Life can be fun and frustrating all within the blink of an eye. Yesterday was one to consider these polar opposites. Leaving the church, I went in search of an ink pen refill. I checked one store; then another. As I scanned the aisle for my quarry, I heard a loud conversation a few yards behind me. Within seconds the louder of the two gentlemen ventured near. I stepped back to allow him passage and inadvertently stepped on a two pack of crazy glue that was lying on the floor. I hadn't seen it when I entered the aisle. As I stooped to pick the package off the floor, the gentleman said, "Ha. Ha. I saw it laying(sic) there but didn't pick it up. I have a bad back."
Normally I try to be courteous and pastoral, but yesterday something changed within me. I smiled and looked at the man and challenged him, "What if it had been a $20 bill?" He responded, "I still wouldn't have picked it up." to which I responded, "I would have found a way to pick up $20 even if I had to kick my shoes off and pick it up with my toes." He replied, "Then I wouldn't have been able to get my shoe back on and tied." Touche! Clearly, he had thought through this scenario. Yet, I can't imagine him walking by $20 because he has mobility issues. Would you leave it there?
Let's stop for a brief anatomy class. Proper body posture means we bend at the knees to retrieve items lower than what our hands can reach. Bad backs are no fun; since I too suffer from a few ailments of the spine. Improper bending at the waist can strain the back and I would agree with the man that bad backs are limiting factors. Bending at the knees however requires one to think about body mechanics. A new way of thinking is required. Keeping the back straight means I'll have to use my core muscles and leg muscles to achieve proper movement. I personally have had to rethink about many of my body movements simply because of lower back issues. Changes are not always automatic and often require discipline.
In one sentence I have uttered two words that make even the strongest person shudder at times (Changes and discipline). Course correction most days is a necessity and one must choose to think in different directions that might contain multiple outcomes. We ponder and wonder what will happen if we do such and such. Many days we freeze up and choose to not do anything and in so doing miss golden opportunities to receive blessings. Fear of the unknown holds us captive and so our life is a little less than it could be. Do you experience paralyzing fear? Do you sense you are missing out? Do you have a spiritual 'bad back' that keeps you from the gifts God wants you to enjoy?
In certain situations, God may allow hardship to occur in order that our attention shifts from internal to external. Look at Saul's moment of change.
"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:1-6, NIV)
Moving in one direction and experiencing a fierce life change is not new nor should it be avoided. The challenge is to trust God's story over and above our own.
Today, let's carefully observe gifts lying about us. Our mind tells us, "We can't retrieve these gifts because our back has been compromised." Don't stop there, but push against the temptation to keep walking. Brainstorm different ways to accomplish the task of gift retrieval, then test and try them. It may come to a point where you and I reach out to another person for help in retrieval of the gift. Rolling with changes can be frightening but it can be fruitful too.
PS: I restored the crazy glue back to the shelf and am still seeking an ink pen refill.