It’s our sons’ last couple days of Christmas vacation, and we are spending them in the mountain towns of Keystone and nearby Dillon, Colorado. The drive to Keystone should only take two and a half hours, but three accidents and a white-out snowstorm along I-70 dictate otherwise. After no small amount of travel drama, we finally make it into town, park our cars, and put on ski pants, jackets, and all the paraphernalia before tubing–our activity du jour. Following check-in, we stand in line amidst many a snowboard and ski carrying folks to ride the gondola to the top of the mountain.
After climbing into the gondola, we begin gliding up the mountain. We enjoy watching the skiers and snowboarders swoosh swoosh below us, impressed that the youngest of kiddos move like mini pros. We notice, too, how every single person looks like he or she could be in an add for REI. I wonder how we may not fit in so well, as our winter gear is more patched together than put together. One of the kids comments on this, too, and we realize we’re self-aware enough to notice this but not self-focused enough to really care. We’re tubing rather than skiing, and that activity is a whole lot more forgiving with, say, sun glasses instead of ski goggles.
Y’all, the exhilarating FUN we had tubing–flying down those mountain runs–can’t be overstated. I laughed and squealed like a nine-year-old kid gulping up winter delight. We all agreed it was a wonderful way to spend a freezing, snowy afternoon.
If you’ve been here for any length of time, here’s a not-so-secret between you and me: I don’t typically enjoy winter. Here’s an actual secret between you and me: I’ve never skied in my life. We’ve lived in Colorado Springs for over 9 years, and yet I’ve never skied. This is partly because I have a strong aversion to being cold. This is partly because our daughter had a broken neck when she was younger, and for a long time most activity–let alone skiing–was strictly forbidden. It’s also because I’m not graceful in the least and have a special knack for tripping and falling while simply walking. (If you don’t believe me, refer to the great 2016 fall at Kyle Football Field. I’m ridiculously ridiculous.)
While all this is true, there’s often a part of me that tries to rise up and convince the rest of me this is rather lame. Like I’m not “living my best life now!” What kind of Coloradan doesn’t ski?!? But then I remember that one of many gifts that come with walking this planet for 45 years is being able to roll my eyes at that and call that hogwash. It’s not fear or an inability to try new things. It’s simply a matter of preferences, and I don’t prefer to ski.
Tubing down a mountain? Oh yeah. Sitting inside a warm and cozy lodge by the fire drinking tea with or without a bit of bourbon? Oh heck yeah.
I think about this, too, in terms of writing. Unlike with skiing, I can give into some mighty strong ugly words for not being able to keep up with writing on this blog like I used to. I know part of the reason I don’t write here as much is because so much is expected on other social media channels, although heaven knows I’m not following any kind of recommended business model on those. Part of that is because I’ve had other significant projects I’ve been working on. And part of that is because I still have a terrible tendency to let fear of my critic make me second, third, and forth guess what I write till I decide to write nothing at all. After all, the Critic can’t perceive it poorly if there’s nothing to perceive in the first place.
Just when I think I might slam the laptop shut and give up forever, I think about the parable of the talents. We’re all assigned gifts, and I don’t want to bury mine because I’m afraid whatever I do will be disappointing. The other day, I wrote in my prayer journal, “Show me what direction to go with my writing so I invest well in what you gave me.” Right now, the belief that I’m suppose to keep going spurs me on to keep on keeping’ on.
I also keep at it because continuing to sit down in my dagger writing chair is a major step forward in my faith walk.
Priscilla Shirer wrote in an instagram post about the text in Luke 9 where Jesus feeds the five thousand. Instead of sending all those people to surrounding villages to find lodging and food, Jesus simply told them to sit down. Priscilla writes,
“[Jesus said,] ‘Have the people sit down’ (Luke 9)–a posture of rest, trust and expectation. THEN…He fed them an abundant meal. Today, let’s act like God is telling the truth. May we have faith enough to posture ourselves in a way that invites His activity in our lives.”
You see, when something in life isn’t going the way I hoped–or in anticipation of preventing an undesirable outcome–I will move. I’ll act. I’ll panic like a chicken with her head cut off. I’ll run around, arms flailing and voice reaching an annoyingly high decibel, and say things like, “What am I supposed to do? Why isn’t this working? What’s going on and how do I fix it?” Instead, what if I simply sat down and acted like what’s true is actually true: If God gave me the ability to write, then he’ll supply me with the words.
Sitting down is not an act of passivity. It’s a fiery act of strength. My circumstances haven’t changed–I still write scared to death. But I am still writing. I’m still doing what I can to practice walking through the fear–that is, sitting in my chair and getting after it–so I can have a measure of owning it rather than letting it own me.
I don’t know what’s going on in your life today, but if you or your circumstances need what may feel like a bonafide miracle, consider simply sitting down. Literally sit down on the outside if you have to, but also sitting down on the inside. Trust that God is working on your behalf and will see you to the end of this thing. Trust that God will do what He says He will do.
Because He surely is who He says He is, and nothing is impossible for Him.
Sometimes, the beginning of a new year is when change hits hard or feels more acute. And sometimes, that change can take away our sense of belonging. If you find this to be true for you, I wrote a free resource that may help. Click here to subscribe and this free resource that includes written and audio versions will automatically land in your inbox. I hope it’ll be as encouraging as it is practical.