I’VE FALLEN AND I’VE GOTTEN UP!

Embarrassment is so much a part of our thinking, isn’t it?  We want others to think the best of us and certainly don’t want them to see us do something stupid!  However, there are times in our lives when we do things by accident that still cause us embarrassment.  Last night was that night for me.  I was scheduled to do the closing interview for my current intern in front of the those who attended our Summer Fun Night!  That’s no big deal to me. I’ve talked in front of many people on many occasions.  I’ve said some embarrassing things in some of those times. Actually, I didn’t even realize what I said at the time I was saying it!  There are those who do remember those times and now it causes us to laugh a great deal.  My embarrassment has become a source of fun! But then there’s last night!

I looked at the schedule of events and then looked at our emcee for the evening, it was time for me to go up to the front of the gym.  I stood up and began my first step and my foot caught on the purse strap hanging out from under my chair.  I started to fall and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I landed all my weight on my left knee with my head in the lap of one of the ladies sitting across from me.  I sat up for a moment then moved my knee. It moved, so I got up to continue on my trek to the front.  At that moment there were people all around me wanting to know how they could help.  One particular person said to me that I fell gracefully.  I’ll take that as a compliment.  I was just relieved that I didn’t rip my pants.  The more people who came to my rescue, the more embarrassed I was.  How could I have fallen like that in a crowd of people?  People saw me!!

People see us.  We can’t get away from that fact!  They see us in many different situations and make conclusions from what they see.  I was sure many were thinking some of the following:

            “Boy, is she ever clumsy!”

            “You know she’s over 60, brittle bones!”

            “How stupid was that to put your purse under your chair!”

Our minds can run away with us when we’re embarrassed.  We begin to make scripts of what is going on in the minds of others.  Even though we don’t know what they’re thinking, we’re pretty sure we do.  Then we judge others by what we think they are thinking!  The result is embarrassment about who we are and what we did rather than thoughts of good toward others.  This is not how the Lord wants us to respond.

Accidents happen to all of us.  We fall, hit a car with our car, drop a glass, or spill our milk.  Our lives are filled with opportunities for embarrassment.  The Lord looks at us and wants to see how we handle each one.  Do we begin to think negative thoughts about others?  Do we just want to withdraw from life?  Do we get angry and allow it to spill out in to every aspect of our lives?  We have choices on how to handle it when we’re not measuring up to what we think we ought to be.  The choices are as follows:

  1.  God has not left the building.  As I fell to the floor, God was there!  He hadn’t left me alone so I would fall.  He promises that, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b In our most embarrassing moments we have to remember God.  We get so large in our thinking that we crowd out thoughts of God.  We MUST be aware that he MEANS what he says.  He is with us!
  2.  I’m not perfect.  I can say that I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t really mean it.  When I do something like fall in front of people, my mind tells me that I should have been able to walk without falling.  I’m strong and agile.  I’m healthy for my age.  I shouldn’t fall! This is not truth.  The truth is I’m older and not as steady on my feet as I used to be.  The truth is, “So we do not lose heart.   Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 My body is wasting away which puts me closer to eternity!  I need to rejoice in the eternity to come for me because Jesus, who was perfect, lived and died in my place.
  3.  Gratitude is crucial!  When I fell, I allowed my embarrassment to miss all the people who wanted to help and ease my pain.  I said “thank you” but my embarrassment was overruling my gratitude in my mind.  We need to always be looking for what God is doing through others on our behalf.  He gives us so many people to be grateful for in our lives.  We can’t allow embarrassment to overrule gratitude.

Today I’m grateful for all those who came to my rescue.  They wanted to help me and that is so encouraging.  The body of Christ is to rub shoulders together, helping and lifting others up.  I got up but if I hadn’t been able to, there were many who would have picked me up.  I heard three times last night that I fell with grace.  I know that it was the grace of God given to me as I fell. May we each allow God’s grace to override our embarrassment as we look forward to that day of no more shame!

EVERYDAY LIFE AND GOD’S PRESENCE

It’s just another day with all the ups and downs of life.  As you move through the day, there are so many times you wonder if God is really with you.  Sure, you’ve said you believe he’s always there, but do you?  When the utility sink is overflowing with water onto the basement floor because you forgot to change the lint filter, is God there?  As you are driving down the street trying to focus with screaming kids in the back, is God there?  Maybe it’s the grocery trip when everyone forgot their masks and you have to stop at CVS to purchase new ones for the third time this week.  Is God there?  Everyday life is not always “normal” or “easy”.  Things happen which grab our attention and cause us to wonder, is God really here?  What can we do in order to remember God is here?  What can we do to find peace in the midst of chaos?

  1. God’s presence is relational. 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

As followers of Christ, we can’t be separated from relationship with God.  When God saved us and made us his – No One – not even we ourselves, can separate us from him.  In John 10:29, Jesus says, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  God himself, keeps us in relationship with him.  Therefore, we can communicate with him at all times no matter where we are or what we’re facing.  Our communication with him should be constant because he is always with us and is always listening to us.  We need to remember to cry out to God in those everyday moments that are difficult. There are things, even in the difficult everyday moments, for which we can be grateful.

  1. Grace is always present because God is present.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18   

 “My grace is sufficient for you…” 2 Corinthians 12:9a

The Lord is always near because he is all around us.  When we call on him, we are assured he is right there with us.  He hears us and gives us grace.  He always provides the grace we need when we need it.  Grace is always available.  God is everywhere and so is his grace.  We need to ask for grace for the difficult everyday moments we face.  This grace is his favor which actually helps us to endure the difficulty.  Look for his grace.  Be aware of his presence by seeking to see his provision for you in the midst of disaster.

  1. God’s power is always present.

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  2 Corinthians 1:21-22   

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God’s presence is with us because we have his Spirit within our hearts.  He doesn’t leave us and we are his temple or his dwelling place.  He is the Spirit of power.  This power within us can be the source we draw on when everyday life becomes too much to handle.  He’s plugged in and we have to turn ourselves onto his power and help.

These are the thing to remind ourselves of so that we remember God’s presence with us.  We need to be thinking about God, and realize that how we handle the everyday things of life is a reflection of who he is.  Are we a good reflection or not?  It’s easy to let the water on the floor or the screaming in the car or the trip to CVS be all consuming.  It’s the tyranny of the urgent that we allow to get in the way of the truth of God’s presence in the midst of the storm.  Maybe, it’s that we think God doesn’t care about these things we face every day.  We can be assured he does care.  Jesus came to live the life we couldn’t live for ourselves.  He faced hardships, relational challenges, discouragements, rejection, and so much more.  He went through these things perfectly because he knew we couldn’t.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Hebrews 4:15

The above verse tells us, in no uncertain terms, that God cares about every part of our lives.  We see that there is sympathy for us in our situations.  He always cares and is always present to help us in our time of need.  So, what can we do?  We can remember the truth about our Lord and Savior.  When he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” in Hebrews 13:5, we should believe him!