“I’m not ready!”
Knees-knocking, tears threatening to spill over, and heart-pounding, I stared into his eyes. This was too much, I was certain that I couldn’t do what he was asking. The more he pressed, the more I resisted. We were at a stand-still.
“So, you’re going to give up without even trying?”
He seemed disappointed and frustrated with me. I hated to think I was letting him down, but I knew I would fail. Failure was something I feared more than disappointment.
Sensing that my stubbornness had reared its ugly head, he decided to drop the subject for the time being. As we went about our day, I could tell that he wanted to urge me some more, but he let me stew in my own thoughts.
I’m not a quitter. He knew that, and knew that my refusal to even make an attempt would not sit well. Fear of failure, and the pain it could include, began to fade as my bruised pride throbbed.
Just before evening closed out the day, as the golden rays of the setting sun tinted everything rosy, I found him.
“OK. I’ll try. But I need you to help me.”
Walking down the gravel road in front of our house, I slipped my hand into his. He led, I followed, trying frantically to swallow the lump that was forming in my throat. With each step my fears and insecurities resurfaced.
Visions of myself falling flat on my face — bruised, broken, and bleeding — flashed through my mind. My breathing quickened, and I wanted to wrench my hand free and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
He squeezed my fingers in his, reassuring me that I would be fine. Emboldened by his confidence, I took a deep breath and kept walking. Finally, we reached our destination.
“I’ve got you. I’ll be right behind you. Don’t look back, just keep moving forward,” his voice was encouraging and I trusted him.
Inch-by-inch I began to gain ground, slowly at first, then picking up momentum. Exhilarated by this victory over my fears and doubts, I let my focus swerve, and felt myself teeter. Overcompensating for my lapse in judgment, I swung too far the other way and felt my body fly through the air.
Pain, sharp and dull at the same time, washed over my body. Immediately he was by my side, inspecting my wounds and comforting me.
“I told you I wasn’t ready. I knew I would fall.”
“Everybody falls, it’s the getting back up that is important.”
With that, my dad picked up the two-wheeler, brought it over to me, and helped me climb back on.
In many ways my walk with God has mirrored a father-daughter relationship.
There have been times when God’s path for my life seems more treacherous than I would like, and I feel ill-equipped for what He’s asking. Believe it or not, I have flat out refused to obey Him in some of those moments. Of course, quietly and gently the Holy Spirit works on me; persuading me that His intentions towards me are for good and not evil.
Stepping out in faith where God is leading can be exhilarating and terrifying, all at the same time. In those moments of panic, when I feel like running back to safety, the Holy Spirit reminds me that God is my refuge and my strong tower in times of need. The Israelites had many of those moments in the wilderness; places of doubt where the bondage of Egypt was preferable to the unknown of God. Reading their history reminds me that God protects and provides even when all seems lost.
One step in front of another, my confidence mounts as I follow God’s plan and recognize His hand pushing me on to more. How quickly I change from insecurity in my abilities to the belief that I can do it all on our own. Yet, even then my loving Father is right there with me, spurring me on to victory.
Pain, brokenness, and failure are all unfortunate consequences of the Fall. I will experience these seasons in my life. The balm to my wounds is the faithfulness of God, who binds my broken places and makes them whole.
My first attempt at riding a two-wheeler may have ended in a crash, but with the encouragement and assistance of my dad I got back up to try again. I have had my share of bumps, scrapes, and falls traveling God’s path, only through His encouragement and assistance have I been able to get back up to try again.
[This article first appeared here at Ungrind on July 2, 2011. We’re republishing it because … well, we just love it that much. We hope you enjoy it too.]