Anytime I get to have an experience with heights, a blog post will come out of it. I’m still not terribly fond of heights so they help me to pursue Jesus with more vigor!
The other day my brother-in-law, Nate Davis, asked me if I would do a high ropes course with him. Against my better judgment, I consented. Nate and I ended up doing half of the course and it was quite challenging for both of us, but we both also walked away with a couple of important insights.
There were about 6 of us harnessed into these wires and we were also only standing on a wire with a decent fall underneath us. There were 2 challenges that our little group needed to make it through and the first one was the toughest. At one point I was standing on 2 wires at the same time and I had to take my foot off one to get both my feet on the other one. I didn’t want to do it. The only thing that I had to balance myself was a rope that was shaking because a bunch of guys were also hanging onto that rope.
Every time I went to move my foot to get to the other wire I started shaking and was just certain I was going to fall. I just had to trust that everything would be fine and if I fell, I fell. I was harnessed in, but I couldn’t seem to shut off that “what if” part of my brain. What if the harness isn’t secured right? What if the hooks keeping me attached to it give way somehow? Even though I was perfectly safe up there, my brain wasn’t relaying that message properly.
I had to step off one wire and move to the other. I just had to commit. In fact, the slower and less decisively that I made the move, the more likely that I would fall. The X factor that really helped me to complete the challenge was the guys around me. There was one dude in particular, Robert Knight, who is just a rock star in my opinion. He was the first guy to go across and I was the second. Robert was completely confident and just kept encouraging me to take the step that I needed to take. I don’t know that I would’ve finished successfully had he not done that. He kept saying things like….
“I got you.” “You’ve got this.” “You’re completely fine dude.”
It helped to shut off the other voices in my head that were saying…
“You’re gonna fall.” “The harness won’t catch you.” “You could really get hurt doing this.” “What are you even doing up here anyway?” “This was a bad idea.” Etc….
I ended up having a blast! I would do it again and I know I would do it with way more confidence. That was my first time on a high ropes course and it was sweet!
I learned something about trust, perseverance and community. In life we all have to take various leaps. Decisions we must make if we are going to pursue the plan that God has for our lives. Some of those decisions will be extremely difficult. We will have plenty of internal and external voices calling to us to just turn back. That it’s not worth the pain and that life would just be easier if we just settled.
The problem is, those voices will completely destroy our existence if we let them. The natural ebb and flow of our nature will not challenge us to make the necessary and difficult decisions that we need to make. That means that we need a battle plan. We need to equip ourselves in advance for the moments when we’ll want to turn back.
One of the primary ways that we do this is with solid community. I say solid because not all people are the right people for this. This is not an elitist thing. This just means that we have to be very intentional about the men and women that we allow in our corner when our decision to quit or persevere is on the line. We need people who will echo back to us the courage that we have deep down inside. Men and women who know the call that God has on our lives and refuse to let us settle for less than that. Guys like Robert.
Do you have people like that in your life? If not, what are you going to do to change that? If you do, let them know. Let them know how much they mean to you and that you’re thankful for the role they play in your life.