I was inspired by a recent roller skating party with my nine year old. I left her younger sister with my mom so I could really focus on skating with her and teaching her. As much as I loved skating as a kid, I was certain she would, if she would just keep trying…
She got a quarter of the way around the rink clinging to the side rails before she decided she wanted to use a trainer like the other kids. These trainers look like walkers for beginner skaters. We didn’t have them growing up, but they are really helpful in learning to balance and lean forward. She hobbled along slowly. All she could see in her periphery were smaller kids zooming past her. I just kept encouraging her, proud that she was giving it a real go this time and so thankful I could focus all my attention on her when she needed it most. I wondered what else I could do to help her, but I soon realized all I could do was watch, encourage, and be there to help her up when she fell. I couldn’t “make” her skate well. She would have to keep going and put the effort in. She would have to learn at her own pace.
About half way around the rink, she lost her balance and fell HARD right on her tail bone. She looked up at me with big tears in her eyes from pain, anger, and utter embarrassment. As I helped her to her feet she told me she quit and wasn’t cut out for it. I felt so sorry for her and told her to look around at all the others falling. She said “No one’s falling but me!” I followed up with “Not true baby, look around. Watch.” So she did. Sure enough three skaters hit the ground in the few seconds I got her to look up. And, they all got back up and kept skating.
Just then, one of her classmates came up to check on her. She said “My parents gave me the best advice. It’s ok if you fall, just don’t quit. Keep skating. Everyone falls. Even grown-ups!” I loved her encouragement and joy. Abby kept skating, slowly but surely. My heart swelled with love and pride as she fell again and got back up…..again. She wanted to keep skating and even hinted at the idea of having her next birthday party there. What a refreshing change! She worked up the courage to skate once around the rink without her trainer, but still felt more comfortable with it. I told her that’s what the trainer is for, to lean on. Use it.
I think our praying friends are like trainers, they are there to be leaned on and they want to be. They help us balance and keep us moving forward. They help us up when we fall and look around for us when they do. They aren’t there to skate for us, they can’t. But, they are there to lean on.
Everybody learns at a different pace. Some are timid, some are aggressive, some are naturals, but we are all humbled as our rear ends hit the ground. Some don’t skate anymore because of age or past injury. Some continue to skate as long as they can (that would be me). But, everyone falls. Even the best skiers and skaters still fall. It’s part of learning and it’s part of the sport. Such is life.
All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. Romans 3:23-24 (CEV)
We all get frustrated when we fall and feel embarrassed when it’s a fall in public, or worse in front of our peers. But remember, everyone falls. And, remember your trainers. Use them. That’s what God gave them to you for.
And, now back to an all skate…