only thing that kept him going was his parents’ love for him and the thought of their pain if he was to take his life.
It wasn’t until he had a real encounter with God that things changed. Nick’s parents were Christians, so he had heard biblical teachings growing up, but he couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling that God had chosen to create him with such a terrible disability and that he seemed to have no intention of healing him.
“My parents always taught me that even though we don’t know why I was born this way, that we have a choice: either to be angry for what we don’t have; or thankful for what we do have,” he recalls.
However, it took a spell in hospital following a football-related injury for this to really sink in. Being bed-bound made Nick appreciate all the things he was able to do rather than focusing on the negative aspects of his disability. He also started to rethink his view of faith.
Within a couple of years, Nick, who was born in Australia, had made a commitment to God.
Ultimately, it was his relationship with Jesus that would bring reconciliation and hope, and he didn’t need arms or legs to achieve that.
Not only did it change his own life, this major shift impacted the people around him.
During his teens, Nick began speaking at public events about the hope he had found. He has been all over the world sharing his story, including a trip earlier this year to Eastern Europe. He visited Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia – where his family is from – to spread his message of hope.
The Eastern European tour brought him into contact with Serbia’s Crown Prince and Princess, and with tennis champion Novak Djokovic, opening doors to large audiences.
One practical way Nick relates to people is to hug them. At one school he picked four children out of the crowd – boys that had been heckling during his talk – and asked them to come out to the front for a hug.
They reluctantly traipsed to the front of the hall and the first, who had appeared most troublesome, wept as he hugged Nick, clinging to him for some time.
Despite having no arms and legs, a hug from this inspirational guy changes lives.
Often these children have no one to hug them or to tell them they are loved. They have no self-esteem and no ambition. Although his condition is still problematic, Nick refuses to let it stop him doing the things he loves. “God is not the author of pain, but what the enemy tried to use for evil, God has used for good,” he explains.
He has also achieved some incredible feats in his personal life: surfing, scuba diving and skydiving among others.
In 2012 he did something he had never thought possible as a child… he married his beautiful wife. And in February, the couple had their first child.
So next time you look in the mirror, don’t look at all the imperfections. Instead, see the opportunities ahead of you. See your God-given potential and the ability he has placed in you to realise it.