When we fall in life, whether physically or spiritually, there are pains that go along with it. The question is; will you get back up, clean yourself off, and keep moving forward?
Yesterday my husband and I had a marital dispute, and both of us were at fault. We managed to talk it over later in the day, each of us declaring how we would recognize the other’s feelings better next time, apologized, and moved on. Still, this cloud of regret continued to hang over my head.
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger..”
This morning, during my morning prayer time, I asked the Lord to help me climb out from under this cloud. I knew this meant I needed to forgive myself for how I behaved yesterday. Sometimes this is harder than forgiving someone else!
“I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.”
So this afternoon, I decided to go for a solitary hike on the least traveled trail at Sawnee Mountain, my escape and place of solitude. As I neared the steepest descent of the trail, I remembered how it has caused me to slip and even fall many times. In preparation, I made a plan – step very intentionally on only the larger firmly planted rocks while avoiding the looser ones, and don’t walk on the more dusty places. Well, the plan was perfect, but the implementation was not. As I am falling, my mind raced with “Good thing I’m not holding my phone”, and “If I lean back, I won’t fall forward”, and “Wow, this doesn’t hurt too much, so maybe I won’t bleed too badly”. Ten seconds later, I was back on my feet, with a lovely scrape on my left shin.
Fifteen minutes later, after taking a picture of a tree, I quickly turned and jumped back on the trail trying to run from a swarm of mosquitos, but twisted my ankle, and went down again on the same left leg, this time scraping up my knee pretty good, which began to bleed. That time it really hurt. I sat there for a minute, wondering if I should just call it a day and stay down so that I didn’t fall again! But what else could I do except get back up and continue down the trail? If I sat there, mosquitos surely would have eaten me alive, and my hubby would send out a search party. Nope, I had to get up and get home.
The Lord likes to work with me in ways like this. He let me dwell on the pain for a bit: both the physical injury and my hurt pride. THEN He began to teach me.
If we slip and fall in our christian walk, we have a choice:
1. wallow in the pain of self defeat and shame, or
2. accept our failure, forgive ourselves, recognize it can be a tool for our growth and get back to work!
Our Lord has a way of emphasizing what He is trying to say to us. As soon as I got back into the car and turned the radio on, literally the first lyrics that were played was “Everybody falls sometimes…” from the song “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless. I laughed out loud! Yes, the Lord has a sense of humor.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Food for thought: Do you need to forgive yourself for something? If God Almighty can forgive you, then there is NO reason for you to hold on to shame. Let go and let God!
Fun facts: Approximately 40% of people get injured while hiking.
(Yes, that is me sitting on that rock jutting out, but no, I did not fall off of it. If I had, you wouldn’t be reading this today! There would be no getting back up from that one.)
Photo by: Jim Jagels – Kari on Pickens Nose, North Carolina