Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ride That Slide!

Today's story comes to you complements of my mom.

My little bro, Justin, is a wonderfully unintentional teacher at times. Last weekend, he got to visit a fun farm with Mom and some of his sibling buddies. This farm features a corn maze and a lot of other delightful attractions, including America's Longest Slide!

In case you ever happen to encounter this prestigious slide, you should know how to get the best ride out of it. First, grab your feed sack. Get situated on top of the sack, then pull your feet in and hug your knees to your chest to make yourself into a bullet. Make sure no part of your body is touching the slide....push off and let gravity do the rest!

Justin, however, has never been through Sliding 101 and has his own ideas of how to make this work.

Each time the next row of sliders gets into position, the slide monitor gives his little spiel, including the following admonition: "Do not hold onto the sides of the slide on your way down!"

Justin is not listening to the speech, nor does he care. All he's focused on is getting his feed sack and making sure his buddies are beside him and going down! And every time he went down, he tried to control his descent by grabbing onto the edges on either side of his lane. The result was that he toppled backwards, had no control over his body, and ended up spinning sideways, losing his feed sack, and once even crossed halfway into another lane before coming to a stop with about 15 feet of slide left!  He then tried to propel himself forward using his hands, in order to get to the bottom of the slide. He found out the first time that trying to stand up and walk to the bottom was not a good idea!

Please enjoy the visual demonstration below! (You can see better if you make it bigger. Justin is the one in the middle.)

Maybe you've never tried to stop yourself mid-slide on a sliding board. But have you ever approached life this way? Do you sometimes try to control the trajectory of your life...in your job, in circumstances, in finances, in relationships? Have you ever tried to confine parts of your life into a box, like a safe zone, rather than face something unknown that feels wild and scary? We may even see this as being smart, cautious, and wise. But what if the cost of caution is our freedom? What if we never experience the fullness of the life God has for us because we're focused on playing it safe? 

Take a lesson from Justin. You may end up knocked on your back, or turned sideways, or prematurely running out of momentum! 

What if, instead, we make ourselves less...get small and let God be bigger? What if we just relax and fall into Jesus and let the Holy Spirit take us like gravity? What if we let Him make us brave and take the adventure that comes to us from His hand? Sure, it's scary...but we might be amazed how much fun life can be! 

If my life and yours are God's work of art, we can trust Him to keep us on track. He has a hope and a future prepared for us beyond anything we can imagine! 

So let go of the sides....let go the fears, the doubts, the insecurities, the self-protection, the pride...we weren't made to hang onto these. They're thieves that steal joy and mar peace. They only drag us down and hold us back. The only thing we need to cling to is Jesus. 

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10


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