You know those moments when reality just hits you square in the face and you never see it coming?
Yeah, me too. Today. It happened today.
What’s even worse? It was me from three years ago who did it. Darn you, Timehop.
Let me set the scene for you:
Three years ago, I was sitting on the edge of the Aegean Sea. It was late at night, maybe two blocks away from our hotel. I’m sitting at the spot on the beach in Athens where they would dump the excess materials they had while building the Parthenon. I’m alone and I’m really angry. *There’s actually a group picture somewhere on the internet that we had taken just before I went to the beach and the look on my face is just hideous and I still feel bad about it. But, hey, I was angry. I digress, I’m sitting on the beach, throwing these chunks of stone and marble out into the ocean. Just doing anything I can to get this overwhelming sense of anger out. I was angry at a culmination of things that had been eating away at me for quite some time that had finally come to the surface. I kept throwing these rocks. Harder, harder, and harder. My shoulder and heart were throbbing and I let out this scream that I’m sure was just.. awful. A couple running along the beach came up the rock pile I was standing on to check on me. Feeling utterly defeated, I plopped down on this huge pile of stones in tears. I sat there for a minute or two and eventually looked up and gazed out at the sea. Nothing could be seen. Just darkness, the sound of waves crashing, beating on those rocks filled my ears. Then I pulled out my phone to check the time. I had a notification from my Bible app. “Weird” I said to myself. I had never set it up for notifications. I find them fairly annoying. I opened it up and this verse was there staring me back in the face.
“Cursed is the man who has faith in man, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from God”
Cue face slap. God – 1, Austin – 0. In a split second, my mood went from anger and bitterness to relief and joy and I couldn’t contain it. I tweeted that verse almost immediately (millennial alert) and was just laughing and laughing and had no sense of anything else going on around me. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked.
So, that’s how God used me from three years ago to knock me back into reality. I give God two points for style. For those of you keeping score, that’s God — 3, Austin — 0.
Why did I tell you this story? I’m not sure, actually. Maybe because today you feel defeated? Maybe because there’s one person who is reading this that feels like the world around them is caving in and you just let out this scream while standing on the edge of the world and you just collapse. And while staring out into the darkness and abyss before you, I can look at you in the eye and say that I have been there. I have been there. I have been there.
We are a very independent people, Americans. We like to do things on our own. We a lot of times get on this high streak where everything we do is just right. Like, there’s absolutely nothing that can bring us down. Then there’s the times when we trip up and it’s strange. Like the world suddenly started turning the opposite way. If we mess up once or if something bad happens to interrupt our #winning streak, we usually get up, brush it off, and keep going. But when it happens a second time, a third time.. we start getting frustrated, and angry, and bitter, like we can never see an end in sight. We keep trying to do things on our own, on our terms, and the way we want to do it. That’s where I mess up a lot.
When we make ourselves into our own strength, that’s when we fall flat on our face.
Going back to that verse, God is reminding us that when we put allow ourselves to be our own rock, we will, eventually fall under the weight of the world. That sounds harsh, but it should be a little comforting as well. Relinquishing control to the thing that made us and everything else should sound.. way better than handling everything by ourselves.
I know I sound really preachy right now. That’s not my intention and that’s not even what I like to do. I just had this desire to share this with you all today. I’m preaching more to myself than to any one of you. But, maybe one of you can take this story and use it and apply it to your situation. I hope that, no matter what, you come out of this feeling blessed and excited to take on anything.
Today, I’m giving it all away. How about you?