Several years ago, Matt and his business partners planned a team building event out in the woods. It was one of those super cool badass outdoor obstacle courses up in the trees with catwalks, rope ladders, and ledges to bungee jump off of. As I walked up with my standard issued body harness, I wasn’t so sure about this. I’d never done anything like it before.
The group of us stood awkwardly squinting up to the guide on the 20-foot platform. He had this Man vs. Wild, Crocodile Dundee look going on. He gave us the safety rules, all the while sort of hanging off the edge as if he might suddenly do some Tarzan move and swing off into the trees. He made it look so easy up there, and I believed him. He asked for the first volunteer. No one moved. Geez. These babies. I shot up my hand and marched my badass over to the rope ladder and waited to be clipped to the safety rope. I wobbled my way up the rope ladder, and I managed to hoist myself halfway on and sort of roll my body onto the platform like some fat seal returning from gorging herself on fish. I prayed no one down below could tell I hadn’t worked out that morning, or any other morning. Ever.
My confidence in my capabilities was a little shaky, but I was not about to let it stifle my badassness. That was probably the hardest part, anyway. I stepped over to my first obstacle, a rope spider web tied between two trees. The goal was to scale the rope in a vertical Spiderman fashion to the tiny platform on the other tree. My guess is that there were about 20 feet between the two trees. It looked easy enough, I mean I just scaled UP a rope later, how hard could a horizontal climb be? The guide clipped my body harness to the safety bungee and then pointed me to the edge. I had to sit down and sort of shuffle my butt to the edge, reach out and plunge my body onto the web. The force of the lunge caused the rope to bob back and forth, and I realized just how not easy it was going to be. All I could do was hold on with every fiber of my body. Wow. I didn’t realize how high I had climbed.
I managed to make my way over three or four rungs of the rope when my body began to convulse, between the panic of staring 20 feet down to my death, and my muscles panicking because they didn’t understand the punishment I was inflicting on them, I started to lose physical control of my body, I didn’t know how much longer I was going to be able to hold on. I had made it just far enough to be somewhere directly between both trees, and now I couldn’t move in either direction. I just wouldn’t make it. In desperation, I threaded my arms through the rope, and sort of hugged my body to the web and began to think those babies on the ground we’re the smart ones.
That’s when I began yelling with shaky panic for someone to save me, “Can you help me, please?! I can’t make it! Excuse me, sir! I NEED SOME HELP!” The rope fibers scratching up my sweaty cheek.
Crocodile Dundee walked over to the ledge, sort of hung over it and said, “You’re working too hard. Don’t hold on so tight and just lean into your safety rope. Let it support you and do the work for you.”
Clearly, he had spent too much time with the trees and had lost his mind. I was not about to let go of the net. That was the only thing that was grounding me to something solid. Seeing that I wasn’t about to do what he asked, he smiled, stepped off the edge and like a black widow coming to kill her prey, he nimbly scurried over to me. Then, he just LET. GO. bobbing there next to me like a grinning idiot.
“See, trust your rope. That’s what it’s here for.”
After a couple of seconds of pondering my alternatives, I decided to give his madness a try. I slowly began to loosen my death grip and sink into my harness, and it didn’t take long until my bungee began to tighten under my weight, lower, lower, lower, until I too was bobbing like an idiot.
Tarzan grinned at me and said, “See, you’ve got this.” and scurried away. And he was right, I sort of half hung and half climbed my way onward to complete the rope course.
Am I the only one who’s lived 99% of her life in this kind of fear? You name it, I was afraid of it, and not always consciously, either, but it always manifested in my life. Whether it was my future, my kids, our health, Matt’s love for me, intimacy, money, or God, it was wrapped in a thick layer of fear and baked in worry. It was my daily prescription for life. I would thread my arms through fear and cling to it for dear life.
Every day we submit to this tyranny in our life, and cling to something, anything to ground us and pray to God for deliverance. Save us! We wait for the day Jesus will ride into town on his white horse to bring vengeance and take us away, but that’s just it, we don’t need deliverance from unseen evil. We’ve already been set free. We don’t need to wait until we’re on the other side to find relief. We’re not victims in this life, prey in some spider web of life.
We’ve all been given a safety rope. Every single one of us is clipped to the bungee cord of Love. There’s nothing we have to do to earn this right or prove that we’re worthy of it, or beg for it. It’s standard issued at birth.
And I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. You know you’ve got a rope clipped to you, you’ve seen it, you’ve felt it. You’ve been told one billion times that He’ll catch you when you fall. Goodness, you sing about it every single Sunday morning.
So, why the hell are you still so terrified that you’re clinging on for dear life? Why do you lay awake at night gasping for your next breath? Why are you still pleading for someone, anyone to come and save you?
It all boils down to one word — trust.
Trust is the vehicle that drives us either into the arms of Fear or into the arms of Love. Trust is the simple act of believing what you hear and living according to that truth. So, what truth will you live by?
You’ve probably heard the quote from the Native American, Sitting Bull, “Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most.”
Those two dogs can also be Fear and Love, and trust is the food that fuels them. Where you put your trust is the top dog in your life. One brings panic, anxiety, depression, and sickness. The other brings life, and that much more abundantly.
The next time you find yourself clinging to the ropes, terrified that you’re going to plunge 20 feet to your death. I want you to try something. I mean actually do it. Lay down on your back on the ground, close your eyes and relax. Then, I want you to hear the voice of the earth, for its voice echos the voice of God, “Relax. I’ve got you. You don’t have to do anything. You can trust in me. I’ll hold you up.” In your mind, picture the earth holding you and not asking for anything in return. It’s what it does, supports you. You don’t have to do any work. The earth is doing all the work.
Now, trust in the One who created the earth.
Trust that no matter what, you’re going to be ok. Even if you die today, you’re going to be ok. Love is holding you up. Whatever is waiting for you on the other side is good.
Your children are going to be ok.
And your husband and parents, too.
Your dog, cat and all the animals on the earth.
Trust that the earth is going to be ok. It’s not going to hell, no, the world is everyday drawing closer to God.
The children in Cambodia are going to be ok.
You’re safe. Everyone and everything you love are safe. Yes, you’re vulnerable. We’re all vulnerable.
Now trust the voice who sings everyday over you, “I have plans to prosper you and not harm you. I promise you hope and a future.”
Trust in Love.
Dear friend, stop working so hard to hold on. Trust your safety rope. Lean into it. Let it hold you up. That’s what He’s here for.
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