I’m not going to brag or anything, but I’m not terrible when it comes to athletic events. I’m certainly not the best, yet can hold my own for the most part. My balance is decent and my trips to the gym help to keep me active. However, when you strap both my feet down to a board, I will fall over at some point. You’d think I was the most uncoordinated person ever when it comes to snowboarding.
Let me back up. My husband loves to snowboard, and poor him, but he hitched his wagon to mine and I’m just not quite as experienced with it. I was willing to learn several years ago when we first went together. I usually balk at things out of my comfort zone, especially so early on in a relationship, but for him I was willing to look dumb apparently. That lesson went horribly wrong and I pretty much cried and whined the whole way down the mountain while scooting on my butt. Not my finest moment, and I know it was frustrating to an avid snowboarder who just wanted to enjoy his time versus dealing with a novice who couldn’t even get up.
So, about 5 years later I decided to give snowboarding another go. I felt better and more confident this time. I’d like to say we were just too busy the years in between my snowboard attempts to go, and while that is partly true, my fragile ego probably also needed those years to repair itself after the first try. Haha!
Anyways, I made an effort to dedicate some winter weekends to head to the mountains so Daniel will have some more chances to snowboard. Instead of wimping out and staying in the lodge like I did the last time he wanted to go, I was determined to try again and be better than last time. In hindsight, I can safely say I was definitely better this year than my first attempt, but it still didn’t go quite as planned. Let me tell you about attempt #2.
Daniel’s sister and fiancé went with us this time. She also had never snowboarded before, and I say also, because I barely did anything on my first attempt so I was pretty much starting from scratch too. She and I were snowboard newbies eager to learn. We picked a time to go to a certain resort, and we all were excited thinking it was going to be so great and fun. Well, as we drive closer we see all the parking lots are slammed. I did not remember it being that crowded 5 years ago. It was crazy! Luckily, we did find one spot pretty close to the resort, but we still needed to grab the shuttle. Then we had to wait in line to get some rental equipment and our lift tickets. Daniel, who only needed a lift ticket, was beyond ready to get going. He said he didn’t care if I was terrible today, and that if I ever wanted to try again, I’m getting my own board. That’s how bad the lines were. I’ll admit my anxiety was creeping in when I saw all those people, but at this point still fairly optimistic about giving it another go.
Once we finally made it through and had all our stuff, we began the trek to get in line for a lift. Except. we didn’t realize the line we had gotten in went straight to the top, and as we got closer we could see the sign that clearly said “THIS LIFT NOT FOR BEGINNERS.” Daniel’s sister and I were jumping out of line at that point, and although her fiancé was an experienced skier, also came with us. We told Daniel to go do his thing while she and I practiced. We did our best while Daniel was able to enjoy his time, but because it was so incredibly crowded it was hard to even practice safely. She and I both were a little nervous to practice on the baby slope for fear we would run into someone or someone would run into us.
We spent some time practicing, and we definitely got bumped into a few times but no major bumps or bruises. Daniel caught up with us and we decided it was time to go on a lift, not the biggest one, but the bunny slope one. He had already checked things out and told us there were less people on the bigger slopes. Politely, he was basically telling us to get away from the practice area and it’s time for the real thing.
The lift was probably the best part of this whole adventure. We made it off the lift with only a little difficulty. With my husband’s guidance, I picked a seemingly safe spot to sit down and strap my other foot in on my board. Daniel and I were pretty established in our spot while we waited on his sister and her fiancé to catch up to us. As I get ready to get going, I feel it before I hear it.
WHAM. This woman on skies crashes in to me and hits me hard upside the head with one of her poles. She landed off to the side and I’m frozen in one place, trying really hard not to cry as Daniel is asking if I’m okay. Andrea and Andy are checking on me too. All we hear this woman say is “Oh, I tried to avoid her. I was trying to get my kid.”
That’s it. She smacks into me hard, flails her poles as she goes down and effectually knocking me upside the head with said pole. Not even one sorry. Boy, was I upset and angry. I had been feeling confident and excited up to that point, and we barely had gotten started going down the slope. My excitement was flattening with each hastily brushed away tear. Just my luck.
I did my best making it down the mountain, but after that incident, my confidence was low and nerves were shot. Every time I fell, I would get really anxious someone would run into me again. I struggled getting up multiple times, and even sprained my thumb, which only made the situation worse. However, after lots of effort and poor Daniel running back and forth between me and his sister, we made it down (or close enough to where we could walk the rest of the way safely). Daniel didn’t get to snowboard at all on that run, and did his best trying to keep us safe.
While I still cried on this second attempt, I did not end up as bruised as the first go round! That was a plus, but it also wasn’t my favorite memory either. Although, a few days afterwards with a still sore head, I was able to make a parallel with my unfortunate incident.
The woman who crashed into me and didn’t even bother with apologizing or checking to see if I was okay reminded me of those who are very quick to justify their mistakes. Their mess-ups. Their sin. She was in the wrong, and whether or not she could have prevented the accident is besides the point. She hit me and immediately justified it instead of admitting she hurt me and apologizing. I can understand she was was worried about her child and that she didn’t mean to hit me. I completely understand, but that doesn’t mean it still didn’t hurt physically. On the other hand, maybe she wasn’t sorry, and if that was the case then at least she was honest…
Unbelievers and believers alike, we’ve all done it. Justified our screw ups instead of humbling ourselves in the event when it happens.
- Oops, forgot to empty the dishwasher like my parent or spouse asked me to. Well, it was because I was so tired from work or school and needed to rest first. It was just one time.
- Oops, I got a speeding ticket on my way to work, but I was in a rush because my dog made me late this morning. She puked on the rug and I had to clean it up first.
- Oops, I blamed my sibling for something I definitely did. Oh well, there’s plenty of times I got the punishment when they were the ones to mess up.
- Oops, my co-worker is mad at me for not telling her I changed the plans before everyone else knew. Well, she just doesn’t understand the stress I am under in trying to plan these events in the first place.
- Oops, I left someone out when asking people to volunteer and now they are upset and think I don’t care about them. Well, they should have just volunteered for it without me having to ask.
- Oops, I said a curse word because my boyfriend is trying to teach me how to snowboard and I’m getting frustrated. It’s his fault for not being a better teacher and telling me to “just do it!”
Hmmm, maybe that last one was too detailed, and may or may not be an actual example of my mess-up instead of a hypothetical.
Anyways, I also thought about all those people at the resort on that day. It made me think of places I’ve worked, the church, communities, etc., where I felt inexperienced at times, and even though I’m doing my best to trying to keep a positive attitude, someone will come along and shake my confidence without even an acknowledgement they were in the wrong. The times that stand out the most to me were places that promoted a faith-based foundation. The people who did it? People who most would consider mature believers. Are you surprised? I’m not.
I feel like believers sometimes forget we still mess up. We still have the power to hurt others, and even if you are washed new in the blood of Jesus, you still have a responsibility to own up to where you fall short, even if you didn’t intentionally mean to mess up. Especially if you crash into a young believer, a newbie just starting out, and cause them to stumble. No one is perfect. Not even those who have been leading within Christ’s church for a while.
You don’t just pray once to apologize for all you’ve done and all you will do, and then you never have to apologize to God or anyone else ever again. That’s not how the Holy Spirit works. When we sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrongdoing in order we may deny our fleshly desires and turn to God. When it happens to me, I am prompted to then formally apologize to those who I wronged. There are also times when I’ve chickened out from doing just that too. I’ll admit it. Just in writing this post, I have been looking back thinking about when I may have unintentionally hurt someone and need to clear the air between us.
Seeking forgiveness and reconciliation between one another is biblical. Humbling ourselves to ask for forgiveness, not just because we want to get out of trouble, or just so everything is made right again, means to sincerely admit you were in the wrong. And that’s hard.
When we mess up, we must first go to Him, sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness for our shortcoming and mistake, and then ask for guidance in how to proceed. I hope the next step is to be the bigger person, swallowing one’s pride, and apologizing to the one who has been hurt. Don’t keep going with your own agenda after you’ve left them with a huge knot on their head in the snow. We are to help one another up when we fall, not leave them behind, and we definitely need to encourage the one who fell to keep going. We lift up in the name of Jesus. We shouldn’t be blaming each other and knocking the other down just to advance down the mountain, no matter what the reason. Chasing your child seems like a good reason, but if you knock someone down in your effort to help someone else, it’s as if you’re saying that person you trampled doesn’t matter as much to God. You never know what God has in store for the one you bulldozed over (even by accident), but the fact you met at any given point in this life He is weaving, I bet it certainly will matter to His greater plan. When it comes to working for the Lord, it’s not about you or your family members just making it down the mountain, but helping those along the way to further increase who runs the race, who finishes the fight faithfully (2 Timothy 4:7).
Pride has no room in ministry. If its present, it can overtake and harden your heart. We are to humbly go to the One who created us with our problems, with our hurt, pain, joy, praises, etc. James 4:10 reads, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” He alone makes us whole again, whether you’re the one who did the hurting or if you were the one who was hurt. It’s difficult to admit when we are in the wrong. Trust me, I know. I love hearing it when I was right about something or I did a good job. But it doesn’t feel good when it’s at the expense of someone else.
I’ve looked up to several believers in my life, and they have disappointed and let me down at times. Co-workers, church members, teachers, family members. Sometimes I feel as if they knocked me down in my walk. I also have to learn how to forgive on my end, especially if I never hear an apology from them. That one is just as hard as admitting when I’m in the wrong. I’m also reminded that they are human. I have no place in idolizing them or using their actions for my basis on how to act. Jesus alone should be my example.
I’ve been the one who was hurt, and Lord knows how many times I’ve been the one who has done the hurting to another. I pray in either situation you turn to Him who “bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live in righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed,” (1 Peter 2:24).
For those who fell when you were just starting out in your walk, keep going even if you feel like all eyes are on you. Keep going even when you feel like quitting and crying right where you are. You can cry a little, but get back out there and dust yourself off. If it is God’s Will, you certainly won’t be on your own in the process. You can also cry once you reach the bottom too. I sure did once I had a moment to myself, at that resort and in ministry.
Maybe I needed that smack in the head by the unknown woman skier. I probably did. I wouldn’t have written this post without that experience. Divine inspiration and intervention doesn’t always come just when I’m actively reading the Bible, working through a Bible study, or listening on a pew at church. Sometimes it’s on a mountain, with a bruised head, and tear-stained cheeks. Thank you Jesus for nudging me to write at the right time and place. You remind me that You are everywhere, and not just contained in the four walls of a building dedicated to You. Continue to show me the ugly parts of my heart and clean them out where I have failed you. Please use me to show humility to others in that you may be glorified.