I never thought that the employees at a bowling alley would know my shoe size by heart.
About four months ago, my husband got the great idea to buy my brother-in-law, Michael, a summer bowling pass for his college graduation gift. And, as bowling is no fun alone, he sacrificially (haha) bought us passes as well in order to accompany Michael.
Initially, I thought we would all go just a handful of times throughout the summer months, but boy was I wrong. Brian and Michael are apparently natural bowlers. Then, you add in a little brotherly competition, and you have the makings of two men who want to bowl all the time.
Because of this, the inevitable embarassment has happened…most of the employees retrieve our bowling shoes without being reminded of our sizes.
Now, one might think that after bowling all summer, I should be pretty good by now. Sadly, that person would be wrong. Without the help of a coach and proper muscle memory, my accuracy continues to be consistently inconsistent.
I’ll bowl two strikes in a row and then leave the next five frames open. Or I’ll crush a split and then gutter the ball on my next throw.
I can’t help but compare this to our own walks with Jesus.
We can be striving to follow the Lord with the best intentions, but without training and gaining muscle memory, we are all going to be consistently inconsistent. We may pick up a tip here and there, but that won’t help our long-term walk with the Lord. He desires commitment, teachability, and putting into practice what we have learned.
I am immediately thinking of Esther, Abraham, Moses, David, and John. All of these “Bible Heroes” obviously struggled at times, but we look up to them because of their great acts of faith.
-Esther putting her life on the line to save her fellow Jews
-Abraham trusting for the impossible
-Moses believing God to part waters to rescue the Israelites from the fast approaching soldiers
-David killing a giant with a sling shot and a few small stones
-John proclaiming the coming Messiah regardless of what people thought of him.
With all of these examples, we need to remember that these individuals didn’t gain great faith overnight. They strived and failed and tried again. They learned the hard way, and grew in their faith. They read Scripture, they prayed, they obeyed God’s teachings, and fellowshipped with others who loved God. We read about them in Scripture because of what God did through them, and because they chose to trust and obey even when it didn’t make sense.
We can’t expect to see our fellowship with Jesus strengthened without first putting into practice what we have learned, and then trusting Him when He calls us to obey.
I don’t know where you are today in your relationship with the Lord, but I do know that I can confidently say He desires for us to listen and obey. He has given us all we need to know right there in the Bible. We just need to put it into practice.
I can’t expect to get any better at bowling by just showing up to the alley a few times a week. I need to be coached and taught proper technique. And then I need to throw the ball down the lane. I need to put into practice what I’ve learned and not get discouraged when I don’t immediately improve. Muscle memory, it doesn’t happen over night.
My prayer for us all is that we remember we are in this together. Those Bible heroes I mentioned earlier didn’t do it alone. They too were coached and encouraged. They were corrected and pointed back to the Lord. They pressed on when it was hard and they knew that it was all worth it.
Let’s not settle for being consistently inconsistent. Let’s strive to live a life of surrender, where we are always growing and becoming more and more like Jesus. Let’s trust Him through all the ups and downs, and remember that He is the greatest coach of all. His training is equipping us to be a light for Him in this dark world, and to bring Him all the glory.