Falling with Jesus
The other day I was in my yoga class and our teacher had us in tree pose. For those of you who don’t know, tree pose is a balance pose that asks us to stand on one leg with our foot balancing on our thigh with our knee pointed out towards the side wall. This pose is often very hard because you are focused on only on balancing on one leg while also keeping your foot pushing on your balanced leg.
Midway through our left leg was when she said something that I wasn’t expecting and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. She said, “While we often think that this pose is about balance or gathering your inner core strength, this pose is actually a test to see how well we handle falling.”
Falling, I thought. You want me fall? You want me to experience failure? Of course, I was doing all this while balancing on one leg and that is when I realized that I probably needed to fall. When we fall, there are four common responses. Frustration at ourselves for falling, shame that it happened to us, blame because it couldn’t have been our fault that we fell, or getting up and trying it again.
What has interested me so much is that our responses to falling in yoga are not far off from our responses to falling in life. We are all trying to balance work, family, friends, laundry, stress, and life. The balancing gets harder and that is when we fall. We fall when we forget something, fail at a project, feel guilty about what we “should” have done, or make mistakes. When we lose our jobs, our temper, our keys, or our mind. We fall when we sin.
And every time we fall we have a choice of how we will respond. We might feel frustrated, ashamed, blame something, or worse, someone, have a glass of wine or some chocolate, or will we laugh about it and try again. What kind of fall we made probably determines what kind of response we make, but either way somehow we respond.
What I am afraid of is that too often we believe that we fall all on our own. We allow the shame, guilt, frustration, mistakes, and sin build up inside us instead of trusting the one who promises to be there with us when we fall. Jesus—the one who forgives sin, loves us anyway, and doesn’t care how many times we fall as long as we recognize that Jesus is there when we hit the floor.
Jesus is there filled with the grace that covers all falls and the truth that he will never leave us and forsake us. Not for anything. And most importantly, Jesus is there to say, “I love you just the way you are, bruises and all.”
Maybe we need to “practice” falling a bit more in order to recognize what it means to not depend on ourselves, but on our savior next to us. I am not sure what it means to “practice falling” beyond yoga balance poses except to say that next time you fall, remember to look next to you because Jesus is right there.