One unmistakable truth in life is that when you were a child, running was more fun if you held your arms straight out from your sides as if you were an airplane, and even better than that was making sound effects as you did it. You don’t see many adults doing that. Why not? Are we too mature, or are we too jaded and scared of what others will think? There are so many “little things” in life kids are not afraid to do, but adults over-think the whole process and can’t get past themselves.
I’m not just lecturing everyone else, but I’m speaking from experience. Going on a mission trip to Costa Rica was a step out of my comfort zone, but I’m usually up for travel, as long as I don’t have to do it alone. All the plans were in place and I just had to show up. Then I knew God would also show up and guide me through the rest of what I was to do there. That part worked out well, and I had an amazing experience. I felt I was faithful through all of that and I got so much out of it (more than I gave, I’m sure). Oddly, the most frightening part of the trip came on our day to relax (a day off was worked into our schedule for reflection, team building, and just to keep us from being too overwhelmed by everything else we would see and do). The first item on the agenda that day was a zipline tour over the canopy of the rainforest. I’m not a big fan of heights, but I had paid the extra money and decided this was an opportunity I would probably not have again and I would regret it if I didn’t do it.
I was terrified.
The guy who had to help me into all my gear asked me how I was that morning, and I told him I was nervous. “Me too,” he said. “It’s my first day.” Now, I knew he was teasing, and the fact that he could be so nonchalant about it helped me see this was a routine thing there and I didn’t have anything to worry about. Then a group picture was snapped and we all climbed into a truck that would take us up to the top. Ascending felt like it took forever, and the further up we went, to more nervous I was becoming. I was waiting to put my sweaty hands into those thick, reinforced leather gloves because it would be a sauna in there with all the sweat.
Then we were lined up and hooked to a cable. One by one, each member of my team flew off on a cable towards the next platform, but not before we requested our pastor say a prayer for all of us. The closer I got, the more I was shaking. A few of my teammates were a bit worried about me. I was a bit worried about me. What would happen if I passed out on my way to the next platform? I wondered if that had ever happened. There was an “emergency brake” system at each platform, and lots of padding… Then it was my turn. “Place your strong arm on the cable behind you and the other hand here,” said an oddly muted voice somehow attached to the guy pointing to the place where all the hooks were holding me to the cable I would soon be riding. It was hard to hear him over my heart beating.
And then I was flying down a cable over the tops of trees! Oh, and I could clearly hear myself screaming. Then I began to rise again, and slow down as I arrived at the next platform. I was still shaking when I was getting hooked onto the next cable. The guy at that station tried to point out a toucan to me, but I would have to lean over to see it and I wasn’t steady enough to do that. I figured I’d see it once I got going, but I forgot to look, only focusing my eyes directly in front of me as I again was launched down the cable. When I arrived at the next platform, I wasn’t shaking so much. Part of me was starting to enjoy it a bit.
Then came a true test of letting go of inhibitions. At the sixth platform we were supposed to be given a choice to either go backwards or upside down (which was also backwards, btw). Apparently this was a “slow” cable and we needed to be more aerodynamic. I had thought I would just do the backwards thing, but somehow I missed the part where we were given a choice and I was flipped upside down, my feet adjusted at the top of the cable, told to leave my arms loose, and shoved off the platform!
At first, I was disoriented and a bit angry at my surprise sendoff. Then, I had a truly surreal experience as I looked to the side and saw the mountains hanging over the sky in the distance. And here I was flying over the top of God’s beautiful creation, with my arms held out to the sides, making sound effects. He had made all of that. He made me. And I was perfectly safe in His hands.
That’s how I feel so often. As an adult, I over-think and over-analyze too much. Sometimes I need to be more like a child and just let go of all my inhibitions. I need to trust that God has me, as long as I am careful to follow Him. Sure, we need to take precautions, like strapping into safety gear, but then we need to let the cable take us to the next platform. I know my life is going to start changing very soon. I’ve known that for a while now. I don’t know the details yet, but when I’m at each platform on the way down the mountain, I’m going to trust God, and jump.