Our baby daughter, Zoe, is fast moving into a sense of independence and is now enduring the trials and tribulations of learning how to stand up without holding on to anything. I have noticed a few things about her latest developmental phase that I find intriguing.
Firstly, it is her motivation and steadfast determination; all day, every day, pulling herself up and trying to stand on her own. Maybe she simply wants to be more like her brother or us. Maybe it’s the perspective of life that improves exponentially once you are upright, no longer seeing things from floor level. Whatever it is, she is obviously highly motivated and has set her sights to improving every day until she can stand securely and walk properly.
The second thing I have noticed is a conflict between independence and a continuing dependence on us. Whilst she is desperate to be able to stand on her own, she likes us to be there with her. She trusts us to catch her if she is going to fall badly and knows that we will praise her in her successes and encourage her in her failed attempts.
The third thing I have noticed is the wonderful blend of shock and delight on her face when she manages to stand on her own for a while and then claps herself in celebration.
Such issues aren’t unfamiliar to those of us who struggle with the trials and tribulations of living a Christian life. We’re all learning what it is to become more like Jesus, trying to model ourselves in His ways and often falling down in the process. Yet, I query how many of us respond to falling.
Do we, like Zoe, keep on trying, or do we give up and live a life of limitations through the perspective we always have had, even though we know there is a better way?
Are we still clinging on to God to help us, teach us, encourage us and protect us or do we feel we should be ‘grown up’ and independent and try to work it out ourselves, allowing frustration to rise up so much that we give up?
Finally, do we allow ourselves to celebrate the small victories in life or do we beat ourselves up for not being perfect?
It’s our response to the falling down that determines our lives. We can choose to keep going or we can choose to give up. My prayer is that we all, like Zoe, will maintain our determination to move on to better things, not being discouraged by the falls, but taking delight in the successes, and knowing God is right there in the midst of it all.
Prayer: Father God, help me identify the ways I have given up or allowed the falls to put me off moving forward in You. Help me set my sights on a determined path to move forward, not fearing the falls, but knowing You are there in every circumstance, loving me and encouraging me always. Amen.
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