As illogical as I realise it is I tend to think of myself as the only one; in a world of billions – the only one. The only one scared of not achieving my goals, of not making it in life. The only one dealing with loss and rejection. The only one with a frozen lake.
I often forget that everyone starts somewhere; that everything has a beginning. Yes, some people are naturally gifted in certain areas. But even then it takes some amount of work and practice to reach the place that they are now. Even the great heroes and prophets of the Bible started somewhere.
In an episode of NCIS: LA’s season five the frozen lake analogy is discussed. The frozen lake is a concept from Sayoc, which is a Filipino martial art.
There are certain things in life we want so badly that we would do virtually anything for them. They sit in the middle of said frozen lake. Despite the risks, we run to them as fast as possible. Only when it’s too late do we realise that the ice is cracking below us, and that we've led to our self-destruction.
Everyone has a frozen lake, whether the lake seems big or small. Some people have multiple. To get to the centre we need to “walk slowly, stop to look at everything [and] take [our] time” – as is explained later in the episode.
Often times we give ourselves time frames in which we need to cross our frozen lakes. I'm constantly doing this, and I think it’s a great way to motivate ourselves to complete our goals. But we also need to realise that we cannot control everything. Sometimes we just need to do our best and wait to see the outcome.
Robert H. Schuller once said that it’s better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly. As a perfectionist, this notion initially seems crazy. But I do believe it to be true.
Doing our best doesn't guarantee that we will not slip and fall. Many times our best isn't “enough”. Enough to complete the task at hand perfectly or at all. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be enough. Enough for us to feel proud of ourselves and our attempt. Enough to strengthen us and make us feel encouraged.
In 1 Corinthians 2:3 Paul says that he came to the Corinthians “in weakness – timid and trembling.” Now, the Pauline epistles are a great encouragement and guide to Christians all around the world and are personally my favourite books of the Bible. Just think, if Paul had stayed in his state of fear, he may not have been able to touch the many lives that he did.
Looking back, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John all started out as fisherman. Yet they grew to become four of the greatest insights into Christianity in its purest form.
Looking even further back we see Moses--stutterer turn liberator of the Israelites. And David--a shepherd turn Israelite hero.
Because of the courageous steps that these people took, they were able to help make a difference in their worlds. They became more than what they were and what was expected of them.
Often times we use our past experiences as crutches, as reasons why we shouldn't want, need, or deserve what’s in the middle of that frozen lake. I propose that we use these experiences as incentives, to show that we can get back up. To show the people around us that there’s more to life than the past. To show ourselves that we can accomplish more than what demographics, world history, our history, and even logic says we can.
My lake isn't solid ground nor is it impossible for me to walk across. I think that that’s the point. If it was solid, would the object or desire in the middle mean so much to me? And if it was impossible to reach why would I even bother to dream about it? Yes, the likelihood of me slipping is very high, but questions like these keep me from staying down. They keep me from turning around.
As I look ahead I know I'm not the only one scared of not achieving my goals, of not making it in life. The only one dealing with loss and rejection. The only one who wants to cross a frozen lake. And I don’t ever want to forget that. I look at my peers, people older and younger than me walk across their frozen lakes and each step they take gives me a reason to take one too.
In the same way whether you and I realise it or not, there’s somebody looking to us to see how to take that first step. Somebody looking to for insight on how to best cross their lake.
With these thoughts in mind and the backing of people around us, maybe one day we’ll cross our frozen lakes, desire in hand. And if not, maybe it wasn't what we really needed or even truly wanted.