The Challenge Of Independence
When I was 13 and my brother was 15 we would hang out in our pool all day and throughout most of the night. We never got tired of making up news games play.
Every once in a while my brother and his friends would venture out into the woods behind our house and be gone for hours. My friends and I weren’t brave enough to make the trip in the woods and my brother wouldn’t wait up if we started to fall behind so we stayed home instead.
In an effort to be independent and prove that we could do something fun, we decided to walk to the closest ice house to get some candy and sodas. It was about 4 miles up the road which wouldn’t have been a big deal except we live in the heart of Texas and in the summer the temperature is about 100 degrees or more. It also wasn’t the safest choice to make. We had to travel on a fairly busy road and we stuck out like sore thumbs.
My brother advised me against it over and over. He told me that we wouldn’t make it that far and if we did we wouldn’t make it back. He told me that it was too hot and it wasn’t safe for two 13 year old girls to walk down such a busy street.
We went anyways.
It started off great. We were free. We nearly skipped half way there in celebration of our new independence.
We forgot about the hill.
Half way up the hill our skip turned into a fast walk. Three fourths of the way up the hill our fast walk slowed to us dragging our feet.
Sweat was pour down our faces and our backs.
A car honked and a few guys yelled out something that I am not allowed to repeat.
Our hearts were racing from fear, dehydration and exhaustion.
We finally made it to the ice house and breathed a deep sigh of relief to be in the air conditioned building.
We used the change left over from our shopping spree to call my brother, suck up our pride and ask for a ride home. We didn’t mind the relentless “I told you so’s” all the way home. We were just happy to be safe and resting.
911 Call To God
I did the same thing for most of my life.
I was highly advices against most of the choices that I made while growing into an adult. I can’t tell you how many times I was told “you’re going to regret it” or “that’s not a good idea”. But those things seem to fuel me more and more to show my independence and to make whatever choices I wanted without anyone’s input. Truth be told, I sometimes made choices that went completely against any advice just to go against it.
I didn’t need anyone.
I was smarter than everyone.
I knew what was best for me.
I knew what I wanted and was going to do it no matter what the consequences were.
Every one of my choices was made out of complete selfishness. I have a head strong, independent “issue”. When someone says black I immediately say white. When someone offers help I run from them. Something that seems impossible to do, I will attempt it at least once, twice if no one is watching. I’ve always had something to prove.
The problem was that I never ask God what His will for me was. I never went to Him in prayer unless I was falling on my face and desperate and even then I don’t think that I believe that He would help me. I never asked Him to walk with me. I never put my faith in Him. I never lived my life in a way that reflected His amazing grace. I never stopped and thought about what was going to set the best example.
Every time I would start off in a full sprint. Right out of the gate something would usually force me to a skip and then to a slow walk. Eventually I was crawling on all fours.
There was always a point that I would have to admit defeat, seek shelter and beg for a ride home. I would have to bow my head and listen tot he “I told you so’s”. Most of the time I didn’t care, I was just so happy to be safe and resting.
Each time I started something without God it failed.
I failed not because I wasn’t good at it or that God wanted me to fall on my face but because I was trying to do it without Him.
He is my strength.He is my rock. He is my solid foundation from which everything is built upon. Nothing that I do can be done without Him.
I can easily walk 4 miles in the Texas heat these days and not because I am in better shape than I was when I was 13. I can do it now because my Father walks with me. I can do it now because my Father quenches my thirst. I can do it no because my Father protects me. I can do it now because when I become weak and can not walk, my Father carries me.
Are you attempting to get through life without our Savior. Are you building your life on rocky ground? Are you facing a 4 mile walk, uphill in the Texas heat?
If you are standing in front of the payphone with the change that is left over from your spree without the Lord, put it in and call for help. Let Him pick you up and carry you home. He never says “I told you so” . Instead this is what He says…
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Loving Father thank you for being our rock and providing us a solid foundation for which we can build our lives. We are weak but you are strong. Lead us down the path that you have built for us and help us to keep our eyes focused on you and you alone. When we stray from your path and attempt to make our own gently take us by the shoulders and point us back to where you know we need to be. God help those who are standing with their change in hand waiting to call for help. In Jesus name, amen.
Just between us… I was pretty sure that my friend and I were completely incapable of making the trip to the store and back but refused to let my brother know that. Instead I shot back words of confidence when he was telling me that we couldn’t do it. I was so relieved when we made it and couldn’t wait to call for help.