It looked like a gentle breeze could blow it over.
The old barn had seen many harvests, been a safe house for cattle, and stored hay and corn husks. It was leaning to the left, and shivered as if it wouldn't make it through another winter. Rather than pulling the sorry building down, the farmer cut some pine poles, and propped it on the leaning side. It may not have been pretty, but the poles allowed it to function.
The farmer thought about how he was like the old building, and how he often "leaned to the left" in his weakest area. He began to pray, "Lord, prop me up on my leanin' side."
I received this story in an email, and it caught my imagination. I am intimately acquainted with my "leanin' side", and God has been propping me up in this area all my life.
I lean toward fear. Insecurity. That voice inside that tells me I'll never measure up, and in fact I'm about to topple over at any moment.
For you, it might be anger, gossip, over commitment or pride. There are any number of issues that can make us lean, worn down by what life brings us each day.
The good news is, God knows our propensity to lean, and He's there to prop. In fact, He does better than prop. He invites us to be yoked with Him, and He will carry part of the load.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt. 11:28-30
It's not just about propping. God wants us to discover a whole new way of living that involves leaning on Him in my weakest area ("When I am afraid, I will trust in You." Ps. 56:3) Old patterns, old voices, old leanings--I will choose to live life another way. I will lean on Him rather than leaning toward my weakness.
I don't have to be perfect at it, because He is. When I fail, He forgives, and on we go. My steps toward being straight and strong are baby steps. Sometimes (although I know better) I lean to the left, and listen to the voices of discouragement and defeat. But these days, only briefly.
"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and strength, my God, in whom I trust." Ps. 91:2