Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learn as you go

I am not an athletic individual. I can throw and hit a softball fairly well. I can bowl better than most, but that is about it. So it is no surprise that I don’t like to learn or play new sports in front of others. Why embarrass myself like that?

Years ago I went snow tubing for the first time. Despite the ease with which one slides down the hill (no steering, no balancing required) I still had to get up the nerve. The tricky part was riding your tube to the top of the hill. (Don’t laugh, it was tricky.)

There was a thick rope attached to a pulley that ran from the bottom to the top of the hill. You slid your tube under the rope, laid on top of your tube, and grabbed onto the rope. It sounds simple enough.

But the tricky part was that the rope was constantly moving, so once you put your tube under, you had to jump (literally throw your body on top of the tube so the rope was between the tube and you) and grab at the same time.

I stood by and watched friend after friend execute this seemingly easy task. But knowing how uncoordinated I am, I could not picture myself doing it correctly (without embarrassment).

I even asked a friend how to do it. He slid (the tube), jumped, grabbed (the rope) and shouted back at me as he floated up the hill, “Like that.”

“Yeah, right,” I thought to myself.

I finally did it. It was awkward. I think I jumped a little late and the tube was further up so I had to hang on real tight to the rope. But I did it. And I made it safely to the top of the hill.

You can’t learn a sport by simply watching. You must try it and practice it. You must feel for yourself the weight of the bat, the fit of the glove, the grip on the ball before you can successfully execute the skill. You can watch the pros, hear the pointers, but until you try it yourself it is pointless. You must learn as you go.

God is teaching me lately that trust is another one of those skills you must learn as you go. I cannot simply stand far off and say, “God I want to trust you” or “Help me to trust you.” I cannot just read books on trust or prayers on trust. I must try it for myself. I must do it.

I may do it poorly. I may do is slowly. I may do it fearfully. But I must do it.

I must entrust my dreams to God and see how he is faithful. I must trust my fears to God and see how he dispels them. I must surrender my time to God and see how he fulfills it. And the trust will grow. I will learn (by doing) to trust.

So whatever thing you are struggling to trust God with today, stop standing at the bottom of the hill watching others jump on.

Try it for yourself. Learn as you go. Trust.

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