04 February 2010

Spiritual Lessons Learned From Skateboarding Part 1

I started skateboarding the summer before my senior year of high school. The summer after I graduated from high school is when I really got hooked. I skated everyday. I built my own mini park that we would move in and out of the street I lived on. I got my brother and any other friend I could into it. In less that two months I had convinced friends to buy boards and learn with me. We rented every video we could from Lee's Sporting Goods and completely immersed ourselves into the scene. I was so hooked that when it came time for me to go into the military the following winter I actually considered not going because I couldn't skate while I was in. Honestly, the only reason I went was because when I had visited a Marine Corps base in Okinawa, Japan while in high school I saw an eight foot half pipe on the base. I was convinced that one day I was going to skate with Tony Hawk, Steve Cabellero, and Christian Hosoi. I was also convinced that going in the military wasn't going to stop this plan. Reality hit a little over a year later when I arrived in Okinawa Japan and found out that as a service member I was NOT allowed to skate the half pipes on ANY of the military bases on the island. Bummer #1! With my heart crushed I gave up skating and the dream of fame and fortune.

Years later, after starting a similar trek in snowboarding, with grandiose ideas of fame and fortune, summers became unbearable. Their was nothing to do in the off season. So, through a brief stint with rollerblading, which I am NOT proud of, I started skating again. Suddenly my dreams came rushing back to me. This time, however, age was not on my side.Pain and injury took longer to heal, real life got in the way, and, all in all, I just plain STUNK! Heartbroken again! Bummer #2!

With the sliver of hope left in my heart, one night we started filming ourselves riding various spots. Excited to see how much like the pros I looked, we raced home, put the tape in the VCR, you remember those, right? As the tape started, anticipation climaxed. To my utter despair, however, I looked nothing like the pros. In fact, I looked nothing like a skater at all. I looked more like a disaster on a plank. Heart CRUSHED! Bummer #3!

Here I thought I was a pretty good skater. I thought, even though I couldn't go huge, I had style. It turns out, not so much. Not only did I find out that I had no style, but I also lacked the slightest shred of talent. What a gut busting night that really turned out to be. I never took skating serious again.

The reason I mention this heartbreaking, tragic story with you is because a few years later, while reminiscing about the past desires to succeed at skating, God showed me an important lesson that I have never forgotten.He taught me about humility, ironically, through humiliation. He taught me to not think higher of myself than I should. He taught me to not let pride build up in an unhealthy way. He taught me to not think of myself so highly that I begin to be filled with pride and put myself on a pedestal.

After years of being a Christian it is easy to forget that I am not perfect. Just because I have overcome many obstacles in my life does not mean that I have the right to put myself on a spiritual pedestal. I am not as good as I think I am. I have to remember that no matter how long I have been at this, there is always something more to learn. No matter how GOOD I think I am, if I saw a video of my life it wouldn't be any better than that skate video I watched of myself. I may truly think I am right on track, but the truth is, I am probably missing some important elements, keys to my success. Thank God His grace covers those moments, but that is only through my willingness to be humble and to know that on my own I can do NOTHING!

I have big dreams in life. I have a huge vision for ministry that I am not able to succeed at on my own. If I had given skateboarding to God from the beginning maybe things would be different. Truth is, I'm not willing to make that mistake in life. I don't want to be sitting around wondering what could have been. Success will come, but only through a commitment to God and His plan for my life. It will only come through a humble approach in life, knowing that I am no better than anybody else on this earth.

I have since met Tony Hawk and am convinced, because of their connection with Christian skateboarding, I will soon meet Christian Hosoi and Steve Cabellero. God is good. He can, and still will, use my love of skateboarding for His glory. How? I'm not really sure, but I can imagine that it will be big.

What are some big dreams you have in life? Have you ever caught yourself on the  "spiritual pedestal" in life?

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1 comment:

  1. I like what you said about replaying the video of your life and how it wouldn't match up to how you envision it. For the portions of the video that are impressive, we would probably re-run it in slow motion only to see that it was the Hand of God enabling us to perform so well.
    BTW- I am glad you came out of the rollerblading closet. You must feel a weight off of your shoulders now.


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