Pull Yourself Up by Your Boot Straps Myth


Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Tumbles and stumbles. My worst moments in life. Like the time the short-cut down the embankment proved the wrong way—for me anyway. Flailing legs and arms on display for the whole world. Well, at least the people close by.

And the times life knocked me off my feet in spirit. Culture implores me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. But is it even possible?

Have you ever fallen? Physically? What about on the inside?

So, did you get back on your feet? And by yourself?

The Bootstraps Myth

 Imagine you set out on a nice afternoon stroll through the countryside. But you trip over a branch and tumble to the ground. You are alone. No problem. Firmly grab ahold of your bootstraps and pull yourself to an upright position.

Simple. Easy-peasy. A do-it-yourself task. No help necessary.

Now envision this same scenario taking place on the inside of you—deep within. The innermost part of you tumbles and you can’t get up.

So, go ahead. Do it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

But it’s an impossible feat. A complete myth. And a lie from the enemy. If we tumble in body or spirit, a DIY project’s not a suitable technique.

The do-it-yourself Lie 

 Hello, my name is I-can’t-do-life-by-myself. 

Life turns hard without fair warning. Life’s trees grow large branches bearing the weight of adversity and sorrows. They eventually snap, falling as debris cluttering our path.

Also, pesky twigs of weaker, yet obvious hardships often entangle us on the journey.

We trot along, whistling on our merry way, when a branch out of nowhere trips us. We stumble in a surprised gaze wondering how we missed it.

I know, all too well, about tumbles in life.

My dad died. I lost a job. A relationship became troubled. Ministry was in a difficult season. Life takes an unexpected detour.

Spirit, soul, and heart flailing for the whole world to see.

Discouragement, depression, stress, anxiety, and their sidekicks never play favorites. Instead, they welcome everyone into the group. No clicks or a secluded membership. No one is exempt.

Not Wearing Boots

 Things happen. Life happens. And what if we aren’t even wearing boots?

Do you think Christ told people in his day to pull themselves up by their sandal straps?

When we read what we know He did say, rest assured His message and a DIY philosophy clashed. And when we look at Jesus’ actions, it’s crystal clear He raised people out of life’s pits.

He raised the sick to healing, raised the despairing ones to peace, and raised the dead to life.

Jesus lifts us up…out of despair, sin, and spiritual death.

We need Jesus to come to our rescue.

And we need people. People who display Jesus with skin in despairing moments.

“If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 TLB).

“After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever” (1 Peter 5:10 TLB).

So, stick to DIY home, craft or other projects. In life’s tumbles and stumbles, enlist the aid of those who will and can help you.

Be encouraged! Christ is the best “puller-up-er” around!

I hope you enjoyed this inspirational post by my gifted friend, Karen Friday.

Karen Friday IMG_5124Karen Friday is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles. She contributes to several national sites and is working on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. Karen’s heartbeat is helping followers of Christ live with authentic hope and faith in real life. She considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with Karen’s blog community, Hope is Among Us, 

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16 thoughts on “Pull Yourself Up by Your Boot Straps Myth”

    1. So glad this encouraged you, Bill. I’ve read your story here on Beckie’s blog and the link to the full story…it’s a powerful one indeed! I believe you and I conversed a bit over your story.

      And, yes, falling both physically and spiritually are painful. But, thank goodness, Jesus lifts us up…out of despair, sin, and spiritual death. He always comes to our rescue. Always.


      Liked by 3 people

  1. This is so uplifting, Karen. The fact that God will always be around to pick us up is just a comforting reality. I chuckled when you said, “So, go ahead. Do it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” We try in our own strength, don’t we? Imagine how much time and heartache we can save if we let Jesus carry us instead. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

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