Striding with Faith

Leap and glide.

They are the words I repeat to myself when cross-country skiing. I’m a beginner, so repeating “leap and glide” reminds me to stride on my skis. For if I just push my ski forward without the leap and glide, I don’t go far with more effort. 

Some cross-country skiers call this move “drop and pop.” Basically, you gain momentum in your stride to glide. But I am tentative because the glide scares me. Will I slip? Will I go too fast? Will I fall forward on my face? 

And, ironically, it is those fears that can cause me to loose stride! When I loose faith in myself, and allow doubts to enter my mind, I lose out on the possibility of a wonderful glide. 

A Lesson of Faith

 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:29-32

Because Peter put his focus on the wind, he became afraid. His doubt took over his faith and he began to sink. It’s easy for us to begin to fear when we take our focus off Jesus. When we doubt our abilities, we are placing our focus on ourselves. When we allow the troubles of this world (and there will always be troubles) to dishearten us, we are relying on our own strength. We lose hope.

The good news is Jesus is always there. We can refocus on Him whose presence is always with us. As children of God, we have eternal life. As long as we do not turn our backs on God, nothing of this world can claim us. Like Peter, when in fear and doubt, may we turn our mind and hearts back to Jesus who steadies us.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Corinthians 16:11

It is going to take practice for my cross country skiing glide to get better. My mind may know what my body requires to “leap and glide,” but it will take time for my muscles to learn to respond to this new skill. As followers of Christ, it takes intentional practice for us to respond with the faith Jesus offers. Today may you know God’s faithful presence.

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  1. Lynn, you shared one of my favorite stories from the gospels. I have to intentionally remember to keep my eyes set on Jesus. Continually. You are right, it is a discipline and it takes time, but it is so worth every effort. And again, these photos are just beautiful. Those mountains reminded me today to keep lifting my gaze upward!

    1. Hi Joanna, Those mountains do make us look upward! I live in the prairies but blessed to be close to a mountain rocky range. Yet, our gaze is to be on Him no matter where we are! Yes, it takes times, these disciplines, but thankful His presence is always with us. Have a blessed day!

  2. This is a great analogy, Lynn, and I always love the story of Peter walking on the water. Thank you for the reminder to keep our focus on Jesus and for the refreshing photos that point us to God’s beauty and power! Love and blessings to you!

    1. Hi Trudy, I love your words: “refreshing photos that point us to God’s beauty and power!” What a blessing and encouragement those words of yours are for me! And you put into words exactly why I share the photos including to invoke God’s peace in our hearts and minds. Thank you my friend!

    1. Hi Melissa! I like how you say “stay in conversation with God.” I’m working on this and still spend most of my time talking to myself or others! Reading His word daily is definitely a wonderful thing to keep us in conversation with God. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Lynn, great object lesson here! Both cross country skiing and trusting God involve faith and courage! certainly less focus on our fears in either case!

  4. You’ve captured a winter wonderland, friend … which is different than all things gray in this neck of the woods. Glorious, calm, peaceful, pure. Thank you for brightening my day.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  5. I’ve heard that cross country skiing is one of the most vigorous forms of exercise there is. So I applaud you for doing it!

    “As followers of Christ, it takes intentional practice for us to respond with the faith Jesus offers. Today may you know God’s faithful presence.” Thank you, Lynn.

  6. A wonderful analogy, Lynn. Love all the photos of winter loveliness also. Those key words of cross-country skiing, “leap” and “glide,” could be applied to our relationship with Christ. We take leaps of faith, but we can glide on all his glorious attributes and promises. It’s while leaping and glideiing that the fun of faith really happens!

  7. I love your analogy! I also love cross-country skiing. As with anything in life, we must intentionally practice if we want to improve. But how often do we think once a week at church is all the practice we need for a vibrant relationship with God?

  8. I have never cross country skied but I want to try it someday. I am a downhill skier. Fear keeps me from accomplishing the goals God has for me. I am working on persisting through the fear with my focus on God. I love the story of Peter. We must keep our eyes on Jesus. Thank you. I plan to feature your post on Friday for Grace & Truth Link-Up on Embracing the Unexpected. Maree

  9. Lynn, I tried cross-country skiing a few times when I was younger. It’s fun, scary, and exhilarating. I was always afraid I would break a leg maneuvering one of those long skis around a tight corner. 🙂 I love that you’re learning this. I also appreciate Peter. He was so honest with Jesus about his fears and in his trust. I love that he was the only one who even tried to get out of the boat! 🙂 May we both choose to leap and glide in our relationships with the Lord!

  10. Striding is what I can’t do,
    and in my walk I limp
    for what I am now going through
    makes me quite the gimp.
    Cancer’s in the femur now,
    a hiking staff’s my friend,
    and sometimes I wonder just how
    this thing is gonna end.
    Want to cry but tears won’t come,
    and what would they achieve?
    Can’t be down and can’t be glum,
    gotta help my friends believe
    that when you face the worst of days
    there’s still cause to offer praise.

  11. I have never attempted to ski but many efforts to learn new skills have required me to intentionally practice. As my grandmother used to say, “Practice makes perfect.” I don’t know about the perfect, but it does cause improvement, confidence in the skill and eventually the ability to teach someone else how to do it. Your words here “As followers of Christ, it takes intentional practice for us to respond with the faith Jesus offers.” stung a little. I practice my faith regularly, but sometimes I act as if it is forced practice. Like when Mamma made me practice my flute lessons. I want to respond with the faith Jesus offers which requires intentional practice rather than forced. Love this.

    1. Improvement and confidence comes from practice. So true! You reminded me of the saying about never forgetting how to ride a bike, but when we consistently ride, our confidence grows. I understand the “forced practice.” My bible study homework can also feel like forced practice and something I need to check off. But I think that can be okay, too, as it develops a spiritual habit of being in His word.

  12. I’ve only cross country skied once in my life and didn’t know what I was doing. I do know the fear of losing control on a slippery slope. It does take practice and choosing to rely on Jesus.