As my better half will tell you, I am not one for sitting for hours on a beach with a good book, so when the opportunity presented itself to join a group of fellow holidaymakers for windsurfing lessons, I jumped at the chance. That was probably 35 years ago and since then I have windsurfed in a wide range of locations, from Cheddar reservoir to the Red Sea and in all weathers.
One of my most memorable locations was Tobago. It was just as the holiday brochure described. White sandy beaches dotted with palm trees, warm crystal-clear flat water, an on-shore trade wind you could set your watch by and a laid-back welcome from the local population synonymous with the Caribbean. The perfect place to at last master that illusive carve gybe (turning downwind without stalling)!
Of the many stages the carve gybe tutor teaches the novice to practice, you might be surprised to hear that the overriding instruction, repeated ad infinitum, is “look where you want to go, not at your feet”! I am sure that this principle applies in many other sports where, contrary to what our brain is telling us, balance is best achieved (especially on an unstable surface like water), by looking ahead at where you want to end up and allowing the brain to intuitively work out where your feet need to be.
In these uncertain times, when we cannot be sure if our next step is going to be onto solid ground, the Bible encourages us in Psalms 141:8 (NIV) “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge – do not give me over to death.” And Jesus reminds us in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
Just as in physical activities like windsurfing we have to fight against the natural tendency to look down at our feet rather than ahead to where we are aiming to go, so it is in our spiritual walk with Jesus, we have to stop defaulting to our own resources and instead consciously fix our eyes on Him.
Both take practice…I have yet to master every carve gybe!