“Help! Help! No help, I’m sliding!”
“You’re on skis, Ashley. That’s the point.”
The poor girl at the top of the line headed to the bunny slope lift was scared to death paralyzed with fear to the point that any tiny move seemed destined to pitch her down the mountain out of control. Her friend seemed not to understand the direness of her situation. To her skiing was easy. She didn’t understand, but I did.
Always longer on doubt and fear than on calm and cool in the sports arena, I understood. The movement seems unfamiliar, unexpected, and dangerous. What seemed like such a fun idea only moments before now seems like the dumbest thing anyone’s ever talked you into.
Okay, so even now there are hundreds of people swooshing down these slopes. They obviously know what they are doing. You obviously don’t and so fear takes over. No not just fear but overwhelming panic that grips your gut and wrenches out small terrified shrieks. This is nuts—craziness. Much better to turn back from this unknown now and go back to the safety of what you know.
And yet, what Ashley couldn’t see at that moment, what she couldn’t yet feel is how it feels to fly. Swooping down the mountain with only the wind and the white powder for friends. It’s exhilarating, awe-inspiring, life changing. But right there, on the fringes looking in, it just feels like something you’ll never be able to do.
I think that’s how a lot of people live life. They see the people who have Jesus in their lives. They see the people who have peace, and it looks like so much fun. Yet here they are, unsure of how or if to make that decision. Unsure if they can really “do this.”
The one thing these people don’t need is those “skiers” of us acting like they’re silly for feeling like they do. They aren’t silly. Their fear is real, and if we don’t help them through their fear, they’re likely to click those skies right off and go sit down. Instead get back to the place where you were fearful of taking this giant leap and allow them to work through their fear with you their side.
Undoubtedly they will be swooshing down the slopes of faith in no time, and maybe, just maybe they’ll offer some understanding to another fearful skier along the way.
© Staci Stallings
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