A woman stands watching skaters at an indoor skating rink in a mall. She approaches the skating rink hesitantly. There are only a few people on the ice. Nothing in her appearance would imply she belongs here. She looks homeless, wrapped in several layers of clothing and wearing heavy boots. She carries several over-stuffed bags that look like they contain all of her earthly possessions. Perhaps they do.
She stands at the edge of the rink watching a young woman glide across the ice – graceful, skilled, beautiful. She stares with a sadness that has simmered for years deep in her heart. And over those years she has taken on added layers of clothing, her muscles have gone slack and her heart no longer dreams. But then she rents a pair of skates. She puts them on — they feel awkward and unnatural, but she approaches the rink. As she steps onto the ice, this woman is a skater. She has skates and she is on the ice – she is a skater.Yet for her to truly be the skater that her heart longs to be, she will have to make some changes.
This snapshot speaks to the human condition, really. We so often are living with unfulfilled hopes and dreams…’if only’…’one day….’I can’t’…’not my fault’…. We wish and hope for better or different but we don’t take steps to change. Too often we have allowed the stuff of life to weigh us down, crush our hopes and rob us. Please understand, I’m not talking about pipe dreams or fantasies. I can wish all day that I could be a jockey: I’m 5ft 9 in and I weigh more than 100 pounds (that’s all you’re getting), I am a woman of a certain age and I have arthritis plaguing me. Being a jockey is not a viable goal.
But there are things I desire for myself: to be healthier and more fit, to make a difference, to be active, to honor God…I have plenty of dreams and desires. Wanting these things will not make them happen, but there are steps I can take now so that one day they might. Unfortunately, those things I can do require discipline and commitment…like eating right, walking, perhaps exercise, take a class, join a team or volunteer somewhere.
What is it you want? Who do you want to be? Put down the excess baggage, put on some skates and get on the ice. Start somewhere. Do something. Its time to move past just wishing and hoping.
Consider day one for our woman at the rink.
- She sets down her bags and puts on skates. Maybe she hangs onto the wall and circles once. Exhausted, she removes her skates and sits down.
- Day two she sets down her bags, puts on her skates and takes off her heavy coat. She circles the rink again but this time is able to glide a little without hanging on to the wall.
- Day three she is wearing just one layer of clothing…you get the idea.
- Sometime in the not too distant future this woman has begun to skate – sometimes quite awkwardly – but she keeps skating. She is healthier and stronger because she is more active.
- She stands taller because she is becoming…herself.
- She may never be an Olympian, but this woman is going from defeated dreamer and observer to spending every day in the freedom she was made for. You see, even before she ever started skating, she was a skater. She was made for this…she just didn’t realize it.
The core of this snapshot has to do with freedom…the freedom to be who you were created to be and to live your best life. Whether that means becoming something or getting rid of what weighs you down, we are made for freedom. A part of my journey has been about fighting my addiction to food – its my pacifier, my anesthetic, my comfort and my answer to every emotional need. This has not worked well for me. Gaining freedom in this area is like setting down the bags, taking off the boots, and removing a few layers of excess clothing. Learning to deal with my emotions in a healthier way is like putting on the skates and stepping onto the ice. Awkward for sure, a bit scary and certainly not smooth. But it is a start toward my freedom.
Ultimate freedom in this life and the next comes solely in our relationship with Jesus. A ‘yes’ to God through Jesus is the source and power for us to live truly free. We are created to be free of addictions, shame, evil and all that robs us of our best life. The ability to live free of all that works against us is found in the power of God within us giving us the desire and ability to live well. Oh how I want this for you…and for me.
Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. 3Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.
1 John 3:1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”