“I can’t do it. I’m so frustrated. I’m not good at this.”
“You can do it. Just take a deep breath.”
“Every time I try to solve it, I get it wrong.”
I can relate.
I sat on the edge of my son’s bed, peering over his shoulder at the math lesson on the screen.
He had worked and re-worked the problem only to come up with wrong answer after wrong answer.
I know the feeling. I bet you do too. How often have you faced a situation you have attempted to solve to no avail. You begin to hear the taunting whispers that you’ll never get it, clothing your soul with fear and frustration.
I looked at the problem facing my son from a different viewpoint. I stood at the top of the hill looking down into the valley. I spotted the cleared trails and paths leading to the place he needed to go.
He stood down in that valley, right in the cluster of tall, tangled weeds. He couldn’t see the path because he was on the same level ground of the path he sought.
“Ok, listen. I see exactly what you need to do. I need you to start by taking a deep breath. Then take a step back. You need a new viewpoint.”
He shot a quick, questioning glance my way.
I watched his shoulders release the clutches of fear and frustration. I heard the held air leave his lungs.
“Ok, now step back. You need a wider view. Ask yourself this question – what is this problem asking me to do? You see, you are jumping to trying to solve, but you are missing the big picture. What is it even asking you to do from a big picture view? What is the logical path to get there?”
When I realized I had his attention, I continued.
“It’s actually easier than you realize. You approached it with a negative attitude, assuming the problem was out to get you and you would never get it right. But if you approach with a different attitude and a broader mindset, you might be surprised to find the answer was right in front of you the entire time.”
I tossed out a question. He answered. I tossed another. He answered. Each question served as the stakes tossed to mark his trail.
He arrived at the answer with no fighting or clawing. It was there in all its simple glory.
The next day a similar problem awaited him. It was the same type of problem, only it was asked with a slight variation. I watched as he began to march into the tangled weeds. It’s the way most familiar to him. He called out to me. I stood by his side.
“Remember, take that wide angle view. Switch lenses. Step back.”
He followed my guidance. I watched him climb out of the choking weeds and make his way to to the top of the hill.
I never said another word. I simply reminded him to choose the right view first.
He solved the problem.
For the next several days, I watched him reminded of the days he took his first tottering steps, unsure of his newfound skill. I remember those steps clearly. With each step, his smile grew. He’d glance back for reassurance. I’d smile back. You can do it, my smile prompted him. I’m right here to catch you when you fall.
Don’t fear the fall. I’ll help you up. Each fall brings you one step closer to your next steady step. I love you. I love you. I love you.
After a few days of my son calling out to me to guide him through these types of math problems, he realized he actually could do it. It took practice. Each one became easier. The answer was always right in front of him. He only needed to look through a wide angle lens rather than a zoom lens.
“Mom, can you come here. I think I need help.”
“I think you’ve got it, buddy.”
He got to work. I watched him take it step by step.
“It’s weird. Sometimes you don’t even need to say anything, but just your presence helps me. I wish I could do all my math problems with you by my side. I feel like I’d get them all right.”
His words hit my soul in the most healing of ways. God’s Presence is my good. His Presence is sometimes the only thing I need.
But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.
When we stand in our impossible problems, we forget God stands high above us, yet right beside us at the same time. He has the wider view.
To solve my impossible situations and problems, I simply need to call out to Him. I need to seek Him. Sometimes He will guide me step by step and show me paths I couldn’t see on my own. But sometimes His Presence is the only thing I truly need. I just need the reminder that He sees me, He loves me, He is for me not against me. He is my everything.
He calmly caresses my back as He whispers, “Daughter, I’m here. I’m your refuge. All you need is me. I’ll guide you. I’ll care for you. When you fall on the path, don’t be afraid of the fall. I’ll be here to lift you up. I’ll wipe the dirt from your knees. I’ll bandage your wounds. Let me care for you, for I’m tender and gentle. Let your tears fall. I collect them in a bottle. I have numbered the very hairs on your head. You are my great treasure. Just seek my Presence, and together we will walk.”