Dependence Is Like Tetherball

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Contributed by Toby Ward, Elder Overseer of Service at Image Church

The older I get, the more I seem to mature. (My wife would argue the opposite.)  Its natural, I guess, and built into the fabric of who we are that as we age, we start to see things in a different light. Things that we thought were important no longer are, dreams that we had seem to fade, and grand plans that we made fall to the wayside of life. That can be construed as bad or good, I suppose, and it really depends on how you look at it. How do we handle one season of life to the next? How do we adapt to changes in our behavior, actions, attitude, social status, financial status, and on and on as life’s challenges fly by? What is it that keeps us who we are, focused, grounded, and humble as our life progresses? Money? Neverending pursuit of climbing the corporate ladder?  Acceptance? Love? Children? Jesus?

At some point in your life, you have to define who you are. You have to establish what you believe and what’s never going to change. At some point, you have to anchor your life to something that will never let go, and always pull you back in no matter where life’s challenges/changes/disappointments/highs and lows take you. You have to have a point of reference that never changes, and can always guide you home.

This has really hit me hard lately, as I struggle with total dependence on God. What does that look like? How do we  FULLY and TRUSTFULLY depend on God in all that we do? God has been clear in Scripture that He wants ALL of us, and not just parts of us. He’s not interested in half-heartedness, and He desires to use us when we fully commit to him. So what is it that keeps us from doing that? Stuff. Its the stuff in the questions I asked above that keeps us who we are. Who we are striving to be will ultimately define who we are, and keep us in the same place.

Look at life like a tetherball game. You have this ball on a string that is tied to the top of a pole with two people on opposite sides of the pole. The goal is keep hitting the ball until you get it wrapped around the pole in the direction you are hitting. As you hit it, the other side is hitting it back, and usually the fastest and strongest person wins. Life is JUST like that. Imagine you are the ball, and we have a “pole” in our life that grounds us. Issues keep hitting us from all sides, and all we really want to do is rest on the pole, and THAT is why the pole is so important. If that pole is not firmly in the ground, then any strong hit or combo of hits will rip it out of the ground, and the game is over. All the hitting was for naught, and whoever was winning is now bitter because the pole is on the ground. The ball is the only happy thing because it’s no longer being hit, but it’s only a matter of time before the pole is up again, and the hitting commences.

In life, we need to define what our pole is. If your pole is money, career, status, or a combo of these things, then you will constantly be getting hit, knocked over, and hit again. It will never stop. However, if your pole is God, then that bad boy is NEVER going to falter. It will always stay grounded, and while getting hit may hurt you, know that ultimately it will stop, and the pole will win. It ALWAYS does when the pole is FIRMLY grounded. When that ball gets completely wrapped around that pole, the game is over, but my goodness what a GREAT PLACE to be!!!! When we get hit the hardest in life, it should drive us closer to our pole, and if our pole is Jesus, then that will be the sweetest place we can be!!!!!!!! Christ drives us to Him through adversity, and through adversity we HAVE to totally depend. Don’t anchor yourself to something in life that will not hold you up. Anchor yourself to something that will never let go, and keep you grounded no matter how hard you are getting hit.

The apostle Paul got hit harder than most during his walk with God. He was beaten repeatedly, mocked by a nation, always fighting uphill, but through it all he never thought too much of himself. He did not care about his well-being, but only that he completed his work for Jesus. (Acts 20:24) You think Paul is in heaven with any regrets for how he lived his life? Doubt it!!!!!

In 2 Corinthians 3:5 Paul says: ” Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.”  That is what was able to keep Paul going no matter what. Paul got that in order to succeed for the cause of Christ, you had to place your own ambition to the side, and know that God was the only one that can make us sufficient. There is NOTHING this life has to offer that can give us the kind of joy and satisfaction as being firmly grounded, and fully dependent on God. So, as I have gotten older, yes, I am maturing, but GOD is surely doing a work in me, showing me that dependence on Him is all that I need no matter what. No matter how much I am being hit, as long as I am centered in Him I will be ok.

What is your ball wrapping around?

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