Yes, I’m not too proud to say the white stuff stole my breath and claimed a space in my heart. That said, I wasn’t an instant star on the slopes. I wiped out hard and often, but by the end of the trip, I truly enjoyed skiing, despite my ungraceful moments.
I learned so much on the slopes and realized that some of those same principles apply to our Christian lives. We can’t let fear keep us from growing; instead, we can intelligently channel that emotion to discover new potential.
#1: Abandon the Bunnies
There’s a difference between caution and fear. Caution kept my unskilled self off the icy black slopes, but fear would have kept me on the bunnies.
It didn’t. Instead, I abandoned the training slope on day one and went for the green. In the process, I mastered my trademark 360 wipe-out move and discovered I have speed/control problems. However, I wouldn’t have improved my slowing techniques with the pizza move and side-to-side method if I hadn’t had a place to experience speed.
The same is true in life. Sometimes, we’d rather stay in our comfort zones, but we can’t grow if we don’t encounter steep places and challenges. As James says, it’s the “testing” of our faith, not the sheltering of it, that develops patience (James 1:3). Only in the middle of the slopes do we identify our weaknesses and practice mastering them.
#2: Don’t Ride Lifts Alone
If you’re a pro skier, you’re more than welcome to go solo. But a newbie should always have someone go with her the first time.
I’m thankful I did. I was so eager to get off successfully that I actually jumped off the lift. (You’re not supposed to do that.) Thankfully, my friend was right there, grabbed my arm, and helped me up from my awkward split in the snow.
Sometimes, we think we can handle life solo (pride), but the fact is that we need people alongside us to pray with us (James 5:16), sharpen us (Prov. 27:17), and fellowship with us (Hebrews 10:25).
#3: Wipe-Out and Recover
As I tell my students, we can’t be afraid to fall. Though sometimes painful and embarrassing, failure is often the best teacher.
If a new skier is scared to wipe out, she will never learn to ski. Truth is, eating the snow taught me more than caution would have.
- I learned how to get back up. The bottom line is that if you can’t get yourself back upright, you can’t get off the bunnies.
- Wiping out gave me motivation to improve my slowing techniques, because I very much wanted to get down the green without falling. (That only happened two or three times, but the sense of achievement was sweet.)
- I learned to laugh at myself. Everyone wipes out at some point (some people harder than others). The key is to shake it off and keep smiling.
Those are good reminders for life. Uncomfortable or embarrassing places allow God the opportunity to work His good through our mistakes and mess (Romans 8:28). How we respond to those situations gives us a chance to model His grace at work in our lives.
I can’t wait to go back to the slopes one day and hone my skills, but until then, I want to remember what I learned.
Don’t let fear keep you from discovering new places and hidden potential. Remember 2 Timothy 1:7? We are not to approach any part of this life with fear but with God’s power, love, and fortitude.
3 Ways to Shred Fear on Life’s Slopes – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)