It was a surprisingly warm winter day in Colorado as I waited for my ski instructor to show for my first lesson. As I stood there, I took in my surroundings- people of all ages zooming past on their skis with ease, timing their turn on the chair lift perfectly, and heading up the mountain with an air of confidence. They looked graceful, in-control, and nothing like what I pictured my first time skiing would be likened to. Being from Kansas, the closest I had been to skiing was a hill blanketed in fake snow we visited on a field trip. That ice-covered death trap left me with two memories: Don’t crash, and don’t get stuck under the tow rope with a hundred little kids piling up behind you.
Needless to say, there was bad blood between me and and a pair of skis.
A million worries flew through my mind:
What if I was a horrible skier and had to sit inside the house for the next several days, forlorn and gazing helplessly out the window while everyone else laughed with ease as they glided down the gorgeous mountainside, carefree and picturesque, the cover of “Skiing Is Easy!” magazine?
What if I built up too much speed while learning and simply slid right off the side of the mountain, never to be seen again? Don’t spend my life insurance payout all at once, loving children.
What if I just plain didn’t like it? People ski with this “cool” sense of self that I assumed I would have immediately bestowed upon me once I pleased the ski gods. But what if, after all my best efforts, I just found skiing to be, well…boring?
Thankfully my lesson went smoothly. I started small, walking in my elongated shoes awkwardly, trying to glide on one foot, then the other. My ability progressed *very* slowly, weaving back and forth on the mountain. My instructor would warn me occasionally on the way down- “Don’t build up too much speed!” or give me an encouraging word- “Here is a smooth stretch. Go as FAST as you can!”
By the end of my 3 hour lesson I was descending “double green” slopes. For you non-skiing people not as advanced as I, that is just one step up from the easiest level. I quickly graduated from there to the area reserved for those attempting freestyle jumps. Mine where less “freestyle” and more “I-don’t-want-to-die-style,” but I got braver the more I tried. I got faster approaching the jumps and caught more air before landing. By the end of our Colorado trip, I was exhilarated by being on the mountain and pushing myself to try things out of my comfort zone.
It can be intimidating and overwhelming at first. You worry through the “what if’s” –
“What if I am not ready to really believe? Some people make it look so easy- what if it isn’t easy for me?”
“What if I jump right in, only to crash and burn when the tough times come?”
“What if I find that faith in Christ is boring AND out-dated AND ineffective AND… I just. Don’t. Like it?”
If this is you, if you want to discover more about faith and God but are overwhelmed and scared, let me challenge you today to do this:
Find an instructor.
Who do you see around you that is living out their faith well? It can be a friend, a pastor, or a family member. Ask them to help you. Let them be your instructor, paired with what you read in the Bible, to navigate down the mountain. They can help guide you, warn you, and even encourage you at times to “go as FAST as you can!” You will build confidence, able to take risks that elevate you to the next level in your faith. When you fall, that person is there to help you up. You can follow their lead until you gain your footing again. Faith is not meant to be lived out alone, so use the buddy system!
Our faith is fragile and fluid, always moving and growing, shrinking, and sometimes breaking. Link arms with another and brave the mountain together. No matter what you face in your new faith, God will bring you through.
The view from the mountaintop is worth the risk!
1 Peter 1:7: These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.