“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” ~Romans 3:23
No one likes falling down, but from the early stages of walking all the way through life, we fall down. Whether you are coordinated or not, falling down is a part of life - we have to accept that. So it isn’t a matter of if you fall, it matters what you do after you fall.
I mention this because I spent this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend skiing and snowboarding with the Senior High students from our church. Like the blind leading the blind, I tried my best to teach students how to ski and snowboard. If you have ever skied, you know that when you are leaning, one thing is for certain - you will fall. So, through the course of two days the students had lots of falls, and at times, got very frustrated with falling.
Since I was the one teaching (and not learning), I spent my time going down the hill at a very slow, safe pace. Even if I fell, I simply got back up. However, at the end of the day, when everyone else was tired, I thought I would give it one more run. A run where I could let loose a little. Again, I am not good, and I try some stuff I hadn’t been able to do while teaching. On the last run, as I was approaching the lodge, I was going pretty fast and feeling pretty good, when all of the sudden I caught the edge of the board and fell. It was unlike any fall I had taken all weekend. This fall was so bad that I can’t really sit comfortably two days later.
As I sat there on the ground pondering my life, I was glad for two things; 1) It was the last run of the day, not the first. 2) The lodge was only 500 yards away. As I crawled over to pick up my goggles that were jarred from my head, I realized, after one hard fall, how many of our students felt as they sat beaten up from falling all day. It was the feeling of defeat, exhaustion, and pain.
It doesn’t matter if it is bunch of little falls or one big fall - it takes a toll on us. Falls don’t just happen on the slopes; they happen at work, with our friends, children, spouses, and especially in our relationship with God. Paul tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Some of our falls are big and leave us crawling to gather up our bearing. Others are small, but over time leave us just as broken.
But falling doesn’t have to be the end. Falling doesn’t have to be what defines us, but often times we allow it to. We all sin and fall short, but just because we sin doesn’t mean we have to stop getting up. It doesn’t mean that we stop trying. Every time we fall, big or small, we must be willing to get up and try again, this time better than the time before. When we get up and fall back down again, we must continue to get up, continue to walk in Jesus’ path.
The good news is, no matter how broken and messed up things might be, we don’t have to do it alone. When we fall, when we sin, no matter how big or small, Jesus is always there with his hand stretched out to help us up, to knock off the snow and help us on our way. All we have to do is be willing to accept that hand and get back up. Because falling down shouldn’t be what defines us. What should define us is how we get up after the fall.