I was recently challenged to look at my life and I hope that you will take a quick look at yours.
In his book A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer relates a story about farmers in the Midwest who would prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house to the barn as a guide to ensure they could return safely home. These blizzards came quickly and fiercely and were highly dangerous. When their full force was blowing, a farmer could not see the end of his hand. Many froze to death in those blizzards, disoriented by their inability to see. They wandered in circles, lost sometimes in their own backyards. If they lost their grip on the rope, it became impossible for them to find their way home. Some froze within feet of their own back door, never realizing how close they were to safety.
I don't know about you, but many days my life feels like a blizzard and on other days, the sun is out. Sometimes I just stay in the house refusing to face the storm or deal with the cold. Other days I step out a few steps and go right back into the house because I don't trust the rope that I have in my hand to make sure I can get back safely. There is probably a really fun party taking place out in the barn, but I'm just too cautious to even risk getting over there. It really is too bad that I can't control the blizzards that hit my life.
When I studied the life of Moses last year, I learned that each day when I wake up I have a simple choice to make:
Will I choose to be like Moses and follow God?
Will I choose to be like Pharaoh and try to be God?
Will I choose to be like the people of Israel and focus primarily on my circumstances?
The challenge I was presented with is this: What threads join together to make up the rope that will guide me back home when an unexpected blizzard hits? I think its obvious what the answer should be... fantastic family, close friends, my faith, time in scripture, prayer and praises... but do I have all that? I think the answer is yes, I have those people and times in place. BUT I don't think they would know when the storm actually hits! In this last four years, I have started to perfect the art of appearances. I can make it look like all is well, even to the people that live with me! If I decide to unleash the storm in my head would it make the people around me anxious, worried, or just stressed. Where is the good in that? Would I prevent everyone else from being productive... even if it is just for a moment. In reading this story and being asked this question, I found myself thinking... do I even have a rope? Do I even need a rope? If I have a rope, will it even hold me if I fall down? (Everyone with extra weight worries if the rope will really hold? right?!?! #PlumpProb ) If the storm gets worse, do I even care if I freeze right on the back porch? OR maybe I'm trying to be optimistic like everyone says I should... It'll get better, I will be fine. I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm trying to get to a place where I'm not scared to dream and be optimistic although deep inside I'm still basically a sarcastic pessimist!
So my current challenge is this, hold on to the rope and make sure it is stronger before the storm knocks me off of my feet and tests its strength. The biggest challenge, I can't strengthen the rope without being vulnerable! In Matthew 18, Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children"... no one is more vulnerable than a small child. What am I really willing to do? You?