Grace Requires Falling
Life appears to be flowing smoothly; you know this dance, you’ve rehearsed it a thousand times over, especially in your head! You’ve worked hard for this moment; you’ve persevered through all the injuries that the stumble and falls created, some of which were painful and hard to get over. You somehow or another always rose to the occasion by getting back on your feet and trying again, no matter how demoralizing the jeers of the audience became. One, two, three, turn; one, two, three, turn…….
Suddenly, without warning, you find yourself feeling a bit tense along with that mixed bag of emotions, you know, dread and resistance from the ugly looks and comments, but you graciously release control and press in because you trust what the Teacher has taught you and know what those subtle promptings mean; you know when to go left and you know when to turn; you also know when it’s time to move on and keep dancing. Since you can’t seem to shake those feelings that are beginning to turn your stomach into knots, you find yourself losing focus. You’ve never gotten this far before in the dance, you’ve usually quit, given up, and walked away. This is a challenge that will require so much more than courage and faith.
As you’re trying to perform the dance, your mind goes to the place where you’re having a hard time reflecting on when your dance has ever been more peaceful and graceful along with the power and intensity to tackle anything your Teacher requires of you, so why this sick sense? Your feet are in sync with the Teacher’s lead and your grace appears to be as beautiful and carefree as a swan skimming across the water when suddenly you find yourself flying through the air and landing flat on your bass. Ouch!!! How did you not see that leg extension that was strategically placed to make you fall? You’ve been through this routine hundreds of times before and yet, how could you stumble and fall before you got to the end and claimed the prize?
Life is like a dance, every stumble and fall, including challenges that test our faith, offer us gifts filled with golden nuggets, but only if we’re brave enough to plow through the pain and look for them. These gifts can be received through the mundane nuggets found in rejection, insecurities, fear, experience, even perseverance or that infamous extended leg intentionally placed out of spite to make you fall. Thankfully, we know and trust the Teacher who allowed it for the testing of our reaction to guide us where He wants us to land.
Through the pain, we trust that our Teacher only wants what is best for us and knows the greater potential that lies ahead if only we will get up off the ground. We might become frustrated and hurt, ready to give up and in because of the constant jeers, but the Lord just asks that we grab ahold of His hand and get up and brush off the layers of humiliation and shame so we can receive the prize through grace that will equip us to be stronger and more confident for the next time, not to mention how much more full of grace and elegance our dance will be. Being graceful is hard, but it’s so rewarding!
James 3:2 tells us, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”
Tender heart, if the words of another, that extended leg, have penetrated your bleeding heart, just remember that in order to stop all the pain right in its tracks before it does any further damage is to cleave into the Lord by crying out and allow Him to repair the damage before your reactions consume you and damage others through the fuel lines of anger and bitterness. Pain coming from the mouths of hurting individuals amount to nothing but devastation. Forgiveness that leads to restoration and peace understands we’ve all made mistakes and have fallen, whether through the ugliness of an extended leg or our own carelessness through lack of focus.
Please allow the following passages to permeate your soul and fill your heart with tender mercies that will allow you to reach out to your other sisters for forgiveness and support. I know and understand all too well how painful the jeers from others can have lasting and harmful effects. But these passages are yours for the claiming, much like Jesus’ hand extending down to us when we’re down, on the ground, and are feeling less than beautiful. He wants you to grab ahold of His hand and trust Him again so you can get back to dancing.
Just remember, Isaiah 40:29-31 tells us, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” And Psalm 37:23-24 says, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
I know how painful wounds can be coming from a person we thought was a friend or sister in Christ, but when we refuse to forgive and move on, whether that means through the channel of reconciliation or closing the door to any continued relationship, it only breeds more damage to the bleeding heart to not let it go. Let it go! Don’t let their words keep you from God’s best! We all fall; but when we trust our Teacher, our Guider, our Leader to take control, not only does He know our potential, but He just wants to lead the way and allow us to waltz in sync with Him through laughter and joy while embracing the dance floor. God delights in His Beautiful Beloveds who trust Him because they know He will make their steps firm. Now that is grace!