Thursday, July 3, 2014

If I Don’t Look Down, Maybe I’ll Never Fall

We, as humans, like to be right.  Furthermore, we like to be right about being right.  It is amazing how great it feels to prove someone wrong or know that you were right all along.  Like when we are driving somewhere and my husband doubts my directions, and then just as he is about to get the GPS, we arrive at our location.  (I win!)  Or when a friend does not believe your recollections of a past event and just when you start to doubt yourself, you pull out the picture to prove it.  (YES!)  Isn’t it is GREAT to be right!?!?  How about in the workplace, when a colleague or supervisor doubts your ability to finish the contract, win the case, or find a solution and just as you start to think your job is on the line…you totally nail it!  It is an amazing feeling to be right and even better to prove others wrong.  However, I’m finding that without being wrong, there is very little room for learning and growth whether at work, in relationships, or in the journey with God.

I have always been amazed by Wile E Coyote from the Warner Brothers cartoons.  He continuously found himself in inconvenient situations, commonly running full speed off the edge of a cliff while chasing the Road Runner.  With great creativity and determination, he made endless attempts to achieve his goal regardless of the cost or pain.  However, no matter how far off the edge he goes, he never falls…until he looks down.  It’s not until he realizes his situation and the lack of solid foundation underneath him that he faces reality and the consequences of his choices. 

The more I think about it, the more my life tends to look like that coyote.  Whether I am running away from or towards something, I typically think I know where I want to go. Based on my previous experiences, my beliefs, and my understanding of the world, I am also quite confident that I know how to get there.  My conversation with God usually plays out like, “I think I know what you want for me.  I have a lot of things going on right now.  So, I will add that to the list, I am on it, and I can definitely get there on my own.  Amen.”  And off I run, like the coyote, full of determination, pride, and confidence that I will make it to my desired destination on my own terms.  I convince myself (and sometimes others) that I have it all under control.  And then…I look down.

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever been running full speed in a direction that at one point seemed right, but when you look around you can’t remember why, when you became so tired, or how you ended up so far off course?  It’s in that moment that you have a choice, do you keep moving in hopes of avoiding the fall or do you accept being wrong, look down, and face the consequences?

The amazing thing about God is that in those moments, He is there.  No matter how far off we go, no matter how wrong we are, He does not lose sight of us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to PROSPER you and NOT TO HARM you, plans to give you HOPE and A FUTURE.” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

God has a plan, a good plan to prosper us (help us thrive) and not to harm us.  He has a plan to give us hope and a future.  So when my world does not make sense, when the foundation beneath me is nowhere to be seen, when I fall crashing into the reality of life and find I was wrong all along…it helps to be reminded that God is bigger than it all and still has a plan for me.

Elizabeth (Ebeth) Johnson currently works at Flatirons and is pursuing her MSW at CSU.  She has been married to her husband, Chris, for 5 years.  Ebeth delights in the adventure of doing life in community, growing together and helping others experience the awesome life of Jesus.

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