“I often fall short of my own standards.” Senator John McCain
There is a desperation in the faces of the boys reaching upward. It is I’m certain how Senator McCain sometimes feels when he falls off his own path; yet he courageously gets back up and trudges back to the path of his own standards again.
In the full view of the sculpture, the boys are naked, running toward their own rescue. The boy on the left has one leg raised in flight and you can see the shadow of his ribs as he raises his hands, reaching up for salvation.
I know the feeling. Don’t you? When I fall short, I desperately call on God to rescue me, feeling naked, exposed, as I abandon all pride in the fervor for salvation. When I am in such straits, I forget I have already been saved, already been lifted up, already been given the mercy I need to come up from the ground, to stop the race, to stand still and breathe in God’s unconditional love and lavish grace.
Like the boy on the left, I run madly for God’s love, forgetting He has never left me. He abides inside me as the Holy Spirit. He reminds me of the words of Jesus, my Savior, Immanuel.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” Mathew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14)
When I fall short, I am unable to remember the things He told me, the calming presence He brings, and the clear pathway I can follow back to His heart and my own standards.
I take no notice of His lighter burden, I brush away His whispers in my ear, I pay no attention to the continual reminders of His beckoning voice through nature which surrounds me. I become blind to the signals which surround me every moment.
I fall back and am tempted to pick up the chains of unworthiness. I am inclined to think of myself as a sinner instead of a child of God. I am baited into boxing myself into narrow, judgmental assessments instead of expansive, invitational openness which enlarges my mind and heart.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
When I fall short, I fall into neediness, into hunger, into scarcity, into blame, into shame, into regret. I walk with blinders on and only see what is directly in front of me. I do not want to see what might be in my peripheral vision because it might change my perspective, and I am comfortable with my small beliefs, with my small god.
I do not want my vision to be disrupted because I might have to change my thinking. I might have to grow. I might have to acknowledge I have stepped off Jesus’ path, not just off my own path. I might have to look at my own responsibility in my brokenness.
What I don’t understand yet is that once I view my brokenness and flaws through a clear mirror, I can begin to invite God in to heal me. What I don’t understand yet is admission is the first step into the lifeblood of who God is. I don’t understand this yet because I have fallen short and I can’t admit it. It is a vicious circle.
“I am the Vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.” (John 15:5)
Once I open my heart and mind and connect with You once again as a branch is connected to the trunk (Vine) of the tree, I feel Your beating heart; it beats as one with mine. My heart has returned to its pure state (Matthew 5:8), the blinders are removed and I see You once again.
I have fallen short, but You guide me back to the path I know is right, and the way is easy and the burden is light. You care for me now just as You have always done. You love me no less when I make mistakes; Your hand is always out for me to take. I only must be willing to receive Your love and grace.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)