What A Ropes Course Taught Me About Jesus
If you didn't know I'm terrified of heights, like legs shaking, palms sweating climbing up a ladder to change a lightbulb, terrified of heights, so naturally I decided I should go to a ropes course.
When I arrived at the course I went through some training on the ground on how to work the equipment to ensure I didn't fall to my death. As I was going through the training I tried calming my nerves by convincing myself it wasn't as scary as I thought. "Wow, this isn't so bad. There is no way I can fall up there. I'm always attached to something. See Brooke, there is nothing to fear." I think the instructor could sense my fear because he informed me if at anytime I'm too scared to complete a course I can yell 'fish-sticks' and one of the workers will climb up and let me down, but if they have to get me I can't go back on the course the rest of the day...
Once the training was over I walked up the set of stairs to the platform, which was about 15 feet off the ground, and got locked into my first course. It was the easiest one, recommended for kids ages 6-8, but don't let that fool you, it is not, I repeat not, for the faint of heart. Within the first few minutes my stomach was in knots and I was sweating bullets. Though I knew I was locked in and safe I still feared that I would somehow fall. I clung to each obstacle for dear life fearing if I slipped I'd surely plummet to my death. Then I got to the zip line and I froze. I literally couldn't move. I was so scared if I took my feet off the platform and pushed off my harness would surely snap and I'd fall through the trees and land on my tail bone, then I'd be paralyzed. (isn't it so funny how our mind jumps to worst case scenario in .2 seconds?)
In my mind I was screaming "FISH-STICKS!!", but I knew if they came to relieve me of my fear it would have won and if I'm honest I've let fear win for too long, so I sat back and prayed that Jesus would take the wheel, or in this case the harness, and guess what? I zipped through the trees and landed perfectly on the platform.
As I planted my feet on the zip line landing I felt the Lord tell me, "This is much like your walk with me." In that moment I had to trust that the harness and zip line equipment would work and get me safely across the zip line. I had nothing to hold onto, all I could do is push off of the landing, sit back in my harness and let it do what it was designed to do. In our walk with Jesus there are times we have things to hold onto that allow us to feel safe (like on the first few obstacles of the ropes course), that if for some reason we slip we can still hold on for dear life and not fall to our death. Then there are times in our walk with Him where we literally only have Him to trust in to get us the other side and we have to relinquish our control, push off the platform, lean into Him and enjoy the ride.
Once I conquered the first zip line I made it through the next three courses, cautiously, but with a bit more bravery. All three of those courses were at the same height, 15 feet, they just had different obstacles and as I went up the course levels the obstacles increased in difficulty. As I moved across some hanging tires I looked up to a father-daughter team completing the course that was above me (the Blue Course). It was an additional 15-20 feet up. I said to myself, "I'm shaking just going across this level, there is no way I'd be able to do that one up there." It was in that thought that I knew I had to try.
As I walked to the Blue Course my heart was pounding so hard I'm sure you could see the rise and fall of it through my t-shirt. It started off by climbing pegs on a pole 20 feet up to your beginning platform. (If you haven't been following along, that is 35 feet off the ground people!) Once I made it up to the platform for the first obstacle and let out a sigh of relief my breath was immediately taken away again as I was in awe of what I saw. Below on the easier courses I could only see what was inside the tree line, but as I went to this next level I was doing obstacles above the trees and through the tree tops. Up on this level my view wasn't obstructed. I could see miles and miles of Dallas. Though this level was higher up and had more difficult obstacles, the view was much better and I could see the sun peaking through the tops of the trees. I'd almost forgotten it was a sunny day when I was on the lower courses because it was barely visible, but the sun was always there. It never left, I just couldn't see it until I went above what was blocking it from shining through.
It is the same with our walk with Jesus. I know there have been several times in my life where I was in a hard season and I said, "There is no way I can deal with anything else. There is no way I can handle more." It's in that time that God had called me higher and to even more difficult things, but the reward has always been greater. In those seasons as I went higher with Him it was easier for me to see the big picture. Where things were in my way obstructing my view before, now I could see for miles. Where darkness blocked the light before, now higher up, those obstructions were below me and I could see the Son better than before. I would have missed out on these great victories in my walk with God if I'd let fear win.
You see many times I've heard that fear is the opposite of love, but let me shine some light on this statement. Fear isn't the opposite of love, fear is driven out by Love. The opposite of fear is trust. Think of any fear you have, the root of that fear is because you feel you don't have control over what you fear whether that be fear that you won't be able to pay the bills, fear of failure, fear of spiders, fear of heights... We fear because we feel we can't trust in that thing. But I'm beginning to see in crushing my fears that God is the Universal Fear Crusher because He is the trust I need in every fear I face. If it's fear of not paying my bills; He is my provider. If it's fear of failure; I'm a success because of what He did on the cross. If it's fear of spiders; He is the Creator and has power over them (and you have a shoe for a reason folks!) If it's fear of heights; He is your protector. In Him we have all we need to feel secure in our wildest of fears.
So I want to encourage you if you are scared in your walk with Jesus, go higher, lean into Him, and trust that He's got you. He has never failed and He won't start now.