Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Parable of the Foam Pit

Jesus taught in Parables. Here is my attempt at a parable.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to go play at a gymnastics tumbling gym. After warming up my playful side on the "easy" stuff, my friend Stephen started encouraging me to do a flip over the vault. For those of you who don't know, this is a vault.
The idea is that you run at it with all your might, jump on a small spring board and fly through the air using your hands to push off the vault and do a flip. 

Who knows why I tried it, but I did. You know what happened? I did a turtle move and "gracefully" slid on my stomach with my arms and legs flailing. The next thing I knew, I dove head first into the foam pit. 
This is probably what I looked like

Even though it was terrifying and I failed my first attempt, I now knew at least one thing that I did wrong, and I got back up and tried again. The next time I tried I did a somewhat awkward, accidental and unexpected flip into the foam pit, where I landed on my back. I didn't try it again, but if I had, I am sure I would have done slightly better.

Here is the lesson:

Sometimes, we try new things, and they turn out in a face plant in the foam pit. But we have to struggle out of the foam pit for several minutes, get back up and try again. Of course, as soon as we get to the starting line again, we feel almost as scared as the first time, but eventually it gets easier. Soon we perfect the flip and can do it without the foam pit. (like Stephen) However, that means we have to stand there ready to run straight at that stupid springboard once more. It is scary because until you have done it several times, you have know idea how the flip is going to turn out, but you have to trust that the foam pit will catch you. 

There are things in our lives that take several attempts. But its okay if we don't get it right the first time. Life is a process. Don't get so caught up in the fact that you aren't doing things perfectly, and just keep flipping changing a couple things at a time until you get there. Remember we are in the process, not at the end.

Be patient. Keep trying. Look forward and get out of the foam pit whenever you find yourself stuck.

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