Wipe out! It’s just part of learning to snow ski, but it’s not the hardest part of the sport. Getting up again is the biggest challenge!
We took our daughters snow skiing for the first time recently. Toward the end of the day, my husband took the girls on an intermediate run, and the younger one, 9, proceeded to wipe out over and over again. She came off the slopes feeling pretty defeated and certain that her daddy was mad at her.
Every time she wiped out, her skis popped off, and she had to get them on again. Her natural inclination was to point them downhill and try to step into them, which, of course, led to another fall. Her dad told her to arrange her skis parallel to the mountain before she stepped into them so she’d be anchored to the slope and able to reestablish her balance. He gave her the same instruction many times, but she seemed not to listen and experienced failure over and over again. “If she would’ve just listened to what I was telling her, I could have helped her,” he said.
I’d experienced something very similar myself in my ski lesson. About halfway down the same challenging slope where my daughter kept falling, I was learning to turn. I was still unsteady and concentrating hard on my form and balance when a man clipped me from behind, sending me and my poles flying. From down the mountain, I could hear my instructor, Jerry, shouting instructions to me about how to position myself so I could get up. I knew intellectually that I could trust Jerry – he was far more experienced than I in these matters, for sure – but my natural instinct was to do the exact opposite of what he was saying! Instead of listening to my trustworthy teacher, I listened to myself and tried to stand up in my own strength. My instinct was to get up like I wasn’t on skis. My instinct was to do it my own way. Can you say epic fail?
Finally, I stilled my mind, set aside my humiliation and determined to focus on my teacher’s instructions. With his help, I positioned my skis and my body the correct way. He walked his way back up the mountain to me, stuck out his hand, which I grabbed, and voila – I was on my feet again! How often do we flail around, trying to go it alone, while our Teacher’s voice is accessible to us? What He asks us to do often feels unnatural or counterintuitive, but He knows so much better than we do. When we can still our minds long enough to hear Him and reach out our hands in trust, our results can be vastly different.
Even when we're in close relationship with our Heavenly Father, it can still be difficult to hear His instructions. How much harder is it then for the woman who has not yet come to know Him? We have neighbors who are flailing about, operating on instinct. They desperately need to be introduced to the Father they can trust in the midst of the wipe out. Will you be the person who makes the introduction?
NBS2Go’s newest Acrostic Bible Study is called L.I.S.T.E.N.: Listen Intently, Follow Intentionally – Without Delay, Discussion or Doubt. Download it for free here!
Erica Rountree is a freelance writer and the communications director at Action Ministries Inc. She lives and works in Marietta, Georgia, where she’s a member of a neighborhood Bible study and mama to two girls who constantly outsmart her and drive her to drink sweet tea.