“Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50 NIV).
“Jump! I’ll catch you.”
From early childhood, when I heard those words, I usually jumped. Was I scared? Often, yes. Did I trust the speaker? Always. Therefore, despite my fears, I jumped into pools, off porches, and from the tops of bales of hay into my father’s arms.
Those four words held the key to much I learned as a child. “Jump” told me I had to act on my own. “I’ll catch you” told me I was not alone.
Finding Balance with Family and Friends
Usually, those messages came at separate times. When my parents or grandmother expected me to act my age, they would say, “You’re a big girl. You can do that yourself.” Other times, when they saw me struggle with a task too hard or too long, I might hear, “Bless your heart. Let me help you with that,” or “I’ll take over from here.”
I knew I could rely on family and friends when I needed them. At the same time, I knew they expected me to stand on my own two feet. Although that sounds contradictory, somehow I learned to achieve the balance they encouraged.
Struggling on My Own
Perhaps I should say I continue to strive in finding balance. Like a two-year-old, I frequently try to tackle life by myself. I see what needs to be done and think I know the best way to do it. However, that can-do attitude can get me into a world of trouble. Stress builds. Relationships suffer. To-do lists grow larger and larger, and I eventually end up exhausted and unable to do anything well.
I know with my head but forget with my actions that God always stands ready to share life’s burdens–to offer a fresh start. Family and friends also remain willing to help when I need them. Yet, what do I do?
Finding Balance with God
Initially, I may give my concerns to God and receive the peace made possible by complete trust in God. Then I fall right back into old habits. Not only do I collect new burdens, but I also begin taking back the ones I gave God earlier. God promises in Isaiah 41:10 (NIV), “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.” How many times must I read that and other similar passages about God’s never-failing gifts before I stop my self-defeating by-myself behavior?
Over and over, people in my life have demonstrated their love and willingness to do whatever needs to be done when I cannot make it on my own. I have little problem helping them in their times of need. Yet, reaching out for myself requires extra effort. I like to jump on my own. I frequently fail to see the need for someone to catch me.
Therefore, I must remind myself that God made us for relationships–both with God and one another. We can trust God never to let us down. Although fallible, we human beings still need one another as we find and follow God’s direction for our lives.
We take our leap of faith alone. We walk the path of faith together.