I fell a little over two weeks ago–while I ran.
I fell hard on the cement sidewalk, and hit my knees, my hands, my jaw, my chin, my teeth. It felt like my brain shifted around inside my skull. My sunglasses flew through the air.
I felt startled by the sudden change of position. One moment I jogged along enjoying the morning sun and slight breeze. The next I found myself in a prone positon with pain in many parts of my body.
I cried out, “Lord, help me,” and wondered about broken bones.
I fell several other times over my years of running—each time because of a rise in the sidewalk I didn’t notice. On each occasion I suffered no broken bones. As I got slowly to my feet, I realized once again my bones remained intact. However, I felt pain in my face, my jaw, my hands and especially my knees.
I put my hand to my face, and drops of blood trickled into it. A large scrape on my left knee bled some and hurt.
One thing I knew. I wanted to keep going. I had been doing so well with my running schedule. So despite the pain, and even though I fell near the beginning of a six-mile run, I determined not to abandon it because of a fall.
So I picked myself up and kept running.
Young people passed me on the way to school, and a little girl said cheerily, “Good morning. I hope you have a great day.”
I felt so encouraged by the enthusiasm of her greeting. She didn’t seem to notice the blood on my face or knees. I hurt some, but as I ran it seemed my body dealt with the pain—probably because of endorphins which release during exercise. Once again I returned to enjoying the scenery and my time with the Lord. I thanked God for sparing me any serious injury, any broken bones, and that I continued to be blessed with a full set of teeth.
After two weeks, my knee still hurts and the wound there seems slow to heal. But I have kept up my running schedule and continue to rejoice that when I fell, I picked myself up and kept on going.
My physical fall got me thinking about falls in my spiritual life. Sometimes I’m tempted to give up when I fall and not keep moving on. But just as I picked myself up off of that sidewalk and immediately returned to running, I learned it’s essential to do that in my spiritual life. The enemy whispers to do otherwise, and he attempts to bring shame over the fact of a fall just as I felt a bit ridiculous for not paying closer attention to the rise in the sidewalk and the unfortunate result.
One thing I know about spiritual falls: the Lord wants to assist me to move on after I have one.
A verse I found that speaks of that is Psalm 145:14: “The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
I could have made another decision after my fall. One choice would be to say, “I never want to run again; I refuse to risk another fall.”
But every worthwhile pursuit in life involves falls and failures. The key is to pick myself up and move on.
I’m so glad God helps me to do just that.
“We Fall Down” by Donnie McClurkin