One of the great joys of parenting is watching your child grow up, discover life through their senses and begin to move through the stages of incremental independence. One of those big stages is crossed when your child learns how to walk.
I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to the walking department. Maybe it was because I had brothers that were seven and nine years older than me (probably more prone to carry me as helpful siblings), or maybe it was because I was one of those easy kids that would play in a box for hours? For some reason, I took to walking a little later than others. Maybe it was because I was beefy and my legs weren’t strong enough? Who knows, but in my mom’s words…
”Your first ‘steps’ were on all fours for quite a while. Thinking it would encourage you if we put you in the grass, we thought that if you did fall it would be softer. Instead you screamed like the world was coming to an end. You were about four before you would finally walk on grass. I never really worried about you falling and getting hurt, you were well padded.” (ouch)!
We have video of each of our kids as they were learning to walk. One of my favorites is the video we have of CJ learning how to take steps. Check it out (I must have been going through a Van Halen kick when I made this video 7 years ago!)
Kids walking is such a funny experience. We’ve had friends who had kids that were so determined to walk. They’d stumble and fall, hit their heads on a table, fall back land on a pitch fork and then roll over onto burning embers, and the kid would hop back up and get back to trying. Celina was more like me, in that she took her sweet little time to learn how to walk.
But whether a child takes to it quickly, or chooses to walk months later than most children their age, the process is the same. They have to choose to learn despite dozens and dozens of failed attempts. No child is born walking (despite what many proud parents assert!).
It’s funny how we grow up and forget that lesson. Most of us want to jump into new jobs, new relationships or new activities and perform at a high level forgetting that learning happens through failure. When the child realizes they can’t walk while stepping on their own feet, they soon learn to separate them out in order to take steps. The mistakes create the perfect classroom for learning.
I love talking about the Overboard Life — living for God out of our comfort zone, and doing remarkable work for Him. The concept comes out of Matthew 14 where the 12 disciples are in a boat, on a lake in the middle of a storm. During the middle of the night, Jesus decides to go out and meet them in this storm by walking on the water! The 12 guys see this figure strolling on the stormy waves and the Bible says they “Cried out in fear.” Remember, these are grown men who are screaming in terror!
Jesus calms them with reassuring words and then Peter says, “If it’s really you Jesus, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus tells Peter to come on out and then Peter does the unthinkable: he actually walks on water toward Jesus. But just as the story gets crazy good, Peter realizes how nuts this is and he turns his focus from Jesus to the wind and waves, and suddenly he starts to sink. Jesus reaches out a hand and saves Peter and as they walk back to the boat, Jesus asks him, “Why did you doubt?”
You see, Peter was doing the impossible with God’s help. While 11 disciples stayed in the safety and comfort of the boat, Peter was willing to climb out, and to learn how to walk on water. He didn’t do it perfectly the first time, but he tried, and through his failure he learned a valuable lesson. So it’s no surprise that after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, it’s Peter we see that is leading the church. The one who was willing to learn how to walk on water, would be the one that was able to lead Jesus’ followers.
I have fond memories of watching my children learn how to walk, just as my parents have fond memories of watching each of their kids learn how to walk. And I’m sure God has fond memories of watching His children learn how to walk in faith, stumbling around from time-to-time, but slowly getting stronger with each step.
How’s your walk of faith coming along? Staying in the boat with everyone else is easy, and it’s very comfortable and relatively safe. The problem is, Jesus isn’t in the boat, He’s out on the water calling you and me out to Him. Will you take a step of faith today? Will you move out even if you don’t know exactly how? Will you be willing to stumble in order to learn how to walk trusting Him?
3 down, 37 to go.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!