Stepping Up and Out

You know what it’s like to get plummeted with “stuff” in your life – to get dirt thrown in your face so to speak. We all go through countless experiences that can shake us to our core, but life happens and we need to simply flow with it.  But that isn’t always easy to do, is it?

Relationships can be problematic. Jobs can be taken away or difficult to tolerate. Money can be tight and never seem enough, and your health may suddenly slip from a healthy state. Life happens. Very often it feels too much to bear and perhaps you feel like you are carrying a huge boulder on your shoulder.  We’ve all been there repeatedly, but the secret is in how you respond to that situation.

Are you able to rise above the circumstances and simply step right over the problem, knowing that God is watching over you and will resolve your situation if you surrender the problem, are patient and get out of the way? Trials and tribulations are bound to show up, but the response to those circumstances makes a big difference in the end result, not just in how you feel personally, but how your life plays out.

I shared this story a few years ago, but it warrants repetition since it has such a good moral. Here’s the story.

One day a framer’s donkey fell into an abandoned well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. He was upset because this donkey had served him well and everyone saw they had a real bond, but he couldn’t figure out how to get his donkey up from the bottom of the well.

Finally, as he thought long and hard about the situation, he decided that since the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up, and he had no way to retrieve this animal that he could see, he gave up and quit trying. He felt sad, but felt hopeless for a solution to appear.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the donkey with dirt. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. Realizing what was happening, the donkey began to cry and wail horribly. But suddenly, after a while and some shovels full later, he quieted down completely.

Hearing no more of his donkey’s wailing, the farmer wondered what had happened to quiet the donkey so suddenly. He wanted to see what was going on in the well, so he peered down into it. He was astounded by what he saw. With every shovel full of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake off the dirt and take a step up onto the new layer of dirt. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, the donkey would shake it off and take another step up. Pretty soon, the donkey reached the top of the well and simply stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off, to the shock and astonishment of all the neighbors as well as the farmer.

A few minutes later however, the donkey trotted back and walked over and kicked the farmer hard, being that he tried to bury him. One listener to the story thought about it and made this comment: Could it be that if you try to cover your ass, it always comes back and gets you!

I believe the real moral of this story is that life will continue to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt, coming in all shapes and sizes. The trick is getting out of the well and not letting any of the dirt bury you, but to simply shake it off and take a step up! We can actually get out of the deepest wells just by never stopping or giving up. Simply shake it off and take a step up. That’s what the donkey did to the surprise of the neighbors and definitely to the astonishment of the farmer. But did the farmer show his true colors when he was willing to cover up his donkey who had served him so well for so many years?

Perhaps there is a lesson in this story about loyalty and simple love. The farmer claimed to care for his donkey and acknowledged the donkey’s faithful service for many years, but somehow he let that slip from his thoughts and just give in to the circumstances. Do you ever give in to circumstances in your life and just give up trying any longer? Does loyalty slip away from your thoughts as well?

Or perhaps the farmer was thinking it cruel to allow a slow death for his donkey or hated hearing his pitiful wailing. So in this case was he thinking of his donkey differently, as in ending his suffering quicker?

There is no question that the hero of this story is the donkey. It outsmarted the farmer big time and showed its inner strength when the farmer did not. So perhaps the real understanding of this story is the fortitude and strength shown by the donkey even when someone close to it didn’t measure up and come through for it? It tells us that no matter who comes through for us, ultimately it is our own strength and determination that gets us through anything thrown at us.

So as life happens for you, and dirt is thrown at you time and time again, don’t wail and give up as a victim will, instead, shake off the dirt and continue to step up over the dirt until you can overcome the issue and become a victor!



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