I was a cheerleader for both my freshman and sophomore years of high school. (Try not to judge me too harshly…) The eyeliner... the braces... I can't imagine why I wasn't the hottest girl in school...
     I really enjoyed going to all of the games and spending time with the girls… although the drama could get a little high when you combined 10+ prepubescent, boy-crazy girls in one bus. I loved my coach and all of the excused absences to go to wrestling tournaments didn’t hurt, either.

     But my favorite part of cheerleading was tumbling. I took a tumbling class in a town about 15 minutes from my hometown one night a week. I loved that it was difficult but that I was usually able to catch on quickly. Plus, it was very easy to measure improvement from week to week (something that I lack these days… how do you measure improvement when parenting littles?)

     When I had mastered the back handspring it was only natural that I would move on to the back tuck. I was able to get the gist of it fairly quickly but there was a problem: I was incapable of performing a back tuck without a spot. An older girl on the cheerleading squad needed to only place her hand on the small of my back and I could back tuck with ease, over and over again. If she stepped away, I would under-rotate and fall on my knees and stumble forward. Every. Single. Time. My coach and friends were amazed that I simply could NOT do the same physical mechanics if there weren’t a small hand on my back.

     I was reminded of my back tuck conundrum this past week as my one-year-old son has been slowly working his way toward walking. As long as he is holding on to one of my fingers with one of his hands, he trots around with ease. The second I pull my finger away, he sinks slowly to his knees and back to his preferred method of transportation: speed crawl.

     Why he puts so much trust in my finger is beyond me. He is fully capable of walking… his muscles know the movements. His body is physically capable. Yet, without the comfort of grasping my finger, his confidence wanes and to his knees he goes. It was the same for me in high school… without the light touch on the curve of my back, I was not able to complete a back tuck. My muscles knew what to do. I was physically capable. But mentally, I did not trust my abilities.

Psalm 20:7English Standard Version (ESV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

     I think part of growing up is forcing yourself to let go of the finger, take the jump back without the spotter. There have been many times in the recent years I’ve said, “I wish my parents could just do this for me.” Whether it was calling around to get insurance quotes for our cars, figuring out what to do after being in a car accident, trying to decide on schooling for our kids in the future, or remembering to pay my bills on time. In that moment, there is no finger to grasp, no spotter in case you under-rotate. You just have to trust that God has equipped you, your muscles know what to do, and you are capable. Of course you could just keep crawling or never do the back tuck and coast on without taking risks, doing what you (or those around you) have always done or told you to do. But then you’re neglecting to develop that trust muscle… the muscle that is only developed by trusting in God’s provision time and time again… taking that baby step out in faith, without a finger to hold on… trusting His Spirit is in you… and, as scary as it sounds, sometimes it’s more efficient to eventually learn to walk on your own… which leads to running and skipping and jumping… and eventually, maybe even a back tuck. 


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