As Christians, many of us are all too familiar with the idea of messing up or stumbling. When someone says being a Christian is hard, it is often the thought of living a life that is idealistic and free from error that scares people away. This is because we know that inherently, we are from the Adamic race, born to fail, only human.
What happens when we fall?
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus commissions us to “deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow Him.” The cross, as we know it, is a symbol of hope for the believer, yet, in this context we can figuratively say it means burden or problem. The act, of taking up the cross every single day can be tiring. With no opportunity to rest, unless you turn that burden over to another, you can stumble. This is because, being tired and weighted down is a recipe for a perfect disaster.
But what happens when we fall? An athlete in a race sometimes wins the race by the inch of his/her head making it pass the finish line or his hand or foot. In the same way, falling forward, you may well be over the line, and that is not a bad place to be. There is an adage that says “2 steps forward, 10 steps backward” which is what most people use to describe their fall.
However, looking at that adage literally, one could realize that though you may have fallen “10 steps backward”, progress was still made, and you are not at the place where you use to be.
Falling forward is an advancement then, from the pace where we started. And if nothing else, we can learn from that fall either to trust God to pick us up after each fall or at the very least, to “cast our cares on Him” as Peter encourages us to in 1 Peter 5:7
How to fall forward
While it is true that Christianity is hard. So is studying for a degree, trying to lose weight, maintaining relationships, and keeping up with social media- yet we do most of them. People need people and so as we embrace each fall, we also embrace the people put in our lives that can hold us accountable for our actions and help us not to walk upright.
Proverbs chapter 27 verse 17 puts it this way “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Undoubtedly, God knew that godly friends would make us better. And though they may not be able to stop us from stumbling, they will help us to be better at the things that make us weak, so we can be better friends, be better siblings and be better in our walk with Christ.
God also picks us up when we fall. In proverbs 24:16 Solomon shares with us that “the godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again”. It is true then, that God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge knows that we will trip up, but rest assured, He also knows that with His strength and grace we will be able to get up again.
Stumbling can be a humbling experience, since we now know that we are not impeccable. It allows us to understand that each of our brothers and sisters are also going through something that they too may be struggling with and allows us to exercise grace when dealing with them.
It is this same grace that we can extend to let even unbelievers see that as Christians, we don’t have it all “figured out”, we have just learnt to put our hope and trust in the One who is bigger than our fall, our trip up and our struggles.
So, stumble if you must, but dust off yourself and go again, because today, rest assured you are at a much better place. More experienced, more gracious and still moving forward.
Tamieka Pennant Dussard is a poet and writer, who has served in youth ministries mentoring young people both in Canada (current home) and Jamaica. She is the Director of “Young Wives Uncensored” a social organization which seeks to provide support and accountability to young, married women. She hopes to continue to use her gifts and experiences to motivate young people and share God with the world. She also enjoys cooking and sharing flexi-vegan recipes (IG: ltdkitchen)