Recently I helped my husband move an outdoor grill up a flight of stairs to the upper deck of our lakehouse. What I really mean to say is that he basically pushed it up the stairs as I kept it straight and backed up slowly one step at a time. At one point my legs were so weak they began to wobble, and I knew I was about to fall backwards so I just sat down on the step behind me. Eventually we got the grill where it needed to go. But it reminded me of a similar experience from my past.
When I was a newlywed, my husband and I joined a coed softball team. Although I had not been an athlete in school, and rarely considered exercise to be a priority, I was ready to give it a try.
It’s important to point out that growing up I was never a good runner. Any time I tried to run, my legs felt like they were trudging through thick mud.
I joined the team for the social interaction, not the exercise! I could throw and hit okay for a beginner, but I was no MVP. When I got to play, I usually played outfield (way out). But one game, our catcher wasn’t there for some reason so they asked me to be the catcher. That’s an important job so I was pumped!
It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize that squatting for half an inning at a time wasn’t very comfortable. I was stretching muscles in my legs that had not been used in…well, ever. I would walk around the second half of each inning to get my legs “back under me” while our team was batting.
After a few innings of catching, it was my turn to bat. In fact, I would be the first up to bat after squatting for about 10 minutes straight.
I stepped into the batter’s box, and my legs felt weird, kind of wobbly. I hit the ball and started running toward first base. That was when I realized I hadn’t had time to wake my legs up. But I was running. I knew where I needed to go. I really wanted to go there. But my legs were too weak to get me there and they collapsed! Yes, I fell down running to first base! I’ll give you a minute for your mind to create that visual.
Anyway, I‘m pretty sure I never made it to the base. I couldn’t hear if people were laughing at me because I was laughing so hard at myself! Pretty sure someone came and helped me back to the dugout.
What’s my takeaway from that embarrassing experience? Several things…one being the realization that I would never be a professional athlete. Also I’m glad there were no iPhones back then!
But seriously, how can that correlate to my spiritual life? What are the truths that can be learned through such an experience?
Just having the desire to do something isn’t enough.
If I want to stay in God’s will, I have to pray that God will strengthen me for the task He is asking me to accomplish.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
God may put me in an uncomfortable situation as a lesson or a test.
I need to be prepared to play whatever position God puts me in.
“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” Job 23:10 NLT
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalms 139:23 NLT
It’s my responsibility to build my spiritual muscles…
…so that when I’m called into the game, I will have the ability to be useful to God.
Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. Philippians 2:16 NLT
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14 NLT
I need to stay in community…
…so when I fall, someone will be there to help me up.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT
We will all fall from time to time. We can learn from the experience and be better equipped for the future. We can let go of anything that is holding us back, ask God for strength, and keep on keepin’ on.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. Psalm 73:23