This was the seventh-grade downhill skiing field trip, and Rachel and I were on it.
This would be Rachel’s first time on downhill skis and my first time at this ski resort. Together with 100 students and a handful of other adults, we were on an adventure with many unknowns.
How would it all go? Would someone get hurt? Would Rachel enjoy the experience or be miserable the entire time?
Since Rachel’s balance isn’t the best and she resists trying new activities (especially ones where she might fall down), I wasn’t sure how skiing would be received. I expected it would be a slow acceptance.
The Adventure Begins
A ski instructor was assigned to Rachel for about a half hour. After spending a few minutes getting to know her, the instructor took her down a gently sloping hill.
Several hours later, after lots of laughter and several falls, Rach settled in the clubhouse for snacks and rest. She wasn’t a confident, independent skier yet, but she did have fun and was a little less fearful.
My skiing adventure continued as I went to check out the various runs and assist students as needed. It was a beautiful day, albeit quite foggy. There was good snow and limited traffic.
All went well until I attempted to ski a hill a little above my abilities. Now you need to know that I wear a helmet (note, cautious) and prefer to ski deliberately across the slope (again, cautious).
The Unexpected and Unwanted
I am not a daredevil skier who delights in going fast.
I chose to attempt this run for a couple reasons. First, I tend to avoid stretching myself beyond the comfortable. However, moving out of my comfy zone is a step toward growth and something I’m striving for.
Second, I sometimes let fear of the unknown dictate the direction my life will go. Living a life of fear is an unfulfilling journey.
This run was a poorly calculated way of stepping boldly into that unknown. (Perhaps in the future, common sense [and warning signs] should play a heavier role in where I step.)
I started out well—at least for the first 10 yards. And I did make it more than halfway down—rolling and sliding on my back.
In the end, I had to ski the rest of the way down a “much-too-steep” hill after taking the tumble of my life and badly wrenching my knee when one ski didn’t fall off as it should have.
This trip did not end up being the adventure I had foreseen. It was not the one I would have chosen. In fact, given the chance, I might have re-scripted it.
A Fall Does Not Mean Failure
It would be easy to think that because of an ill-fated moment, the entire trip was a failure. Yet, as I write this, my horribly swollen knee propped on a pillow, packed in ice, it doesn’t feel like a failed leg of my journey (no pun intended!).
Too many wonderful things happened. I experienced the beauty of gorgeous vistas; the opportunity to help fledgling skiers; and the joy of being present for a daughter’s first.
True, my physical pain could have been avoided had I stayed on the bunny hills or safer yet, avoided the ski resort altogether. But to do that, I would have missed the blessings.
Although not a perfect analogy, our skiing escapade somewhat parallels our spiritual walk. God’s plan for our lives does include unknowns, difficulties we would like to avoid, times of being stretched, and opportunities to face our fears.
There are moments of pain and hardship that sometimes mask the beauty. It may threaten to overshadow the joy.
Embrace the Adventure of Stepping Out in Faith
We may be tempted to write off these bad experiences as failures or draw in a detour. But if we play it safe and always follow our own understanding, we’ll miss out the rich blessings of stepping out in faith.
Because when we follow an adventure of our own making, we walk in our own strength. When we always traverse well-marked, smooth paths, we may avoid some of the twists and turns, the steep hills, and the bumps, true. But we also miss out on the richness of a life lived in faith.
Always playing it safe taked away the opportunity for God to mold us into a glorious reflection of His Son. The true adventure of a life in Christ.
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
Reflections: Have you been tempted to change the adventure of your life? How has God been faithful to smooth out the rough spots? In the end, were you able to see the blessings through the fog?
Although quite late, I am still linking with Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista for Thursday Faith Jam on “Adventure.” Won’t you join me?
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Yours in grace ≈