Bible Study, Faith, life, relationships, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized, Writing
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What Clips Your Wings? {or, yelling at God}

What clips your wings?

South Florida Sunrise
My youngest boy brought home an application to be a class representative in student body government, his first foray into leadership, politics, into submitting himself to the popular vote.

The form says: List in this box text that describes why you should be considered for student leadership.

His answers are adorable. But more than the cuteness of a nine-year-old stretching his wings in the confidence of his own flight is the profundity of his confidence. He is not tinged by doubt, he is untethered by past failure; his future is abounding in hope and choice and greatness. He lists his achievements  (in his best handwriting) and doesn’t see them as small, but sees them as toeholds and handholds to climbing higher. “I get to be line leader”; “I almost always turn in all my work on time”; “I am kind”.

He is putting himself out there, testing the lift and strength of his confidence. The class votes next week on whom they’ll choose to represent them. And he may fail. A part of me wants to warn him of that, shield him from the real threat of pain. But I say, “Those are great reasons and that is indeed your best handwriting.”

And my throat tightens and my soul hugs his and then lets go. I know he has a safe place to land if he falls – my heart is ever open to him, our home is the nest of security he needs. But he needs to launch and fly and maybe, fail. And so do I.

Discouragement is very real. It is the real of the earth that clings to our shoes, the dust, the muck of this world upon which our feet fall and explore every day.

But discouragement is the path of rut-making, of walking the same circular path day after day. It’s depth is formed by the plodding and the ridges worn deep by repetition and one day, the discouragement becomes despair because you look up, usually through eyes blurred with tears and see only the grooved walls of your rut.

Are you are in a canyon cut by discouragement, called Despair? Does the sameness of the surrounding walls imprison you? In the Canyon of Despair, you become one with the soil of your existence. There is nowhere to go, but along the same path. Beating the groove ever further.

Or is there?

David, familiar with the paths of discouragement, wrote:

Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! {Psalm 42:4 Living Bible} I lift my eyes up, to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. {Psalm 121:1-2 NIV, a psalm of ascents}

I picture David, caught in the ridged and rutted repeat of his failures, wondering, how can Help find me here? Where do I even look?

Ah, Earth. We are familiar with its grit. Are we too connected to its earthy hold forgetting its ruler?

Then, a sliver of blue sky draws him to crane his neck and peer up into it. The peaks of mountaintops thrust high into the clouds. His horizon is no longer the bleak and familiar tunnel, but in looking up and over the wall the horizon is not a tree-lined hill or a desert plain, either.

His horizon is all space and cloud and mountain and star and sun and birds upon wing, flying. They move hither and yon, zigzagging, dipping and swaying and circling and straightway and east and south and north and west. They soar and they flap and choose the topmost point of the evergreen upon which to perch and sing their songs.

They fly. Unclipped, unabashed, uninhibited. Free.

But discouragement, downcast eyes and limiting expectations, these clip my wings. And the blade on the knife is forged from fear and hardened in fires of trial and hurt. You too?

And like David, I find myself treading the soil of then and now and forgetting that the future is all flight and air. But grace upon grace, he finds me down there and reminds me of the purpose but also of the hope and the help and the future flight.

I have not liked my vista lately. My view is increasingly lined with terra firma and I am winding the trail I wind when discouragement cloaks my thinking. I hope you understand, that you know of this, too.


Last night, I yelled at God about it, in my car, driving, a lunatic looking, looking to the hills by shouting at my King. I went in for surgery this morning, not a big deal but enough to lay me out a day or two. To pass the time in sleepy soreness, I check my social networks, read the blogs I follow and scan my email.

God brought the horizon to me while I lay prone in bed.

One is here: She says, “So pray. Listen closely. Spread your wings. Decide it is time to launch.”

The other here: Lisa Jo Baker, Five Minute Friday

And the other, a direct message from a friend, and one I call a mentor: “Praying for you today, for your words. That you lean into the one who utters them to you, close like the lover of your soul as only he can. And that that breath becomes a wind to carry your words with it…Keep the main issue the main issue: ‘The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.’” {1 Timothy 1:5 The Message}

I didn’t call on them, but God answered my call through their words, their messages sent in the risk of love.

So when we wail at the bottom of a pit or rail against the walls of our rut, he will hear us, he will answer us. He loves us enough to lift us up again and let us fly, and loves us more than enough, because he lets us fly, fail, flail, fall, fly again.

He is the soft place to land and the open space to spread wings. He delights in our flight and is the wind upon which we beat wings to find those heights where help resides and rushes. Can you feel it upon your face, drying tear-wetted cheeks, the grace-wind of God?


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