Have you ever rolled down a beautifully mowed grassy hill?
20 years ago as teenagers my friends and I spent a lot of time outdoors. This was back before there were cellphones and when our moms would flick the porch lights on and off to signal it was time to come in for dinner. The neighborhood was our playground and the small forest in my backyard was home to endless adventures.
Growing up my home had a walk out basement which caused there to be this massive hill on the side of the house. In the winter the hill became our neighborhood sledding spot and my friends and I spent hours sledding and snowboarding down it and into the neighbor’s yard.
One summer afternoon my friend and I decided to have a race. The race was to see who could roll down the hill on our sides the fastest and let me tell you, I am very competitive.
I remember laying down at the top of the hill and waiting for the race countdown to finish. Then I started to roll and quickly picked up speed. I was rolling down the hill as fast as one of my favorite cartoon characters the Roadrunner and I was winning the race.
But then everything came to a screeching halt.
I stood up triumphantly having just won the race, but I was a bit dizzy. I wiped the grass from my face and began walking back up the hill. My friend pointed at me and said, “Dude!! You’re bleeding!”
I hadn’t even noticed…
Along the edge of our family’s grassy hill was a frightening light grey cement retaining wall that was about ten feet tall at its highest point.
We played basketball at the top of my driveway and this wall was a hinderance to our game because the ball would fly off the side of the “cliff” and we had to pause our game to go and retrieve it.
Well the wall wasn’t only a hinderance to our basketball games it was now affecting our log rolling game too.
I reached up to where my friend was pointing and my hand became submerged with blood. Uh oh! I was elated that I had won the race and didn’t even notice that I had smashed my skull against the wall.
My friend ran into my house and called on my parents to rescue me.
Have you ever been in a serious accident?
Who came to your rescue?
My booboos as a kid were solved by going to my parents, but my grownup problems are solved by going to God.
One month ago my wife and I thought we were going to have to move suddenly. Our landlord sold our property and we were told we had three days to commit to renting from the new owner for one year at a much higher rate or have 45 days to find a new place to live.
I was stressed out and didn’t know what we were going to do.
I took a walk, as I often do, to find a creative solution to this problem.
It was a crisp and quiet winter morning. I only had to wear couple layers and the temperature helped to clear my mind.
I kept walking and walking, miles upon miles. Trying to find out what to do.
- Should we stay for another year and suck up having to pay more?
- Buy a house in town?
- Move to another city?
- Ask a friend if we can live in their place for a while?
I didn’t know. All I knew was my life had been turned upside down and that I didn’t like it one bit.
I needed to take a break, so I sat down on a wooden swing in the park and kept thinking. I asked God for the wisdom to make this decision and for Him to help make the path forward clear.
I sat on that swing like a statue in conversation with God for so long that the squirrels and birds looking for food came within one foot of me. I looked up and saw a little bird sitting on top of a light post with a bit of food in his mouth and was reminded of the parable Jesus shared in Matthew.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”Matthew 6:25-27
For a long time I watched this bird swinging his head back and forth keeping an eye out for predators and not worrying the slightest where he was going to be staying that night.
He’s only worried about what is right in front of him.
If his nest falls out of the tree, he’ll build a new one. If he can’t find any food in this garden bed he will go to that one, and if a storm comes he will hunker down in a tree somewhere until it passes.
I thought, “If he isn’t worried why should I be?”
I was filled with a sense of gratitude for everything in my life. I realized that my concerns, although valid, were small and trivial in the grand scheme of things. I got up from the swing and returned home having restored my confidence that everything would work out just fine. And it did.
For 48 hours I put myself through agony worrying about all the different scenarios that could pan out and how it wasn’t fair that this was happening to me. I didn’t spend any time in gratitude for the amazing home I’ve had for the last year and a half. The number of walks I have taken in the beautiful neighborhood parks, the great friends I’ve made, and how much inspiration and creativity I absorbed from this neighborhood.
Instead I was stuck in the moment looking down rather than up.
To this day I can still feel the small bump on the back of my head from that cement retaining wall. It is a clear reminder of how much of a winner I am…
No, the scar serves as a reminder that I’ve been hurt worse and everything was okay. Whenever I have an injury I repeat out loud, “I’ve been hurt worse.” It dampens the pain and helps me to get through it.
I need to create a similar habit when faced with a difficult challenge and say out loud, “If God takes care of the birds, won’t he take care of me too?” With trust in God the moments I am feeling stressed will become much easier.
I’m still up for a barrel roll race, anytime, but let’s make sure there are no cement walls on the race course!
What about you? What challenges are you facing in your life and who is going to come to your rescue? Tell me in the comments below. I read every one.
Feature image courtesy of Zachary Spears.