I gripped the railing with all my strength and looked down at my wobbly legs. My heart pounded in my chest and although it was below 40 degrees, beads of sweat formed around my brow.
“Deep breaths, Anita,” I whispered to myself. “You can do this.”
I took one step and then another, clunking along the icy floor.
That New Year’s Eve, Matthew and I spent the evening together while my husband headed off to work. In my attempt to be a “cool” stepmom, I let him make the plans. Of course an active 11-year old would choose ice skating.
Normally, I would be content with watching him from the sidelines, but I knew he’d be disappointed if I didn’t come out on the ice. Plus, it was an opportunity to try something new.
But first, to avoid looking like a complete fool, I had to see what this ice skating stuff was all about. I did a quick internet search to get some basic moves down. It seemed simple enough. . .or so I thought.
Instead, I found myself stomping along the ice while everyone gracefully glided by. My body heaved forward and then quickly jerked back as I tried to keep upright.
“Maybe I should just sit this one out?” I thought to myself. Then suddenly, I remembered what I learned during my internet search:
Step 1. March along the ice as you get familiar with balancing.
Step 2. When comfortable enough, allow yourself to glide along the ice.
Step 3. Have fun.
With a renewed sense of determination, I kept walking; making sure, of course, to keep at least one hand on the railing at all times.
My confidence increased as my focus shifted. Clunking turned into marching, marching turned into short bursts of gliding and there was more gusto with every lap around the rink.
But here is the thing: I was only brave as long as the railing was within reach.
Each time I doubted or became fearful, I quickly returned to the railing—back to safety.
Every once in awhile I observed those in the middle of the rink and thought, “I want to experience that.” They seemed to float along the shiny surface with ease, fearless of falling.
Longing to be in the center of the rink reminded me of living a life of faith. God wants us to experience joy in the middle of the rink, but it requires letting go of the railing.
The middle doesn’t always provide safety and comfort, nor does it mean we won’t stumble or fall. However, in the middle of the rink is where we skate in tandem with the Lord.
If we stumble, He catches us.
If we fall, He picks us back up.
In the middle, we must depend on His strength and protection instead of our own.
I think of all those whom God called away from the safety they had known:
God called Abraham away from his native land. (Genesis 12:1)
God called Moses away from his family. (Exodus 3:1)
God called Gideon out from hiding. (6:11-16)
God called David away from the field. (1 Samuel 16:11)
God called Peter away from his career. (Luke 5:10-11)
God himself, stepped away from His heavenly throne to enter into the middle of this fallen world.
With each calling, God has great purpose and plans in store. With each calling, we are called away from our comfort into complete confidence in the Lord.
How can we have faith like Abraham or Moses or David? Just as I was able to learn steps through my internet search, there are steps we too can learn from searching God’s word.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)
Step 1. Walk in Christ.
Abraham didn’t know where God was leading him. He knew it was a land flowing with milk and honey however, God never gave him a clear destination. Nevertheless, he kept walking.
Your steps may be clunky at first and you may stumble and fumble, but the key is to keep moving forward. You may not know where God is leading you either, but you can trust where you are headed will be better than where you once were.
Step 2. Be rooted.
When the Lord called Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery, his immediate response was, “I’m not able.” The Lord then said to Moses, “I will be with you.” Moses took those first steps in faith, trusting that the Lord was with him. With each obedient action, he became rooted and established in his faith.
With each step you are being rooted, built up and established in faith. On your own, you are not able. However, with each step, you gain the confidence to step away from the familiar and into the middle, where you will continue to feed your faith and not your fears.
Step 3. Abound in thanksgiving.
King David gives us verse after verse of abounding in thanksgiving and praising the Lord on both the mountain high and the valley low.
We are to give the Lord thanks throughout the process. Despite the number of times we fall or how ungraceful we may be, the Lord is there to pick us up and cover us with His grace.
No matter where you find yourself in the “rink” of faith, God is always calling you closer to Him. He has a purpose and plan for you out in the middle. Be willing to take your hands off the rail and reach for Him. Enter the rink and experience the joy that awaits.
Stop and Reflect: What is the railing in your life? What is the thing you are grasping onto with all your might? The thing that is keeping you from entering into a deeper relationship with the Lord? How different would your life look if you were to let go and reach for the Lord?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. If you’re willing, please share in the comments below.
Please share this with those who could use this word of encouragement in their life.
Thank you for visiting, God bless.