It is a rarity to actually get away. I have the opportunity about once a year around fall to be gone for a weekend. Last year I was at the Captivating Retreat in Colorado. I traveled with a good friend and had an amazing time away. I posted this when I got back and thought I would repeat it again here. If you look close you can see my shoes. 🙂
My hands shook as I stepped out onto the ledge. I looked down through the grate to the ground a hundred feet below….Why am I doing this?…. I clipped in with harnesses fit tight around my legs and shoulders…. Again, why am I doing this?…. I stopped a moment, turned to the young guy holding the lever and begged him to confirm that I was indeed hooked in. He assured me and the floor began to slowly drop. There I was hanging. Suspended far above the canyon. 3-2-1 the latch released and I plummeted. It felt like a lifetime before the rope caught and I swung out over the ravine. As I swung I shook, scared I would still fall even as the rope held taught. Once the arc of the swing decreased, my body started to relax and I settled into the joy of soaring hundreds of feet above the ground. Knowing I had faced my fear and jumped!
For whatever reason I felt compelled to have a physical representation of the emotional and spiritual cliff jumping I have been doing over the last few years. Larry Crab calls it jumping off the cliff of safety into the abyss of rejection and trusting that the “rope” of God will hold you tight before you hit the ground.
It was a funny thing to actually jump. First, when I stepped out it seemed like a really BAD idea. My terror was greater than I anticipated. And so it is with most steps in life. It is much easier to stay put. It may not be good, but it is familiar! I know how to navigate my current situation and make it the best it can be. I made my literal jump with a friend. We sat side by side and once we stepped out there was no turning back. Truthfully, I don’t think I could have made it up the stairs to get harnessed in without her. I didn’t need her to do anything. She didn’t hold my hand, she didn’t force me, in fact, she barely spoke. She just walked beside me as I faced my fear. God is so good to put us in community. Sometimes we are called to act or to speak, but sometimes we are called to just walk beside our friend as God does His healing work in her life.
Second, it was not instantly fun. Even after the rope caught it took several swings for me to relax. Why is that? I was safe, secure, but the shadow of the fear I had just faced took a moment to vanish in the light of my new reality. That is the thing about facing fear, it takes a little time to get used to our new reality. Our new freedom. Often we have been in darkness and fear for so long it is difficult to embrace the freedom and light Christ offers us.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1
Third, the jump actually hurt. Later that day large bruises showed up on my arms and legs, tender to the touch. Life is not instantly peachy when we risk and leap where God is calling us. It is messy, painful at times. But it is right where I want to be – trusting God and enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.
For I know the plans I have for your declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
On the Adventure,