Friday, August 20, 2010

Get Up!

Today we passed by an antique shop. Only the rounded side of the building hints thatDescription unavailableImage by theloushe via Flickr at one time it was a roller rink. I didn't need to look at it to be reminded, because it was the site of many painful childhood memories.

As a child, my mother would take me or send me to roller-skating birthday parties at this place. The only problem was, I didn't know how to roller skate.

I would cling to the side of the rink, hanging tightly to the rail as my friends whizzed past me, their giggling and laughing floating in the air beside me. My legs were as wobbly as a newborn colt's. I was petrified of falling down, not realizing that clinging to the rail was as humiliating as landing on the floor. I would sigh with relief when it was time to sit down for cake and ice-cream. Never in all my childhood did I master the skates.

Later, at nineteen, I was determined to teach myself to skate, perhaps to redeem myself from the humiliation of the past. My husband, then my boyfriend, worked at the Christian Life Center of our church. Between the time our skating center was open for members and the time it was reserved for visiting churches to be "locked-in", he would let me have the skating area to myself to practice. Each night, in solitude, I spun around the gym, finally being willing to fall in order to skate. There, all alone, I could fall without anyone to see and more importantly, laugh. Finally mastered the eight wheels that tortured me as a child.

One night, I was enjoying myself, speeding around the gym, feeling quite proud of my new-found skill, when I heard the door open to the track above the gym. I could barely hear the voices above, but I couldn't see who was up on the track. I continued my twirling and turning and suddenly I was traveling no more, but was flat on my behind. I looked up to the track to see our Pastor and the visiting preacher who had spoken at the service that night looking down on me. Solomon said it well:

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

I don't know what the point is in telling you this story, except that I know the Lord worked that childhood humiliation into my life in some way and shape to make me into the person I am today. In fact, it helped to form me into the young woman who was so determined to teach herself to overcome her inability to skate.

Sitting on the cold gym floor that night with the two prominent preachers looking down at me did not return me to the humiliated spot I knew as a child. Instead, I got up and started skating once again. I was determined to master the skates and not have them master me. Staying on the floor was not an option.

Sometimes when we make mistakes in our walk with Lord, our tendency is to want to "stay on the floor". We think we can never master the skates, or we cling to the rail never having the nerve to live by faith and let go of the rail. But the Lord wants us to be skating out in the gym, not clinging to the wall, or sitting of the floor.

I have heard a great preacher say that if we could audibly hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us when we fall and make mistakes we would most likely hear Him say, "Get up!" Maybe He would tell us, "Keep skating!"

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14)

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