Friday, January 21, 2011

Matters of Skateboarding and Trust

Odd title, don't you think?

Yeah... me too.

This one word has been tumbling around my head lately.


Deep word, you know.

I struggle with it. Always have.

My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

Slowly, ever so slowly, I begin to understand, and live out, this verse.

Like I said, trust has always been a difficult thing for me to do.

My flesh really likes to "lean on my own understanding." I think I can run my own show. I don't like the thought of having someone else run my show for me. That means I'd have to trust them! And that, of course, I can't do.

My walk with the Lord has always been a bit of struggle. I find it incredibly hard just to put my trust in Him and let Him chart my course. "Jesus Take the Wheel" is not exactly my anthem. (Love the song, though.) I try and tell Him what to do, or else I just ignore Him and do my own thing. I've lacked the trust (or the strength to muster up enough) to surrender to Him.

Of course, this is where we get onto the other subject... skateboarding.

As most of you know, I got a skateboard for my birthday.

I had only ridden for real once before, at a Young Life resort's indoor skate park in September. That mainly involved me going down a ramp, falling on my backside, getting up, going down the ramp, falling down again, getting up and doing it all over 20 million more times. (It was my very very first time on a board, alright?)

For some reason, that event made me want to keep riding. I'd borrowed my little brother's 25-dollar cheapie board for a little bit, but the wheels were super ratty, so it didn't even go anywhere unless you pumped like mad. And even then it would only scoot about an inch and a half and stop. As you can imagine, that didn't really get me anywhere.

My birthday present rides like a dream. It's a really, really nice board, as far as I'm concerned.

Learning to ride it has been a thought-provoking adventure, though.

Skateboarding is not really a matter of balance the way it is with a bike. But particularly, it's the speed that was the hard thing for me to get.

It seems easy to just pump once and scoot down the street. If I started to lose speed, I'd pump gently again, and I keep gliding at an easy, unexciting pace.

But that's not what skateboard was meant to do. A skateboard is meant for speed. Pure, exhilarating speed.

As I've gotten better and more confident at boarding, I've found the courage to pump twice. Three times. Four times.

It's pretty darn fast, let me tell you. When you pump, (at least for me) you get this feeling that the board's gonna slip out from under you. You get this adrenaline rush, and if you pump once or twice more, suddenly I can hear my board singing. It's like you're flying.

I love it.

But to fly, to go fast, I had to step out of my comfort zone. I had to trust that the board would still be under my foot if I pumped one more time.

And of course, it always was. And you know what? Going fast was way, ways easier than just scooting around. It's what you're supposed to do, after all.

I think skateboarders have a special connection to their board. I know I do. You get on the thing, and it's just you and board in the whole world. You have to work together, and the connection gets stronger the more you board. I'm sure people who love certain sports, like bikers and skiers and swimmers even, all have that same sort of connection with their sport.

That connection between me and my board grew stronger the faster and longer I rode. When I suddenly felt a surge of speed, I wanted to scream and cheer, it was so amazing. It's definitely like your board becomes part of you.

And here's the thing I realized, several days ago.

I trust my board. 

Like, in the way I don't trust. While I am still half in control, I have to release a little bit of that control and let my board do what it's meant to do. 

And I'm willing to trust my board almost with a sense of reckless abandonment. I'm willing to go faster and faster, and harder and harder, knowing it'll still hold me and it won't go sliding out from under me.

And then came the harsh reality:

I'm willing to trust a piece of wood with wheels more than the God who spoke the universe into being.



I knew that wasn't okay. That's not how it's supposed to be!

But no matter how I seemingly tried, I found myself unable to trust my Lord.

It had made me really moody and in a flux of an emotional state the past few days. Actually, I've been like that over the last several months, anyway. This just heightened it. 

I hadn't felt like I've been in a good place spiritually. I hadn't been reading my Bible much. I got moody and grouchy easy. When I prayed, I felt like it was a waste of time and energy. 

Sometimes, I would have a good, cheerful day, or have an aha moment, and then I would brighten up and think that everything was going to get better. My spiritual "depression," if you will, would pass. The gray skies oppressing my mind would lift.

But no... then after a few days, something would happen, maybe I would get grumpy or have a bad Algebra day, I don't know, but something would happen to stick me back in a place where I would shove the Word aside and have a nice, happy grump-fest. Along with a bonus, perpetual case of teenage schlumpiness. 

And after a while of this cycle of thinking things would get better spiritually only for them to go back to stagnant, lukewarmness, I'd started to get moody and despairing. 

I'd been reading lots of books, but not the Bible. I'd get excited over a lot of things, but not my God and the work He's doing. I've been focused on lots of things, but not eternity and the things that will matter. 

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."
Colossians 3:2

I hadn't been doing that. My thoughts had certainly been on books, movies, this, that, and everything else possible besides the Lord. 

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Luke 12:35

The things I'd been valuing were not eternal things that will matter in the long run. 

I knew I'd been holding back my all from the Lord. But I was unwilling to surrender.

I have the head knowledge. I know all the right things, all the answers to every argument my flesh can make in protest to surrendering to my Lord. But those answers didn't bring a change of heart. I would just think up the answers, turn them around and around for a while in my head, and then feeling no change, would shrug it off and go back to Schluppy-Grumpy Abby.

I wasn't willing to do the hard thing and persevere: read my Bible when my mind is going off in rabbit trails. Determine each day to be joyful. Pray and talk with the Lord, even if I don't feel like He's answering. 

I wasn't willing to do that. I wanted to just sit back, live life, and wait for my fleshly self to magically change on it's own. 

Yeah... cause that works out real well.

A couple verses from the Newsboys' song Born Again came to mind:

Found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn't who I wanted to be
I was living like the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I'm not free

I knew that spiritually, I haven't been where I want to be... where I know I should be.  And I hadn't figured out what to do about it.

Actually.... I had known what to do about it. But metaphorically speaking, I'd been afraid to trust... to pump harder and faster. 

And that's the other thing.

I don't like change. (Especially the surprise kind.)

While at our church's midweek Bible study tonight, I realized I've been in this state of spiritual stagnant-ness for long enough, and that I was afraid to come out of it. 

That meant a change, you know. 

And changes aren't real easy for me. 

I knew that I oughtta be on fire and having a hunger for the Word, but to get back into that place required changes on all sorts of levels. I couldn't just go about my mediocre, hum-dee-dum lifestyle any longer if I determined to surrender my life to the Lord to be used for Him.

So as I was sitting against the wall near the back of the room, before the teaching started, I realized this... and finally determined to be determined and press on, press harder, and I prayed silently (I might have whispered it, but I can't remember), something along the lines of, "Lord, I'm really afraid to change, and I know I've been stubborn about it. But if you'll hold my hand, I'm willing to change my heart and my lifestyle. No... I'm wiling to let You change it. Will you please change it for me?"

I had to blink back tears as this sense of relief and release washed up over me. 

Not the perfect prayer, certainly. But the Lord knew my heart. He knew I was surrendering to Him. And I felt His love.

All along, He's been gracious to me. He wasn't waiting to do this:

"I find your lack of trust disturbing."

No, no... He was gracious and faithful the whole time I was a lost little sheep, gone astray a wee bit.

But I was finally sick of not being radical for Him.

I was finally sick of not being on fire for Him.

I was finally sick of just daydreaming and imagining and thinking, fooling myself into thinking I was alright.

I was finally willing to make what I knew to be true a reality in my life.

Bible study hadn't been so sweet in a long time. I lovingly jotted down notes. I cherished every word we read. I left there with a glow, a shine in my eyes, and a peaceful, overjoyed spirit.

And it wasn't me trying to do the right thing and make it look like I was doing good.

It was coming from my heart. 

Am I perfect now? Certainly. Not. Am I doing better? You don't know the half of it. Will I still make mistakes? You betcha.

But by re-surrendering and putting my trust in Him tonight, my heart changed. 

I was finally willing to trust, after many months of distrust and distance.

And boy, am I glad I did. Not to say I'm the perfect "truster" now, but I'm willing, and my heart is in the right place.

For me, trust doesn't come easy. But as the Lord has shown me through skateboarding, it'll be well worth it. 

After all... it's like flying. Or something even more amazing and beautiful. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and lean not on your own understanding.

In all of your ways acknowledge Him,

and He will make your path's straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6


Amaranthine said...

Eee hee hee. Nice post and analogy. I'm absolutely terrified to get on a skateboard, however. :(

Millardthemk said...

Mmmmm...Great post. Rock solid. Trusting the Lord is a tough thing--and it's not something you just learn sadly. It's a life long thing. But I know you are on the right track. :)

Eagles Wings said...

Wonderful post.

Jake said...

Wow. That's awesome, Director. :) I've had bad Algebra days too...I know the feeling. :P

By the way...have ye ever read the book Radical, by David Platt? He challenges his readers to do much the same thing. To cast off what entangles us...and be Radical for Christ. :) I highly recommend it--I'm making my way through it myself.

Being radical requires change.

The Director said...

Thanks you guys... *sniffs*

Amaranthine: we should meet in real life, and then I'd teach you how to ride ;)

Jake: I have not read the book, but I'm pretty sure I've heard of it. Definitely sounds like something I would want to read :D

Everyone's Favorite Composer said...


That explains so much! I want to go hug you now!

The Director said...

Love ya, EFC ;)


Ann said...

Abby, my dearest Abby, you are a beautiful woman of God!

Melissa Rose said...

I've recently fallen in love with skateboarding too so your analogy reminded me of the lessons I've been learning from it. :) I know dropping in was a biggie for me in giving me a clearer perspective on things like trust, fear and the importance of doing things wholeheartedly. That's really cool that you're letting your walk with God reflect what you're learning. Keep it up!

Eldra said...

Thanks, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Excellent post.