cross country skiing & failure

What I thought I looked like

Yesterday I had the opportunity to cross-country ski with my mother-in-law on some beautiful trails near our house. I had these grand memories of skiing when I lived in Soldotna as an elementary student. I remember half enjoying it and half dreading it because it was a lot of work. I really didn’t give it much thought yesterday. We jumped in the car and drove a mile or two to the trail parking lot. After we realized we accidentally had grabbed the downhill skis and drove back home to get the x-country ones, we got ready and hit the trail.

What I actually looked like

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I picked it up again. I felt fairly confident as we glided across the flat snow. Then my confidence got the best of me as we came to the bottom of our first incline. I didn’t have the skills to make it up the hill with any kind of grace. I looked like a fool. My poles were slipping and wouldn’t grip the snow. My arms were working over time. I stopped to take a picture of a frisbee golf hole partially submerged in snow and found myself slipping backwards down the hill. My ski’s could not find a nice smooth rhythm.

We were out for about an hour. There were moments it got a little better and my confidence grew. But mostly I had no clue what I was doing! But you know what? I had fun. The snow was beautiful. The barren trees whispered their readiness for spring. I love my mother-in-law and it was great spending time with her. It was neat seeing all the trails other people had made off the main one. Such explorers!

It got me thinking about how we try new things in the church and in life. Are you willing to look like a fool? Too often we wait until the idea is perfected, organized and determined effective before we attempt it. I’m sure there are appropriate times to act with caution. But too much of our lives go unlived because we’re terrified of falling and failing.

Do you want to try something new?

Do it.

You may fail spectacularly. Who cares. Get up and try again.

Craig Groeschel: “What has God called you to do that you’re afraid to attempt? Be willing to fail.”

Chip & Dan Heath: “Our failures don’t have to be hell; they provide us insight. A tolerance for failure is built into a growth mindset. View your talents, skills and failures as muscles. Work them out and they’ll get better. Failure is an early warning sign of success.”

God: My grace is enough for you, because my power is made perfect in your weakness.

P.S. As we arrived back at the parking lot to head home, I pushed over a little hill that I knew I shouldn’t have. Just as my confidence had grown in the last hour, I slipped and fell pretty hard on my side. Epic fail. 🙂 Failure may be necessary but it still hurts.

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