This past year I went to an emotional intelligence seminar called Pathways. While I was there I learned a lot about the importance of trust. I also learned a lot about the subject of fear, or at least the fears that I have. After going through this training, I determined my life would not be controlled by fear. Instead, I made a decision to begin to do things that I was afraid of doing. “Why?” you may ask. Because the things we are afraid of often are the things that control our choices. For instance, I was afraid of being vulnerable with almost everyone. At the same time, I was the person that many people trusted with many of their life situations. As you can see my world looked a little lopsided. For many people being the safe place for others is easy for them. It requires very little for them to be the safe place others go to, while they themselves never really share what’s going on with themselves. (Trust me, been there.) We were created for relationship; that is a give and take with other people. This is not to say that every person needs to be vulnerable with every person that they come in contact with. However, relationships require us to be vulnerable for trust to increase. In order for us to be vulnerable, we should have some type of foundation of trust with the other person. One thing I decided to do was to begin to be vulnerable with people and allow a few certain people access to the key issues in my life. As I said, not everyone gets equal access. If you give everyone equal access, then you will spread yourself too thin. I found that the more times I was vulnerable, the more I trusted them. As I continue to trust, they continued to help me see things about myself that I needed to change. This was not an easy process, but I found it very worthwhile.
I began to see that doing things I was afraid of provided a great payoff in my life.
Yesterday, at our family reunion, I went rock climbing for the first time. Why? Because I am afraid of heights. The wall I climbed was 25 to 30 feet high. I’m not exactly sure why, but everyone was surprised when I reached the top as quickly as I did. Maybe it’s because I don’t look like I’m going to be on the cover of a Men’s Fitness magazine anytime soon. Lynn, my sister Tricia’s man, was belaying me on the climb. That means as I climb up, he holds the rope in his hands and keeps me from falling to the ground. I’m not sure how it works, but you can look up belay on Google to learn more. My hands got to the top of the cliff I was climbing, and then I was about to “full body summit” when Lynn yelled up that it was time to rappel.
“You want me to do what?” I asked.
“Lean back and rappel down,” he said.
“Oh right,” I yelled down. “You want me to sit back and fall down!?! This wasn’t part of it!”
Lynn, my sisters, and my cousins started yelling for me to sit back. I held onto the top of the cliff with all of my strength. My problem was that the rope had reached the end of its link. I could not swing my body over the top of the cliff. I finally sat back in the harness and let Lynn belay me like a ninja down the cliff.
I thought emotional vulnerability was bad. How about life vulnerability? I was sitting on a harness 30 feet in the air with nothing but the strength of the rope, the system with the harnesses, and Lynn to bring me down the cliff in one piece. When I got to the bottom of the cliff, I was filled with adrenaline, and amazed by how exhausted my arms were from hanging at the top of the cliff. Everyone cheered for me, and laughed at me. I had a pretty good laugh as well when I thought back to how funny it must’ve been to see me up at the top of that clip. All I really had to do was trust Lynn. I was a first time rock climber. Lynn, has been climbing cliffs for a while now. Releasing control was the most difficult thing I did on that day.
I think that’s how it is with God. We climb up certain challenges like love, financial gain, and the direction of our lives like they are a cliff. When our hands reach the summit, we try to slide our bodies over the top of the cliff. The only problem is, there is not enough rope. Instead of standing on top of the things we have climbed, God wants us to rappell back down to where He is. We hold onto the cliffs of love, possessions, and social status as if our climb up them is what defines us, and if we let them go we will surely fall to a broken end. Instead, God wants us to climb, then sit back and trust Him to bring us back down. He wants us to climb again, and again, and again. Not so that we can stand on top of the things we climbed but rather to catch the view from the top and then trust him to bring us back down. The climate is hard, but we feel very much in control of the climb. Letting go of our successes in this game of trust may seem more difficult, but God only brings us back down so we can climb higher still. He asked us to climb our fears, and then even to let go of them.
What are you holding onto that you need to let go of? How exhausted are you? How would it feel to trust God?