Before we walked this world as gracefully as we do now, we went through a trying process of simply finding our ground and balance. We rolled, we scooted, we crawled, and we stumbled. Then we learned to get along with gravity and the strides came easily. We forget how learning to walk was a challenge, but isn't crazy to think that if we did not stumble, we might've never mastered walking?
Our physical developmental stages are not much different than our spiritual developmental stages. We roll and wallow in sin, not knowing that there is a better way to move through life.
We scoot, using the knowledge we have learned from previous situations.
We crawl, finally seeing what was clouded by our flesh before,
and when we finally understand that God has given us the grace to Walk and Run with him.... we still stumble on our way.
Stumble; To trip or momentarily lose one's balance; almost fall.
Remember how you committed to not indulging in sex before marriage, but somehow ended up in his bed any way? What about your commitment to taking your feelings to God, but instead you chased them with a bottle? Or how you know that the power of life and death is in your tongue, but you're the quickest to speak bitterly and you hardly listen earnestly? Yes, changing is also challenging.
I used to wonder why God would challenge me so much, when he knew my heart wanted him. He saw me trying, so why wouldn't he allow me to walk a smooth path? My walk with God was anything but graceful at first. I stumbled and tripped like a toddler who hadn't learned to look ahead, but instead watched their feet. Prone to falling.
We all struggle and trip over our own things. I struggle with Pride, Compassion, Vulnerability, and insecurities. They used to really obstruct my vision. I was stressed about being labeled with "typical" black girl problems. Every black female lead in Hollywood has my issues. I am too guarded, too serious, too cold. lacking too much of the good woman qualities, yet still somehow I am too much. I sometimes still question why God made me all of those things and not enough of the desirable things. As you see, insecurity was and still is a strong vice.
I held on to this truth; If I possess these qualities, even at small degrees, they must be who I am. So I let my pride put my opinion over everyone else's. Fall. I refused to acknowledge the reality of other's trauma because I could not feel for them, let alone with them. Fall. I kept everyone at arm's length because if they're too close, they would see too much. Fall. I became the most important thing to myself. I was convinced that I was not enough to even notice, let alone be cared for. Fall.
Fall; To move from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control.
I was right and everyone was wrong. I did not need anyone other than myself. My pain was mine and I was responsible for making others feel it too. I allowed my flesh to deceive me for so long. I was falling, Hard. I knew my way of thinking did not align with God's. I knew what God thought about me. I knew I was made in his image, but I chose to create my own. Blatantly ignoring his most obvious solution: Him.
You might have a similar story of struggling. No matter if it's pride, envy, lust, or alcoholism. a vice is a vice and their grips are deathly. But it is key to know the difference between Stumbling and Falling. As toddlers begin to walk, falling is frequent and normal. They have to adjust to the new orientation and the new way their bodies move. They have seen it done before, but now they have to do it themselves. Much is the same for walking in our faith. It's new and our flesh is used to having its way. We struggle to overcome the old desires of our hearts and bodies. Sometimes we give in. We've seen and heard the stories of those who came before us. We just have to follow their footsteps. Just like a clumsy toddler, we must get back up.
To fall is to lose complete control and rapidly decline or backslide.
To stumble is to momentarily lose your balance, but not lose control.
Stumbling on your walk with God is normal and sometimes necessary. For if we did not stumble, we would not learn a single thing about virtue and faith. When we stumble, we are forced to look at things from God's perspective and not our own. When we stumble, we have to trust that there is a reason behind the trial. When we stumble, we become more resilient. Just how wobbling physically strengths the ligaments in our ankles, Stumbling spiritually strengthens our faith. Remember God never promised us no test or trials , But he did assure us a path with a promised destination.
Be conscious about falling, it happens to most of us who are babes in our faith. However to stay in your fallen state is foolish when you already know the truth. When we decide to stay down, we look a lot how Charity Haygood does in this video. Watch the clip for a perfect representation of what falling in our sin looks like when we know better. Choose him. We may stumble, but by his side we will not fall.
Psalm 37:24 "Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the lord holds them by the hand"
Though I stumble, God still loves me
Though I stumble, I will rely on God to strengthen me
Though I stumble, I will not believe the lies of the enemy
Though I stumble, I know God still has plans to prosper me.
Though you stumble, You can still run the good race.
This post was inspired by Though I stumble, a novel by Kim Cash Tate. Though I Stumble follows the journey of four women and their unique testimonies and relationships with God. They are no strangers to heartbreak, shame, abandonment, and of course, stumbling. This story presents a pure and realistic representation of love, accountability, friendship, and faith from young and mature Christian perspectives. To read more about the book and the author, visit her website.