Today I caught Sienna attempting to lift herself up on the step to the hallway for the first time. She’s 9 months old this week and nearly crawling. Her current favourite movements are the downward dog and the army crawl. It’s so interesting to watch how fast she has developed. I find myself amazed at how she manages to squirrel herself under or over something, in order to reach the item she is determined to have. It’s like she has an innate determination to try. No one has told her she can, and likewise no one has told her she can’t.
Sienna has an instinct to roll over, to crawl and to walk. Of course as parents, once Rich and I sense that she is attempting a new phase of development, we start to encourage it. Some things, like talking, she will first observe and then attempt, and hopefully learn to effectively communicate (bearing in mind I’m from Stoke and Rich is from Wellingborough!)
All of this got me pondering, “I wonder when we learnt to stop trying; to give up?”. I’m sure this question has been comprehensively explored by psychologists and sociologists, and is affected by many factors, but it occurred to me that we are seemingly born with an instinct to try. So if this is true, why do we stop trying in some areas? This must be a learnt behaviour.
I guess when we learn to reason, we can reason ourselves out of trying and vice versa. This isn’t always a bad thing. If you have been endlessly pursuing the apple of your eye to no avail, maybe there should come a point when you ease off the stalker vibes and take the hint, or maybe you should continue to believe (pester), driven by a romantic vision of driving off into the sunset together. This is where wisdom kicks in. Obviously, there are some things we should let go of, but in the pursuit of good dreams, and healthy, life-affirming, exciting goals, we have to know that it’s inbuilt within us to try and try again.
Sienna’s development doesn’t happen overnight, and just because she has the instinct to do something, it doesn’t mean she achieves it straight away. On the contrary, it takes quite a few attempts, and therefore quite a few failures, sometimes mini tantrums, and often a few knocks. However, her little determined spirit pushes her to try again until she reaches her goal.
Reflecting on some lyrics from a song by the late Aliyah, (*sings in head), “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again..” perhaps my 9 month old daughter could teach us a little about how God designed us and intended us to live. I realise life doesn’t always afford everyone the encouragement of those around them, the perfect circumstances or maybe the great results we had all hoped for, but if we were designed to try, with an inbuilt determination to succeed, maybe we can hit the reset button, dust ourselves off and try again. Just like a computer that has been hit by a virus, maybe we could reboot the system, rediscover our factory settings, and override all of the negative experiences that have dampened our hope and convinced us that we shouldn’t try anymore.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but I take courage when watching Sienna try, and try again. Every now and then she gets upset, I comfort her, dust her off, reset her balance, and off she goes.
For me, seeking God is my reset button. When life becomes overwhelming, or I feel like I’ve failed one too many times, I set time aside to restore my settings, realign my core convictions, let courage take hold of my heart and determine to try again. The good news for me is that I’m always met with grace; undeserved favour. Not only am I met with grace but I’m also empowered by it.
Perhaps the greatest reset of all time, was when Jesus died on the cross to erase the debt of my failures, past, present and future, and rose again to show me the way to victory and my future. I take heart in the everlasting opportunity to reset and try again.
Hebrews 4 v 16
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”
Psalm 138 v 3
“When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.”
If my creator, the creator of the Universe, the one who designed me, the one who created my factory settings and wrote the manual, has given me a fresh start, then He can do it for you too.
Dust yourself off and try again.