February 11, 2022

Life is like a balance beam

 Recently I sat watching my two year old try to figure out and master a balance beam. She would take a few steps and fall off. Every time she would land on the ground she would get this little determined look in her eye and jump right back on, sometimes where she left off…but many times she would start completely over. A few times I could see the frustration, and there was one moment I could tell she was on the verge of tears—the “pissed off why isn’t this working” kind of tears that I know all too well. 

About the tenth time of her cycle of starting over and falling off I realized this was something she had to do on her own. So she did it again…and again…and again. I continued to watch in silence, knowing that the very second she asked for it, I would be there to help her, but was intrigued watching her try so hard. 

Then all of the sudden it happened. She put one foot in front of another and slowly made it across the whole beam. She tip toed to the very end…jumped off and with her arms up yelled with a satisfied grin across her face, “Tada!!!” 

She was on cloud nine. And she did it all by herself! She had never been more proud. 

For some reason this image has stuck with me for weeks, and I can’t help but do what I always do and relate it to life.

I am guessing there are many of us that can relate to the feeling that some days you just keep getting knocked down… sometimes you feel determined to get back up, and other times it feels like it’s about all you can take. Sometimes we get stuck on the why of our story. Sometimes we just want to give up or sit and cry. And then there is that moment when we finally make it through— the struggle, the hurdle, or the balance beam—and we look back… and we made it, but more often than not we get stuck on the questions of why we had to go through it in the first place. Sometimes we don’t look back and see the success of what lies ahead, because the struggle was so hard to get there. 

Once Kennady landed at her goal, she wasn’t any less proud of her accomplishment because of the twenty times before it that she hadn’t succeeded. It was a win regardless of how many times she had to use her hands or had to sway for balance. She didn’t even skip a beat when—time after time—she got knocked down. Just kept her head down and focused on the goal…the end, to accomplish what she had set out to do. And she found out she could! And once it was over she was satisfied that she did it. 

I think all too often I want to jump in and try to save her from the struggle… but the struggle is part of what made her so proud of herself in the end. It would’ve been super easy for me to have grabbed her hand and said, “ I don’t think you can do this by yourself… let me do this hard for you!” 

If you think about your strength, usually it has been found in the struggle. What if God just picked us up every single time it was hard or we hurt and told us He didn’t believe in us to be able to handle this— by taking away the struggle— would we ever find our strength? 

Some things we have to do all on our own. Sometimes we get knocked down way too many times to count. Sometimes we know all we have to do is ask…and He will send us in the right direction…but we still have to make the choice to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that He knows where He is directing us. Sometimes we have to start from the beginning even though we have a thousand times before. Sometimes it is easy to get back up when we get knocked down, and other times…it takes all we have left to stand, dust ourselves off, and try again. That “pissed off why isn’t this working” burn in our throat threatening to explode at any second…sometimes is the very fight we need to try that one last time we actually make it to the end. 

I know as God sits back—those days when we wonder if He really is there—are the exact moments He is cheering the hardest because He knows what the end will look like and the strength that will come as we find our way. Those days when we weep, so does He. Those moments we celebrate how far we have come…He reminds us why He had to let us fight to get there. 

Those moments you keep falling, He is watching and cheering and believing in…you.  

You didn’t chose this balance beam, but you will reach the end…someday you will reach the end, and it won’t matter if you reach it on the fifth try or the thousandth time you tip toe across it. What will matter is that that you made it through. You are strong enough. 

Whatever you are going through…if you are still falling off the beam, it is not the end. Keep tiptoeing forward, you are going to make it. Stop asking why you are there… and start asking how you will be able to move forward. “Why?” is a trap, and a cycle that likes to create prisoners. 

Remember that mama buffalo I wrote about months ago?… and also Nemos dad when he couldn’t find his way… he was supposed to swim through the dark valley… not around it. Avoiding the hard might be easier in the moment, but in the end the hard parts of our story are the ones that helped us grow—the ones that helped us find our brave.

I know it doesn’t look like it from the floor looking up at the balance beam… but this was all part of the journey. You are right where you are supposed to be…keep showing up brave enough to try again. 



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