The ball landed with a muted thud and nestled into its resting spot. This was the one place I hoped it wouldn’t land: in my bowl of ground flaxseed.
While I prepared ingredients for bread baking, my four-year-old was playing nearby. She’d found a small bouncy rubber ball, purple with flecks of pink glitter. When she threw it on the floor, it bounced up in the air. This was an exciting discovery — that she could bounce the ball and catch it too. She kept moving farther into the kitchen as I kept cringing inwardly, hoping it wouldn’t land anywhere near my counter.
Yet it did.
She gasped and stopped mid-step.
“Sorry Mom!” Bowing her head, she braced herself for a negative reaction of some kind.
Instead, God spoke to me in the moment.
There are times when I try something new and seem to master it all on my own. My confidence builds, as each attempt at a new skill takes me higher and farther. In my imagination, I’m telling large crowds, “Hey, look at me! Look what I can do!” The temptation to post photos and updates to social media is high, as I seek approval from others. Without realizing it, I soon venture onto dangerous ground, thinking I can still control it all by myself.
Cue the plunk!
I gasp as things spiral out of my reach in the blink of an eye. Suddenly I’m regretting that step I know I shouldn’t have taken; the one I debated from the start. Or I’m second guessing decisions, recalculating to determine how to change things to avoid catastrophe the next time. And yes, there are also times when I must brace myself for the negative reactions of others, though I’ve apologized when things got out of control.
As we mature, there is a constant tug-of-war between our own way and God’s way.
We think that mastering certain tasks by ourselves is a sign of maturity. Perhaps we figure that God is too busy for petty dilemmas and should only be called upon when we’re in serious trouble. As though His help has limits.
However, God never intended for us to live completely on our own, without any help from Him. God loves us too deeply to leave us alone. I can imagine His delight when we discover something new, particularly when it helps to strengthen our relationship with Him. He’s eager to direct our steps, because He knows the best paths for us. He knows where all the perfect ball-bouncing spots are; we just need to trust Him.
I looked at my little girl and could see her regret. This, too, was an instance that threatened undoing if I didn’t follow God’s lead. Recalling His message to me, I started to giggle at the sight of her ball in the bowl. She quickly joined in and together, we talked about what we had learned.
When we let God lead, He will help us to not only grow, but to thrive. We are never alone.
Related: Enjoy this fun set of six small magnets as great reminders for how to love well for this one, great, extraordinary life.