At the age of 7, I had decided to teach myself to roller skate. Birthday money in hand, I selected a beautiful pair of skates coupled with amply cushioned knee and elbow pads. Not wanting to wait till I made it to the rink to practice, a surefire way to ensure embarrassment, I looked around for a suitable substitute. Living in an open courtyard apartment complex had finally offered an advantage. With its long connecting pathways and supporting poles I now had the necessary environment to train properly.
Learning to propel my body forward was both exciting and frightening in understanding that I also had to stop. Soon I learned that the concrete pathway was a much more worthy adversary than its polished counterpart. And the pads though covering several points of contact, did not encompass every inch that was exposed to face abrasion. If I was to continue learning, there was a need to not fear the falls and the pain to follow. In holding back, I had already fallen before I ever tried. And in seeking the safety of the poles, I was neither trusting the acquired skills nor experiencing the joy I had hoped.
I was reminded of this lesson in conversation with a few other women this week. Struggling with the courage to seek God amidst the violence in the world, and feeling a bit overwhelmed in their daily struggles too they found themselves at the poles. Interestingly enough, while realizing all too well the temptation to remain stuck here they also heard God’s call to take a step in faith. Fear of the next fall, guilt of past mistakes and doubt of reconciliation can make moving forward seem like a near impossibility. And yet, as believers, we know that it isn’t on our own strength that we are asked to rely.
First we need to pray for help in letting go of worry and fear and it’s grip on us.
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Next, we are invited to get suited up.
Then to take a step not knowing what lies ahead but with the assurance that God is with us wherever we go.
embrace what God has in store for each one of us.
What poles am I clinging to today that are keeping me from participating in the love, joy and promise that God has for my life?