Published in  
June 7, 2021

Rolling Away

Jack and I were outside skating the small quarter pipe we had just built. I was taking a break, shooting some video of Jack rolling up and down the transition over and over again. His wheels kept coming closer to the coping at the top of the ramp. He had rolled away from one rock to fakie before, and in natural dad fashion I thought to myself how sweet it would be to get this on video and be able to look back at it one day when he’s a skateboarding legend. 

“Jack, go just a little bit faster and your trucks will go just over the coping and you’ll do another rock to fakie!” He listens and goes a little faster. Wheels go over the coping, but he hangs up and falls. He got up and went to try again, but before he started pushing he said, “Dad, I don’t really want to try this trick right now.”

“But you’ve already done this before, Jack. There’s no need to be scared.” I was trying to be encouraging, especially because I’ve seen him do it before. “I’ll just try it later. I don’t want to try it right now.”

“You can’t quit now, man.” I said it a little too enthusiastically. “If you quit now, we’re going to put the ramp up.” Jack looked at me, lowered his head, took his helmet off, and walked inside. That was the day my seven year old quit skateboarding. Dad fail. I didn’t mean to be harsh, I was just trying to encourage him; I was trying to show him that he can overcome his fears and conquer something scary. I didn’t mean to push him that hard, I just knew he could do it.

He has done that same trick multiple times since then (he didn’t quit skateboarding forever), but at that moment I felt like I had to push him and show him that he could do whatever he set his mind to. But even more prevalent than my desire to teach my son a valuable lesson was my desire for control.

When I look back on all the negative things that have happened in my life (mostly my fault), they all stem from me trying to control situations and outcomes. Work, promotions, money, people, relationships, habits; I've always wanted to be in control of everything in my life. Initially it sounds great, but it never plays out like you think it will. Once I began to have a relationship with God, I grasped onto the hope that I didn't have to control my life anymore–even more than that, I actually wasn't even supposed to.

When we submit our lives to Christ, we’re actually called to give up the control that seems natural and hand it over to God. I’ve spent too much time with my knuckles white from gripping onto control–I figured the more I controlled the more satisfied I’d be and things would work out my way. What a lie.

Giving up control is like trying a new trick. I’ve spent so much time trying over and over again–trying to tell my feet and body to do different things; it feels unnatural. It’s only when I just give up control and let it happen when I end up rolling away.

Jack and I just recently skated together again at our local park. He got his board, put his helmet on, and started skating around. I resisted any urge to coach him and the craziest thing happened–skateboarding did what it does; it hooked him. He spent that day rolling down and dropping in on nearly all the ramps at the park. He even dropped in and did a rock to fakie on the mini ramp outside. He was so stoked! He kept coming up to me and high fiving and fist bumping every time he did something new. Now he wants to skate far more than he ever has.

Once we surrender the desire to control our lives and allow Him to take the wheel, we’ll be hooked just the same. As a result we’ll continue to learn to trust God fully and we’ll definitely have solid landings. That day Jack taught me a valuable lesson:

God will always do what He does best.

Just let go of control, let Him take you, and you’ll end up rolling away.