My right foot has an irksome habit of falling asleep. It goes completely numb at the most unfortunate moments—always without me realizing it. In trying to slip out of Sunday school class early, I wound up stumbling across the room, grabbing furniture all the way to make it to the door. Every man in the room stood up to see if I was okay. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to expunge the scene from memory.
An episode like this doesn’t just hurt my pride, it offends my (admittedly overdeveloped) sensibility for what’s pretty, elegant, graceful.
I couldn’t resist a recent flea market find, a weathered old book titled Charm by Margery Wilson. I’m fascinated by passages like, “To walk well there is only one general rule applicable to everybody and that is this—walk on one line. Don’t run on two tracks like a street-car… By walking on one line a woman will appear more graceful, and if there is any soft drapery about her costume she will seem almost to float into a room.” What silly, antiquated and good advice, I think, and spend the next ten minutes practicing my walk.
Waddling is not graceful; nor is falling for no apparent reason in public. What does it look like when believers fall down flat in sin or under the weight of sadness?
Sometimes Christians are accused of being too sure, self-righteous, smug. Sometimes we are. Are we watching our backs, suspecting folks are just waiting for us to fall? Are they?
So when we fall, and fall we must, do we make sure no one sees? Can we stand the thought of being caught in our less than grace-full moments?
I don’t make small talk about how I snapped at a slow-moving daughter to hurry or lost my patience—again. The icy stares we’ve given, the cold shoulders, the clumsy words—these aren’t what we lead with. And we don’t parade around our hardships and hurts, things we worry might make us less.
I’m not an advocate for returning a casual, courteous “how are you?” with a confession or a long sob story. But what about the occasional eye-to-eye “how are you?” that makes us wince if we’re in hiding?
No matter how we try to walk head-up (in a line!), gravity and the flesh and a world fallen are laws of this sometimes ugly life. Hitting the floor is no fun.
Now consider the beautiful picture we reveal when we get back up. And what does it show others when we do it not by our bootstraps, but by the loving hand of our Father? I’d argue it’s a sight as glorious as a newly born foal struggling to his feet for the first time.
But no one can see if we are strictly undercover sinners and sufferers.
So while I’d rather lose all sensation in my foot only in the privacy of my den, I’d like to have the grace for gratitude that the Maker of my foot doesn’t always let me fall down—and get back up— in secret.Leave a Comment
Loved this Laura~thank you 🙂
Heather Gemmen Wilson says
Oh, I wish I couldn’t relate! I’ve had far too many less-than-graceful blunders in my life. Thanks for the wonderful encouragment.
Loved this. I hate being vulnerable, even though I’m working to change that. There’s something unsettling in our flesh when we’re honest about our faults. But I think, with each vunerable moment, the flesh loses power, which is the goal. Right? Thanks for this!!
I’ve recently come to the realization that I hide the messy side of me, the flesh side that is weak and fails. I’ve also come to realize that it is in my imperfections that God’s perfection is so wonderfully revealed.
Feel free to stop by my blog for the full story…
Julie Sunne says
“Now consider the beautiful picture we reveal when we get back up. … But no one can see if we are strictly undercover sinners and sufferers.” Beautiful way to write about encouraging others with our faith walk, Laura! You’ve re-energized my commitment to being vulnerable and real in my writing. God bless you.
I think we should extend the grace to others that God extends to us, realizing that no one is good, no… not one. This reminds me of a saying from a weight loss lady, Janet Taylor. She said, “All is forgiven, MOVE ON.” We need to do the same and not wallow in whatever it is we’ve done because anyone watching has done just as much falling down if not more.
Elizabeth Chambers says
You depicted the truth so clearly. The beauty is not in the fall, but in the Father’s extended hands to help us back up. Doesn’t everyone look up and hope to see a gentle kindness, a helping hand at the precise moment we NEED it most, when we are down. Thanks for sharing your insight. I only hope I can offer this grace to others who have fallen, even fallen from grace.