Two weeks ago I fell hard running and skinned up both my knees almost 2 miles from home. Panic mode set in. So many thoughts within those first moments after…”Should I call someone to get me?” “Maybe I’ll stop a policeman to drive me home.” “I can surely walk.” “Will I still be able to run my race in 2 months?” “What if I can’t exercise?” “Should I not eat as much this week if I can’t exercise?”

From the logical to the extreme, I went through all the emotions and thoughts of what a potential setback could mean. It’s hard to feel like we’re not where we should be. Or when something derails our progress towards a goal. I could have sat and dwelled on how I should have picked my feet up more or shouldn’t have run that morning, but the truth remained that I was hurt and would have to adjust to do things differently.

I think back on so many times when I had setbacks and tried to push through them because not doing what I was trying to do made me feel less like myself. For example, I started moderate exercise only 1.5 weeks after having Micah simply because I had done that after Liam. But that mentality and the fear of missing out on who I felt like I was (the exercise person) set me back even further. When we push too hard, too fast, we don’t allow our bodies (or our minds) to rest and reflect.

Stumbling (literally and figuratively) are a part of life. We don’t have to like them, but they will happen. Our response to them can determine our attitude towards others and how we can best handle future failures. I do not have this all figured out because as I said above, I freaked out and had all those thoughts, and more, for about 10 minutes. But I did get some clarity and have learned some perspective, as this was not the first time I’ve fallen and likely won’t be the last, in some area of my life.

Start by acknowledging the setback or what you don’t like about it. Process out loud what’s happening. Even if you don’t know the answers. Just start with exactly how you’re feeling. As you gain a little more perspective, I have shifted to asking God, “What does this make possible?” or “What do you not want me to miss by this happening?” In my case this last week, it allowed more rest days which I had been avoiding but desperately needed. It reminded me to slow down in other areas and to be grateful I didn’t break any bones. These thoughts came much later after the initial fall, but I hope you see how by speaking what I believed to be true out loud and then welcoming God’s possibilities into the process, I was able to mentally and physically recover better and wiser. 

My knee is still healing. I’m still limping a bit. But every setback, fall, failure, or mistake is an opportunity. An opportunity for God’s grace to shine on areas we keep hidden. A way to grow as a Christian man or woman. To dig deeper into our walks with the Lord. Next time a fall sets you back, take some time and then ask God what could be made possible.