Have you ever fallen in a ditch? I mean, for real. Maybe you weren’t paying attention (phone or no phone involved) and whoops! Down you go. Who put that there!?!? Or maybe it’s just a little trip and a strained ankle – or a skinned knee if it’s a little more aggressive stumble with some asphalt or gravel involved. The thing is, one of the first things we do is look around, am I right? (Who saw that?).
Why is it so embarrassing when we fall? Doesn’t everyone do it?
Can we learn something positive from the fall?
My intention for this blog post is to focus on ditches that we actually dug ourselves or fell into because we were not paying attention.
In a broad sense, some of my self-made ditches have been because I’ve:
- Said “yes” without thinking (or praying) a decision through (and “no” was the better choice). Especially when I didn’t seek wise council beforehand. *hint: why sponsors (mentors) in recovery are vital.
- Jumped ahead of God on a big purchase, a relationship or even a position when I knew there was a shadow of a doubt I needed to simply wait. Feelings first right? Ummmm…not always the safest choice. “Now how am I gonna pay for this?” (vehicle/house/etc…) or “why did I get in this mess?” (job/relationship/etc…)
- Let my frustrations get the better of me and venting inappropriately to unsafe people. I’ve learned to “go to the Throne before the phone” but OH – the keyboard makes it all the more tempting with social media today & instant posting of something that maybe needed to not be so public. They don’t call it “Insta…” for nothing!
Each of those circumstances carry their own set of consequences but had I not gone through them I wouldn’t be able to share with you today from a “been there done that standpoint”. Sure, I would’ve saved myself a lot of heartache had I not dug or fell into them but the human condition is prone to making mistakes. Stick with me here.
So, setting my mind above the mishap, what if the ditch has a purpose? What if there’s a wake up call in there? Sure, it wouldn’t have caused some embarrassment or physical pain had we actually seen it and avoided it, but that doesn’t mean God can’t use the situation for our betterment. The key is, do we actually recognize it as such?
When I was leading in a recovery ministry several years ago, I was amazed at how every week that I was preparing to share the lesson, there was something that happened in the preceding week (sometimes still very current) that God showed me I could weave into the teaching. I’ve often felt like my life was on display – whether I excelled or screwed up – so there was always material for the next lesson to share with others who might be able to identify and relate. That’s just how God works. He finds a purpose for everything. Even the ditches we fall into.
Maybe especially those ditches.
Can you think of a time you tripped up and saw how God has used it for your good? Or maybe you’re in a ditch now and you’re trying to get out? Maybe you’re wondering how on earth the God of the universe could make anything good out of your situation? Maybe you don’t think He even cares. Well, He does – even if you don’t believe it. He specializes in making a way out of any toxic situation, any hole we may have even dug for ourselves; any trap the enemy of our souls has set.
Nothing is too big for God. If you allow him. If you ask Him, that ditch can become your stepping stool; maybe even the very platform you were designed for to help others with because your experience, strength, and hope can help someone else out of their ditch too.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV