He looked so smooth riding down the street on his skateboard. It was the seventies, the era when bikes had lost their sheen and skateboards became the new cool way to travel.
It seemed easy and effortless. I studied the start. Left foot on the board. Right foot…push, push, push and stand. Simple…right?
I borrowed my brother’s skateboard to test my mental notes. Wedging the front wheels into a sidewalk crack, I took a few minutes to practice standing. OK, I got this.
Whoosh! The skateboard flew. But not while staying under me. As the board rocketed behind me I had a surge of bad adrenaline just before I felt the thud of my hands and knees on the concrete.
My hands burned from the sidewalk abrasion but my left knee seemed to have taken the brunt of the force.
I bet you remember skinned knees too. You look at the place of pain thinking the bone should be sticking out but all you see is the raw skin that is itself in shock. And you wait for the blood to start flowing but not faster than your tears.
That was a bad one. I still have the scar to prove it.
And…I have never touched a skateboard since.
Falling – I hate it.
It’s not the adrenaline rush – it’s the anticipated pain.
I guess that’s why I’ve never understood extreme sports. Don’t they know they are definitely going to get hurt?
The truth is I secretly envy stunt women. There is a woman who has conquered her fear of falling. But maybe that’s because she has learned HOW to fall.
Did you know that WALKING is really CONTROLLED FALLING? It’s true!
It all goes back to our development as children. In stages a baby learns to sit, crawl, stand, and walk.
In sitting we learn to be upright and stay within the center of the pull of gravity. When the core of our bodies is in the middle of the pull of gravity we stay upright.
I know, I just got all Physics-y on you. Hang with me.
As we are learning to sit up, we fall. We tip to the right and left and without any thinking we develop reflexes to protect ourselves. Or at least we try to protect the most important part of our body, the head. The technical term for this reflex is protective extension.
Protective extension is why the most common fall injury on skateboards, ice skates and roller skates is broken wrists. What breaks the fall is usually your arms splayed out before you in protective extension to keep you from a major headache.
That’s why before we walk we have to learn where the center of gravity is in our bodies (we call it standing).
Walking is willingly moving your body into falling and choosing to control the reflex to protect.
As your body moves out of the center of gravity your leg moves forward in protective extension. When your foot lands, the center of gravity can be re-established between two feet and then you begin to fall forward again, repeating this cycle over and over again.
The result is
Falling on Purpose.
This gives me a whole new understanding of walking in the Spirit.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
I tend to think walking in the Spirit is this pristine and simple state. But thinking of it in the realms of controlled falling brings me back to this idea…
Radically following the leading of the Spirit is often surrounded by my fears.
What will people think?
Will they believe me?
What if I’m wrong?
What if I only thought I heard God’s voice?
And God brings me back to many verses that speak of when I fall.
Psalm 145:14The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand
I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
He will be there to hold me when I fall
He will set me upright to stand and then walk again.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
He has no greater joy than to know that I am taking the risk of falling forward, on purpose, into His leading.
Is your fear keeping you from Walking?