The Spiritual Map

I suffered through ski lessons. My daughter’s best friend and I couldn’t even get up the four foot slidy hill sideways to join the class. But I huffed and puffed and fell and got up and made it to the top of the precipice all the while laughing so hard my belly shook–under five inches of downey fabric. I think the class laughed, too.

The test was to make it down the “Bunny Hill.” After three falls, I finished. I passed the Steamboat Springs beginner’s ski class. Barely. Exhausted and proud of my ski-class-accomplishment, I smiled a frozen smile.

My skiing friend, Linda, met me after class. She’d been skiing grown-up slopes while I grappled with bunnies.

“You passed?”

“Yes! Let me show you where I skied!” I grabbed the map out of her three inch thick mittens.

I surveyed the map like I was looking for Waldo. I spotted it a mere quarter inch from the bottom edge.

Outside, my frozen smile remained. Inside, I pouted. Instead of tackling another section of the run, I opted for lunch at the lodge. I took the ski lift.

I thought I’d skied a gigantic mountain when in fact my accomplishment had barely registered on the map.

I’ve found that spiritually, too. The Lord convicts me of sin, I forsake it and think I’ve accomplished something. I feel like I’m on top of the spiritual-placemat-map. Then I sin again. It’s then I realize I’m on the bunny hill.

In fact, I’m not even the one who pulls myself up to keep going. It’s the Holy Spirit. He lifts me up and encourages me along. The way he does that is through God’s Word. He might bring to mind Philipians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Or Psalm 103: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remember that we are dust.”

He knows I’m gonna fall, he helps me up, and he still loves me. I’m dust. Dust that’s formed by him.

And he knows I can’t ski.


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