I am not a good faller.
I’ve never been good at falling down, and neither am I a big fan of the mess, dirt, and plain discomfort that falling entails.
Ice skating, roller-coasters, running down slopes, walking in the rain… these are just a few things that I’ve kept away from because they tend to involve some slipping/falling down. I like my life, and everything in it, to be clean, neat, predictable, and non-painful.
But I am coming to realize how much I have been missing out on… just because I never gave myself permission to fall.
I never gave myself any room to fall in relationships, work, ministry, life, with God. I didn’t want to make a mess, hurt myself, or become “the girl who dropped the ball”. That is why I always approached life with the same cautious carefulness as a little girl who fell down once and determined never to go down again.
I saw no redeeming quality in falling, so I set a standard for myself that I should do things a certain way, behave a certain way, and be known as a certain kind of person – the kind who doesn’t fall. This meant that I was careful (very), perfectionistic (pardon the bad english), right (so I thought)… which are pretty good things, in the right context. But this attitude also made me wary, afraid, and detached. I was afraid to try new things and venture out – What if they didn’t work out? What if those weren’t good decisions? I had to always make good decisions. I had my world set in order, and I knew my part and how to play that role… but there were times when, inevitably, I would slip up. I loathed myself each time I fell. Thus the self-sustaining cycle of self-loathing and striving continued.
Falling down is terrifying because it is something that I cannot control or plan. Letting myself fall is to let the fall take me where it will – downwards, sideways, into a dirty puddle, or into a painful scrape. But the problem with NOT falling is this – we cease to live. I mean, truly live.
And this is what I am starting to realize: Falling is human. And being human is holy. It is beautiful.
The awesome God who is all-sufficient felt the need to create something special that He could love – human beings. He left His glorious throne and came to earth – imperfect, dirty, messy earth – for us, human beings. He descended to the depths of hell to fight for this one thing – human beings.
He could have created us like the angels, but He didn’t. Instead, He fashioned man in His image and likeness. Man, whose hearts are so easily seduced by sin, prone to wander, and often reject God. And to us all the fullness of His love and adoration are poured out.
God loves us. He loves me.
Not in spite of my humanness, but because of it.
He created me human, and He wants me to live as fully human. Jesus never came to earth to immortalize us – He came to show us how to be fully human. He was the perfect human, the full representation of man to God. The fullness of what it meant to be human, the way God created, had been stolen from Adam in the Garden. Jesus came to restore that, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
And He came to make a way for us to be fully human again. That is why He said, “I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
In trying so hard to be holy and good on my own strength, I had been denying my humanness. I never gave myself permission to fall, and in the process I missed out on true life.
I am still learning, and much healing is still needed in my heart. But we all begin one step at a time and this is my first step: I am going to give myself permission to fall. And I am going to enjoy the ride.