The string to my kite
“He’s the string to my kite”. It was said in the context of a relationship. She was a kite who tended to get carried away with whims and dreams. Her husband was the string that kept her grounded and kept her from soaring out of control. It’s a beautiful picture of balance in a relationship. One person’s strength can balance the other’s weakness. This metaphor led me wonder who serves as the string to my kite.
I’m not one given to whims or even dreams. I am logical, grounded, I overthink things and I’m analytical. Not much danger of me flying away! Yet part of me wants to take risks, do something important and fly away on the wind. That is what kites are designed to do. As I reflect on this, I realize there is no physical relationship that serves as a string for me. God has always been my string. He secures me, knows when to give me slack, when to tighten up, when to give me a shove. I love that about him. However, a kite and string are not all that is required. There needs to be there person holding the kite and string but more importantly, wind. Without wind, a kite no more than a piece of paper or plastic.
There have been times in my life where the “wind” has been perfect. I know that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to do at that time. I soar through the air and people think, yeah, that kite is doing what it’s made for. But when the wind dies down, the kite drifts gently to the ground, or perhaps violently crashes, causing damage to the fragile kite. The people that were once gathered drift away. After all, there’s really no point in watching a kite just lay on the ground.
I feel that this is a metaphor many of us can relate to in life. Things were going well for us. We were making a difference, had a direction in life, were soaring on the wind, then something happened. Our sting broke and we flew away. The wind died down and we crashed. We lost a job, a loved one, our finances, a purpose, what we thought was our future. And now our kite is damaged or just lying on the ground. We can struggle with the knowledge that God provides the “wind” in our life, so it seems to reason, if there is no wind, it’s because God not making it blow. This is a hard thought to embrace. If God is actually in control, as the church so often says, then that means he permits (not saying causes) the hard stuff. The dry times. The lean times. The alone times when we don’t have relationships or even a means by which we can serve him. It seems hard to make this line up with the God of blessings and love of the Bible. But it does.
In the new testament of the Bible we see the physical life of Jesus play out on earth. At one point in his life, we are told that the Spirit of God leads him into the wilderness. While there, he encounters the devil and faces temptation. It would seem to be easier to swallow if it said that Jesus stumbled into the wilderness or he landed there because he was deceived. But to hear that God led him there brings another element. God is good. He is light. He is love and has our best interest at heart. And he also allows things that don’t seem good. He allows the cloudy and stormy days, the days when it feels dark and we feel alone. He is the same God whether we are soaring on the wind or sitting broken on the rocks.
So what do we do in the times when our kite string breaks, when we fly away too far, when the wind dies and we end up back on ground, feeling useless and thrown away? This question seems to have an easy answer- get up and move. If you don’t like where you are, go somewhere else. Sometimes this is exactly what we need to do. But other times, we try and try to move and do not get anywhere. Nothing we try works, we get turned down for every job. We never get a second date. Our family still doesn’t understand our choices. We are still in debt. We try to be useful and helpful but no one needs us. What then? If I could suggest anything, it’s to first be genuine and authentic, with yourself and others.
In a nutshell, living an authentic life means that you don’t feel one way but talk or act another. We don’t say “sure, I would love to help with the kids this week, I just adore them!” when we are actually terrified of the little creatures. Authentic is when what we say and what we do matches how we feel on the inside. You can’t have real relationships with God or others without this.
Living genuinely acknowledges hurt feelings, frustration, not understanding what’s going on. Living authentically acknowledges to God that we just don’t get it. We don’t understand why we are in time out. We don’t know why he would “let this happen”. It acknowledges our difficulties, hopelessness, aloneness, and fears. Having a genuine relationship with God allows us the freedom to admit to him and others that we are struggling.
I want to step aside for a moment and note that genuine and authentic expression of what we are actually thinking and feeling is part of any relationship. As Christians we can get the idea that to do anything other than thank God is to complain or be ungrateful. Here’s the thing- God already knows what you think and feel! If you are a parent or are married, you can probably tell fairly easily when your child or spouse is upset/sad/frustrated. How do you feel when you see this and they say- “everything is fine”. You obviously know that is not true. You want them to tell you what is going on. You won’t be mad if they share their thoughts and struggles with you, it’s actually just the opposite. Because that’s what relationship is about. We can still be thankful and grateful for things in our lives, while at the same time, having difficulty. God can handle our questions, and invites us to be honest with him.
Authentic relationship with God also asks the questions- do I have a part in this? Should I be doing anything differently? Am I doing anything wrong? Relationship is not just sharing how we feel, it’s listening as well. If you feel a nudge from God to change something, then do it.
Second, if you feel that your kite string is broken or there is no wind in your life, and you’ve been honest with God and others, hang on. This too shall pass. God is a God of seasons, and timing. If I am being honest, that’s a hard sentence for me to write. While I wholeheartedly believe it, I sure don’t like all of the seasons and sometimes I feel that his timing just stinks. Boy do I struggle with God’s timing. He just doesn’t do what I want when I want it. Nonetheless, his timing is a thing. A real thing. And I sure pray for grace to accept it.
If the kite of your life isn’t soaring on the wind right now, pour out your heart to God. Frustrations, hopes, dreams, and sorrows. Ask him for grace, peace and new wind. And when it comes, fly beloved, fly.