I was saved at the age of five and raised in a loving, Christian home. My parents were worship pastors so I lived in the front pews of our church. I honestly loved it. I never had a problem with being there early or staying late. In fact I liked it because I was the cool kid who had special access to the building. I knew the secret alarm codes to get me in the back door!
My parents’ friends were like a second set of parents to me. They would come to my school choral concerts and cheer me on. My best friends were from my youth group. They walked through adolescence with me and provided a safe place for me to grow in my faith. They were my people because they understood the tension between living like the world and living like Christ. To this day, I’m grateful for their positive impact on my life.
I say all of this to provide you with a backdrop for my story: I have never known life without a safety net. What is a safety net? Merriam Webster Dictionary says it’s something that provides security against misfortune or difficulty. This is a good thing.
The term actually conjures up a scene of an acrobat walking a tightrope. We’ve all seen this circus act play out whether in person or on television. Will he make it across? What if he falls? How does he do that anyways? The answer is simple: He knows that there is a net to catch him if he loses his balance.
Growing up with the knowledge that there was always someone I could go to when life became hard did not make me less able to handle my problems. It trained me to live from a place of dependency instead of self-sufficiency. We need each other. God made us this way. Some examples that come to mind: Abraham and Sarah. Mary and Martha. David and Jonathan.
The world in all of its self-promoted glory tries to tell those of us who grew up surrounded by love from our family, friends, and church that we need to be independent. The enemy lies to us and says that being cushioned from the blows of this world as a child actually leads to fearful adults. But I am a proud product of a sheltered (GASP!) childhood and I have never been more certain that this is exactly what prepared me for the bumpy road of adulthood. It equipped me for the uncertainty that this world offers.
It is completely un-biblical to believe that you don’t need others walking through life with you. The Bible even says, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Are you believing the lie that you have to do everything on your own? Do you have people in your life to help you up when you trip and fall? Are you depending on Christ or on yourself?
God wants us to live the abundant life! But we have to live in the context of community in order to do it.