Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

While going to Seminary I worked for one winter at a local downhill ski area. Most of the time my assignment was to ‘man the bunny hill’ tow rope. This was a pretty cushy job during the day because I could read while on duty.

This was also the hill where ski instructors would teach people how to ski. Their very first lessons usually started right in front of me. I’d never skied before in my life so I took this opportunity to learn the essentials by observation.

Since we were allowed free lift tickets and rentals on the day of our shift I decided to try skiing. Using the new knowledge I’d gained by watching the ski lessons I ventured out on the hills, starting, of course with my very own bunny hill. In time I graduated to the bigger hills and, although not an Olympic caliber skier by any means, felt pretty confident that I could tackle the big hills. I prided myself on the fact that I’d never fallen. Not once.

One night a group of friends invited me to go skiing with them and I took them up on it. I was a bit nervous on the first few runs but was pleasantly surprised of my own confidence…that is until the offer of ‘ski tag’ came along. The group decided to play tag on the slopes and invited me to participate. The object was just like regular tag. The person that was ‘it’ would have to catch up to and touch another member of the group.

The game required speed, some level of ability, and most of all…risk. Since I saw no way to refuse the offer and keep my male ego intact, I joined in on the game. That night I completely shattered my pride-filled record of ‘never falling’. Numerous times! However, I had never had as much fun skiing as I did that night.

Many times we approach life in the same way I learned to ski. Some of us never move away from the tow rope booth. We are content to watch from the sidelines. We gain knowledge on how to ‘do life’. We are even given opportunities to use that knowledge. But fear or lack of confidence keeps us warm and safe inside the guard shack.

Others of us take the opportunities to join in the game. We strap on the skis. We join the crowds. But we cautiously protect ourselves from any harm as much as possible. Maybe we’ve been hurt before and don’t want to risk hurt again. We could still harbor bruises from people who have been critical of us. We’ve believed the lies others have told us about our inability to pursue our dreams. Sometimes the loudest voices come from deep inside our own souls.

Be willing to take some ‘spiritual’ risks in your life. Do something you have always wanted to try but were afraid of failure. Dust off some of those dreams you have had in your past and ask yourself, and God, why you shouldn’t try to fulfill them. Then begin the process of pursuing that dream. It may not happen, but at least you have tried. Don’t let the fear of failure handcuff you. Don’t let the fear of failure or the words of others limit you. Jesus says that if we play cautions, protect all we have, and never be willing to take some risks in life, we end up never gaining the best he has for us.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that I still struggle with stepping into the ‘game of life’ for you. I’ve let my past, or the fear of failure limit me for far too long. I ask that you would empower me to take some risks for your Kingdom. Empower me with confidence and wisdom to use the gifts you’ve given me for your glory. In Jesus name I pray Amen.