Let it fail! Normally that’s the sound of giving up. Right? Just lay down your tools and leave. Give up. Stop trying. Walk away. I urge you to stick with me on this one. Sometimes the path we are on is so deeply ingrained we don’t recognize it as being wrong. We were on a motorcycle trip in North Carolina. If you’ve ever been there you’ll know what I mean about meandering over hills, through dense woods, and following roads that are never straight. I, being the passenger, thought I kept seeing signs pointing to the same town, but going in different directions. Interesting….but I was along for the ride and neither navigator nor driver so I didn’t speak up and question the intent. Our destination was only 19 miles from where we started, we drove on the path that seemed right, we didn’t deviate and nearly 3 hours later we arrived, road weary and exhausted having endured an anxious trip of not 19 miles, but 65. How did that happen? You’re right, we needed a little dose of wisdom on our journey, a variation from the path. That’s biblical, by the way. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
That story is a picture of life, isn’t it? We have embedded ourselves so deeply in patterns of the familiar, we don’t know what life would be like if we exited the known path for another. There are signs along the way, clues that implore us to consider another direction, but we ignore them because this path seems right and to stop, means we’ve failed. Really? If this is where anxiety lives; if we live in fear; if this path is leading us deeper into despair, shouldn’t we let it fail? In his book, Failing Forward, John Maxwell said “Mistakes become failures when we respond to them incorrectly.”
I think it was Stephen Covey who started it, but I’ve heard others say we all have the ability to change our response to a situation. He called it Response-Ability. I have thought of that many times when I start descending down the rabbit trail to the familiar past where the roots of anxiety fester. I wonder if it’s my pride that barricades me from peace. Proverbs 16:18 spells it out quite plainly. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” I don’t want to completely descend to the place where worry and anxiety reproduce. I see the signs – so I can turn off the path. Failing at anxiety is a banner I want to wave high and proclaim that I will not be a victim to worry. I will not be afraid. You might remember that I often say, life is a contact sport and sometimes we get beat up pretty badly, but God is able to do above all that we ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20
I love the way the Message translation talks about our Response-Ability to some of life’s challenges. Psalm 56:1-4 “Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?”
Sometimes, it is we who are kicking ourselves around. Lesson learned – stop it! Choose another path. Come on …. Let’s give it a go today. Let’s fail a little bit and see if we can put anxiety behind us.
Why not wave your white flag? Chris Tomlin did. Here he is to sing about it. Raise Your White Flag