Getting Up After You’ve Been Knocked Down

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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A friend of mine—I'll call him Jack—got knocked down, run over, and ground into the dirt by everything the world could throw at him. It started when he injured his back while operating heavy equipment. That led to a series of health problems that have kept him out of work for most of the last ten years. He is in constant pain, and doctors can't figure out how to help him.

The pain is bad enough, but the reality of living off his wife's income, unable to work, is worse. It hurts his pride.

Then there's the frustration that Jack's friends transmit to him. Get sick for a month, and people will fall all over themselves trying to help. Get sick for a year, and the line thins out considerably. Get sick for ten years, and you'll find that people get impatient. How could you be so thoughtless?

What I admire about Jack is this: he keeps coming back.

Sometimes he gets a hangdog look on his face, like he's sick of himself being sick, embarrassed to show up in public. I find it painful to look at him when he’s like that. But just when I think he's gone under, he starts smiling again, cracks a joke, talks about a new doctor he's going to try, and he's back on his feet again.

You knock him down, he gets back up.

I'm thankful I don't face Jack's difficulties. We all get knocked down, though. At work, for example. We put our performance on the line, and it gets evaluated—sometimes brutally. We try something new, and we fail very publicly. We get passed over for promotions; we suffer with incompetent or lazy coworkers or supervisors; we live with an environment where the rules stifle us. Maybe worse, we get ignored. A person needs a little glory, and the workplace rarely brings it. We get knocked down. We have to get up on our feet again.

When you're down, you can't always talk yourself into standing up straight again. A pep talk doesn't do it. What do you need?

You need a friend to believe in you when you can't believe in yourself.

Sometimes you need a change of scenery, maybe a new job.

You need integrity. Integrity means you act the same whether you are down or up. It means you see something greater and stronger than the troubles of the day. Integrity is deep water running underneath the bouncing rapids of the surface. Integrity means living by principles, the same principles in all seasons.

Integrity stems from a vision of what is worth living for. It is precisely why Paul encouraged the Philippians to focus their thoughts on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy" (4:8). Pondering such thoughts—the Bible is full of them—draws you to integrity, and gives you the strength to get up on your feet again.