I used to be a loner of sorts. I enjoyed people, but had developed an attitude that I didn’t really need people in order to accomplish things in this life.
That’s a lie.
Our culture is one that prides itself on accomplishments. And, the more independent you are in the quest and the longer your bootstraps are that you pull yourself up by, the better.
The reality is, regardless of how high you’ve pulled your bootstrap, someone along the way has helped you grasp them. The family you were born into, if a functional one, spurred you on in encouragement and provision. If dysfunctional, it was in disdain and determination to rise above the craziness and pain. But, it was a bootstrap pulled.
Somewhere along the way, someone encouraged you – a teacher, a parent, a mentor, a friend, a spouse, a child, a complete stranger. But someone said something to give you courage to pursue what you pursued. A bootstrap pulled.
There was money available from somewhere.
The idea came from an experience with someone.
You were in the right place, at the right time, with the right person, and that set the wheels in motion to accomplish what you accomplished. A bootstrap pulled.
The irony is, too often, once our bootstraps have been pulled by another, we cut them off. We look at our boots and the success we have achieved in them and create a narrative about our greatness, our intelligence, our fortitude, our brilliance. We live in a place of convenient amnesia and self-perceived awesomeness. And become primed for a fall of epic proportions.
We’ve seen it it again and again.
King David’s pride in 2 Samuel in counting “his” people led to a plague that killed 70,000 of them.
Nebuchadnezzar’s claim of magnificence in Daniel, led to his being humbled by losing his sanity and living like a wild animal for a number of years.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s domination and accumulation of power, with him leading thousands of men, ended with him dying alone in exile on a damp, dreary island.
You. Remember that time you exalted yourself in an argument or situation or life, and some event occurred to remind you that you really weren’t as great as you thought you were?
It’s because we really don’t control the bootstraps. We pull them up. There are people who assist us with pulling them, grasping them, but ultimately, God is the one holding them. He is the One who allows what He allows, for whatever reason and however long He allows it.
Whether one is a man after his own heart, like David, or one who refuses to believe in His existence and worships idols, like Nebuchadnezzar, three truths stand out…
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
For He knows our frame, He remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14)
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
Perhaps we would do well to remember that the next time we grab our boots.