Most of you understand bucking. Lots of horse folks know what it’s like to look up from the ground wondering, “What happened?

I walk on the treadmill every day without incident. Until last Monday. One moment I was upright and the next I lay crumpled on our garage’s cement floor.

The first sign something was amiss was the unexpected noise of stressed plastic. The offended object was the blower fan case in front of my husband’s truck. I hit it on the way to the concrete floor a couple of feet to the right of the treadmill.

What happened?

I didn’t have to ask. It wouldn’t be honest to tell you there was no warning.

My balance is 100% visual. If it’s dark or my eyes closed I don’t know up from down. Or (apparently) sideways.

This isn’t new, but I decided to challenge my limitations. So I wondered,

Can I train my brain to balance another way?

I closed my eyes, hands hovering over the treadmill handles. After years walking on the tread I have great muscle memory. This should be easy.

Let me share the reason why I pushed my limitation. After years in remission, Meniere’s Disease is back and my balance is a wee bit worse. Now’s the time for improvement – if it’s still possible.

I closed my eyes for three counts, clutched the handles and opened my eyes. I was offset to the left.

I closed my eyes for another three counts, caught myself on the handles and opened my eyes. I was offset to the right.

I closed my eyes again and heard the sound of irritated plastic.

My brain didn’t notice I was no longer upright. It didn’t mention I was in midair. It didn’t warn me I was about to hit the concrete.

Splat.

Well, that’s curious.

I laughed and got back on the treadmill. And kept my eyes open. When finished I used two zipper bags of ice and a package of frozen peas to stave off bigger bruises. God was good; no major damage.

Between JackAss and Chicken-Heart

There’s plenty to improve upon without trying to rewire my brain.

Accepting less than what might be possible is tough for most of us. We swing back and forth between JackAss* and Chicken-Heart.

If we don’t try, are we slackers? If we do, are we fools?

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:1-4

Each situation deserves its own consideration. When Meniere’s was in full bloom it ranged from aggravating to debilitating. Hearing issues and balance concerns today are NOTHING by comparison.

God blessed me with years of peace. Now a bit of tribulation has returned, but it’s nothing to complain about. It doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want or need to do.

Yet, pushing against the tribulation of limitation this week pitched me off the treadmill. God wasn’t impressed with my efforts. I hope He laughed with me. But maybe not.

When called to serve as soldiers or first-responders, people place themselves in harm’s way. That’s not why I hit the concrete.

Chasing Something Better Than God’s Gift

The treadmill bucked me off because I chased something better than the blessing in hand. God didn’t ask me to close my eyes. Come to think of it, I didn’t ask. My bad. Why do I only think of that now?

Chasing tribulation on a whim when you’re aware of potential consequences doesn’t make you brave. Tribulations are a part of life, especially the Christian life. It’s neither wise nor righteous to chase, challenge, or create them ourselves.

If martyrdom is in your future, God will establish the manner and equip you to walk it out. Choosing your own martyrdom is neither holy nor appreciated. Some might call it suicide.

Tribulation is a part of life. Some of it natural, some heavenly.

Christianity is strongest and most vibrant in the midst of persecution. Faith grows when tested and God found faithful.

There is glory is tribulation for God’s people when they understand that it is often a refining fire. Impurities are being removed as we are being purified.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Embrace peace. Accept what you can’t change. Consider tribulation glory – but never chase it on your own.

(* JackAss the television series.)

 

This post was originally published as a recent 2018 newsletter message. Want to subscribe? Use the form in the sidebar and get your free ebook, The Business of Christ – God’s Personal Plan for Your Life.

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