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Standing On The Furniture | May 24, 2021

Posted 05-24-2021 at 02:29 PM by navman

Standing On The Furniture
I first wrote this in February of 2009 - over 12 years ago! I was in Afghanistan, on my very last deployment as a member of the U.S. Navy. I was reflecting on my life - not too specific - but enough to just think about things that matter. After sifting through all the good and bad, the ups and downs - I realized it was about attitude within myself - and my relationship (or lack thereof) with God.

Interesting thing about God. He never goes away. We drift away, we go do our own thing and He just patiently waits - sometimes He interferes enough to wake us up. He is the Shepherd with that staff, occasionally reaching out and tapping the errant lamb on the shoulder or tail to make it move along in the right direction. We don't always know it and we even think that we're just going on alone in life without Him but we really aren't - He never leaves us. He never forsakes us.

The problem is not God in the relationship - it's us. We neglect Him, we ignore Him, we rebel against Him --- and He just keeps on loving us. That boggles my mind sometimes -- all that love, grace, forgiveness and mercy - for me. I'm not that much to bother with - and yet, He figured I was worth enough to die for me on the cross at Calvary.

So… I wrote this. It's about that journey we take in life. We only have the one life to life - here, and if we are smart we'll accept His gift of unconditional love and He'll extend that life into eternity. Notice, I said "if"...

Two things I think are the most important in life…
And two things I think you need to think about…
1 is: Sometimes you have to stand on the furniture and -
2: You have to break loose your personal scar tissue.

When we’re young children, we all stand on the furniture ….
We all want to be first in line…
We all want to play 3rd base or center field…
We all want to kiss the prettiest girl – or guy, depending on what side of the fence you are on...
We’re going to be astronauts or movie stars…
Life is an endless series of opportunities with no sense of boundaries or limits…
But then as we get older we’re taught that it’s dangerous to stand on the furniture.
Even worse, at some point we begin to believe it.

By age 20 or so, school has pretty much beaten it out of us…
It’s no longer about being first in line –
It’s about getting in line.

If you’re still standing on the furniture at age 30 … and particularly if you've fallen off a couple of times – you’re thought of as being in danger of “personal or professional failure” (whatever that means for a 30-year-old).

If you’re still doing it at age 40…and you've been somewhat successful, then you’re called an iconoclast – sort of a dopey guy who does weird things that nobody understands –
But it seems to work out for him and for the people around him most of the time.
(Notice I said “Most of the time”)

And then, if you’re still standing on the furniture at age 50 or so, they send you to Iraq or Afghanistan or Okinawa or wherever the wind seems to carry you according to its whims…

Society doesn't really want us to stand on the furniture EVER…
And institutions fear people who stand on the furniture,
But ultimately, it’s not society or institutions that hold us back…
It’s us as individuals.

We fall and get hurt in one way or another,
Then all too often we hunker down in our comfort zones…
We become afraid…
We get hurt physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually…and we’re afraid to pick up the bat again and swing as hard as we can like we used to…
Two or three of our ideas don’t work out right…
And so we become afraid to stretch ourselves mentally-
Or take a risk in our personal and professional life…

Personal relationships go sideways…
We get hurt emotionally…
And we hurt others in the process…
And we become afraid to let the shields down – and commit openly and honestly to one another as individual human beings…
We become afraid to stand on the furniture because we fall off and hit the floor and it hurts…

And the resulting scar tissue causes us to draw back physically, mentally and emotionally – and worst of all: spiritually.
We retreat to the false safety of boundaries we set for ourselves –
Not boundaries set by society or any institution,
But boundaries that we set which limit what we can be as individuals.
Now here are some things what I want you to think about:
You can’t be a bull in a china closet,
And you can’t be stupid in picking and choosing your fights –
Because not every injustice warrants a crusade.

But if you’re going to do anything worthwhile in life;
If you’re going to experience any of your dreams;
If you’re going to make a difference in the lives of others;
And open up to allow others to make a difference in your life –--

Then sometimes you have to stand on the furniture,
Sometimes you have to take some risks,
And when you do you’ll occasionally fall and get hurt –
Because life really is a contact sport.

And then comes the hardest part:
Having the courage to get up, break that scar tissue loose, jump up and stand on the furniture again –
To not allow the friction of life and relentless pull of gravity to make you less of a person…
Trust me – I know.

For 64 years in this business called life I've seen individuals at all social levels and ranks that stood on the furniture…
Fall off…
And got back up and made a difference.

I've seen it in my own life.
I've made mistakes in my life that have created new scar tissue for me and others, but I've also broken loose some old scar tissue for myself – and, I hope, for others as well.
And I know I’m better for it physically and mentally and maybe emotionally –--
(Spiritually, I’m not so sure. I’m still trying to get back on track with God on that) ---

Because ultimately it’s all about taking risks in life, and it’s only my life – and it’s only your life.
I can’t live yours and you can’t live mine.
But about God again… after I’m 64, then I’m 65, 66, and then… someday I won’t be anything on this earth.

All the risks will be done; all the furniture climbing is over; and I’m down and gone but if God is there in me and I’m in Him then maybe all that I've gone through and experienced – all the scraped knees, crying heart tears, and broken brain cells – will be brought into perspective and I’ll realize that maybe the reasons I did or did not do what I was supposed to do was what God intended.
Maybe that sounds crazy … or maybe I just jumped off the furniture again and took a risk in a mental and spiritual jump.
Only HE knows for sure…

Maybe I’ll have peace someday, and look back and say, “It was all good – even the times that I accepted the merely existent, and stayed off the furniture, and avoided the contact sport of life, and kept the scabs on the scar tissues – because I was afraid to try and take a chance.”
So…what have I learned ultimately?
Take a chance on life…
Take risks…
In living-
In loving-
That tomorrow’s only guarantee is that it will be there whether we’re alive to experience it or not.
And the other guarantee is that God will always be there and tomorrows will be forever because He’s forever and tomorrow wouldn't exist without Him anyway.
I just hope that I've climbed on the furniture enough and took enough risks.
I hope you do too –
And not give up…
On yourself, or God.
Original post, age 52, February 22, 2009
Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
Posted in Uncategorized
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