- Get unstuck and take the first step that leads to a new body, mind, and spirit.
- Kick guilt to the curb and experience real freedom.
- Drive a stake into the heart of your everyday fears and dare to live again.
“A Wild Ride in a Shallow Bathtub”
The icy wind stung my face. Tears poured from my eyes and froze as they streaked back along my cheeks. The bare trees lining the road became a flickering blur as I careened down the hill, picking up speed. I prayed silently, Oh God, please don’t let a UPS truck pull out in front of me.
The entire family was celebrating Christmas at a cozy cabin in the mountains of Colorado. There’s a two-mile stretch of road that runs past the cabin and down to the valley. When the snow gets packed by traffic and the temperature is just right, the road becomes perfect for sledding. On this day it was a little too perfect. It was a sheet of ice. I had bought several little plastic sleds shaped like shallow, miniature bathtubs. The hill doesn’t look very steep, but when you’re sitting in a flimsy little bathtub doing forty miles an hour, you get a very different perspective.
There’s a loud crunching sound as the sled gets under way, slowly at first. Then as it gains momentum, the crunch becomes sort of a swoosh. The swoosh becomes a shriek as you reach speeds never intended for a bathtub. You steer by dragging one hand on the ice. Dragging the left hand produces a left turn and
a very cold hand. Dragging the right hand turns you to the right. Dragging both hands doesn’t slow the sled but produces gaping holes in your mittens. To brake, you tumble off the sled.
I blazed past my grandchildren, who looked like brightly colored sumo wrestlers bundled in their winter snowsuits. They had veered off into the soft snow on the shoulder of the road and lay immobilized in their overstuffed clothing. “Grandpa! Wait for me!” they hollered. No way! I take every opportunity to win a race, even if I’m competing against children. I shot down the hill like a one-man avalanche.
My heart was pounding, my face was numb, and endorphins raged through my bloodstream. Now at top speed, I screamed, “This absolutely rocks!” Then sky became ground and ground became sky. This repeated itself several times. Somehow I had lost control and cartwheeled at forty miles per hour into a snowbank. Snow was packed into every opening in my clothing. I was gasping for air, my wrist felt like it was broken, and a trickle of blood dripped from my nose. I remember shouting, “I’m alive!” As I wiped the blood from my nose and checked to see if my arms and legs were still attached, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. I thought, Now this is more than just being alive. This is living fully alive, senses tingling, nothing held back!
In that moment another prayer drifted from my soul: Please, God, let me experience some of this in my real life! I wanted this sense of adventure and vitality to permeate every facet of my being. My wrist throbbed as I dug icy snow out of my collar and my underwear. The crash reminded me that pain is a sign of life. You are going to get a lot more banged up living life to the fullest than you ever will sitting on the couch trying to decide, as Dave Barry once said, “whether to open a second bag of potato chips or simply eat the onion dip right out of the tub.”
The Desire to Live
The second-century bishop and theologian Saint Irenaeus wrote, “God’s glory is the earth creature made fully and eternally alive with the life of the Spirit.” Plainly said, the glory of God is man fully alive. In that defining moment, collapsed there in the snow—numb, aching, bleeding, surrounded by chattering, sugar-charged grandchildren—I felt fully alive. I was savoring a little taste of what God intended for my whole life. Not safe, comfortable, passive, and predictable, but crazy—filled to overflowing with adventure, risk, and emotion. I didn’t see Him do it, but God drove a small stake in the snow at the edge of the road that day. It was a marker of sorts that would later line up with other markers—stakes defining the path that leads to living fully alive.
This idea of living fully alive is not some thrill-seeking quest. It doesn’t require leaping from an airplane or riding bicycles at breakneck speeds or jumping a log cabin on skis. I’ve done all that. What I longed for was to experience that sense of adventure in my everyday life. Shouldn’t we feel some of the excitement that comes from jumping off a fifty-foot cliff into the water when we jump out of bed to live as God intended?
From Fully Alive.©2012 by Ken Davis. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.