Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Catch Me, I'm Falling

Not long ago, I was out for a hike and chose an unmarked path on which to set out.  My instincts told me not to go, but my emotions and stubborn determination prompted my feet to move forward.  Even as I started to ascend, I heard a soft voice inside of me telling me to turn back.  I didn't listen.  The brush grew thicker and the cacti more unavoidable as I tested the rocky terrain with each increasingly cautious step.  As I continued to climb, I stopped to look behind me.  "I'm already invested in this," I thought to myself, so I hesitantly continued upward.  With only a few more steps, I started to fall.  I caught myself by grasping for rocks, but caught a small handful of cacti needles instead.  With a full body wince of pain, I slowly pulled back my hand and extracted the needles.  The sun beamed on my moistening skin, and again I turned to look back.  Suddenly, I realized that I didn't know how I had gotten to where I was.  The path behind me had all but disappeared and all that remained were the unfriendly cacti, swarming bees, and falling rocks.  A single slip of my foot would cause me to land on already sliding rocks and loose gravel straight down off the mountain I had already climbed halfway up.  I began to panic.  "God, can You please catch me, I'm afraid I'm going to start falling," I quietly whispered as tears welled within my eyes.  He did.

Convinced that turning back was out of the question, I looked up at what I would be facing if I kept going.  It was a steep, dirt and rock path that commanded me to crawl on my stomach if I even wanted to consider reaching the top.  If I made it, I could get down the mountain safely on the other side, but if I didn't, I would fall prey to the tiny rocks of gravel that threatened to slide under the rubber sole of my shoes.  If I fell, it would send me down a straight drop off from the mountain and into a pit of unknown.  For a moment, I stood still and just asked God what to do, but I heard nothing.  I decided to make a move, but even with the guarded step of my left foot, I felt the gravel give way underneath and I began to slide. As the vast spread of cacti needles pierced my back and I started a downhill drop, I grasped for protruding rocks.  I finally felt one and took hold of it firmly, while begging God to keep me from falling any further - all the while apologizing for not listening to Him in the first place.

As I stopped my descent, I slowly came to rest on a rock, but didn't dare move another inch.  Almost frozen with fear, bees began to swarm nearby and I immediately prayed for God to give me the strength not to flinch if one landed on me.  I'm terrified of bees probably more than I am of a broken bone or body, so this took incredible resolve, but He gave me what I needed.  I didn't move.  By this time, my entire body was covered in cacti needles and spots of blood. I was almost paralyzed with fear, and I knew I had to call for help.  Embarrassed because I knew I shouldn't have gone where I did, and even more disgusted by how immobilized with fear I had become, I reluctantly made the call. I was rescued from the mountain that day, but I can't help but recall the small voice inside of me that told me not to venture onto that path.  "Don't go here, it's dangerous," He seemed to say into my deaf ears.  Yet, I kept on, listening only to my own.

Tonight, I went to a new mountain top, but on my way up I listened to Him as closely as possible.  At one point, I sensed Him telling me to go no further.  I didn't, and when I felt Him telling me to turn back, I did.  He caught me when I was falling before and He'll continue to catch me in the future, but what I find interesting is this-- with matters of heart and emotion we put off even asking Him for guidance, and certainly don't attune our ears with His voice.   I met a woman once who discovered she was pregnant under seemingly impossible circumstances.  She was neither prepared nor interested in having another child and when I asked her what she planned to do, she revealed that she was considering abortion.  I asked if she had talked to God about the matter and she replied with the following: "no, I don't really want to ask Him yet."  She was torn apart both inside and out by the dilemma, but her honest response is so typical of how we all so frequently handle situations involving our feelings.

When our heart and emotions want something that isn't aligned with God's heart and will for our lives, we delay in asking Him for guidance.  However, the real solution is to ask Him to align our hearts with His.  Instead of avoiding Him all together, we need to start asking Him to replace our heart's desires with His heart's desire.  "God, I know what my heat wants isn't what You want, and my own strength isn't enough to change this.  I need You to make that change within me," might be something you say.  God already knows you're not strong enough to change your own heart.  He's just waiting on you to know it as well.  Instead of avoiding Him or making the sometimes treacherous mistake of deliberately tuning His voice out, call on Him and confess your weakness; His strength is more than sufficient to catch you when you're falling out of His plans for you.  When you feel like you're falling down, don't run from Him; run to Him and He will catch you. He will make your path straight (Proverbs 3:6), but don't go so far in a direction you know He doesn't want you going, that when you try to go back, it's too late. May my heart and yours be led by not our own strength, but His. 

 But He said to me,  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

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1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry that you were hurt and afraid. However, I am so thankful that, without fail, God was there to guide you and care for you. I love you, Heather.