Several years ago, during a women's conference in the beautiful Sierra Mountains outside of Yosemite National Park, I surprised myself by signing up for the high ropes course. I had never done anything remotely like that since the tree climbing days of my childhood. But, I figured being secured in the safety harness would remove my fear once I was above the ground. So, I boldly (and blindly) joined the other women already on their way to test their courage.

There were several different segments of the course beginning with a climbing wall. I made it to the top and back down without incident. My confidence grew as I traversed the rope bridges without faltering. But then…I got to the “poles”. At first glance, they seemed innocent enough – three straight, telephone-like poles standing side by side ranging from 35 to 60 feet up into the air. I daringly chose the tallest of the poles and then the guide strapped me into the harness, gave me instructions and up I climbed.  I felt like a lineman as I placed hand over hand on the small projections on the otherwise smooth sided pole until I reached the top. The idea was that once the climber reached the pinnacle, she was to somehow maneuver herself so she was standing on top of it. Well, that is easier said than done! However, after some creative stretching, twisting and reaching, I managed to hoist myself to the “summit”.

Standing tall, I proudly surveyed the surrounding area. The trees looked beautiful from this vantage point and the cloudless sky seemed almost close enough to touch. I was pleased with my accomplishment and I felt great!  But then, after hearing the cheers from my friends on the ground, I made the mistake of looking down. Anxiety immediately gripped me as the realization of my situation grew… My next step was to jump off!

As I stood there, precariously perched atop of the pole, the diameter of which wasn't much wider than my feet, I panicked!  The guide calmly encouraged me, from the safety of the ground by the way, to simply take a breath, leap out into the air and grab a trapeze that was there for just that purpose. A trapeze?  Really?  What had I been thinking? Fear gripped me in a way I had never experienced and I froze. My stomach churned and my arms hung heavily and motionless at my sides. My head told me that it was safe to jump since I was strapped into a safety harness, but my body wouldn't obey. I knew that the harness and its tether would keep me from crashing to the ground 60 feet below, but in my fear, I couldn't move.

How often do we experience similar situations in our walk with Christ? As we come to know Him, our excitement and enthusiasm grows. The newness of our understanding of His love for us fills us with joy and our thankfulness for His gift of salvation makes our hearts long to obey Him. We race forward, only to stop in our tracks when we face an obstacle and the time comes to jump. Our faith often waivers when there are barriers that hold us back. We may think we aren't talented enough, smart enough or young enough. We may compare ourselves to others we see serving Him and think, “What do I have to offer when that person is so much more equipped than I am?” Sometimes the memory of our life before we were Christians or our failures since hinders us.  Or, at other times we face a challenging situation and it is difficult to trust God for His plan.

What is the common thread? Fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear of things not working the way we want. But, we need to remember when God is with us, we can put aside all our fears. “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6) God is faithful and we can trust Him to help us as we seek to follow Him.

God created us to be conquers!  Whether we are facing a difficult decision, a lack of courage or a challenging battle, we can overcome our fears and be victorious with God by our side.  "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us”(Romans 8:37)When we step out in faith trusting His ways, and looking to Christ for our strength,  He will hold us up. He is our harness, keeping us securely in His grip.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

Are you wondering what happened regarding my predicament on top of the 60 foot pole? Well, rather than staying where I was, frozen in my fear and embarrassment, I finally took that leap of faith! Instead of depending on my own strength and my own abilities, I relied on the tether which was holding me fast. As I closed my eyes and leapt out into the air, the wind rushing past my face, exhilaration hit me as the meaning behind that exercise became clear! I discovered in that moment, that freedom from fear comes when we place our trust in the One who holds us fast!  God will never let us go!  With Him, we'll land safely on our feet.

Secure in Him,


20 Comments

  1. Hi Jo, I am so glad that we can trust God so completely. It is hard sometimes to blindly let go and leap. But He has never failed me yet! Great post!
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Thanks, Tracy! Yes, it is that first leap that is the hardest... But, He will never let us down! Blessings, Jo

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  2. Jo I love this post! Great analogy! I thought sure it was going to end in the ER. :0 So many times I try to do things in my own strength, with little to no courage. Then I remember what's available to me— His strength, His power, available for the asking! Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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    1. Hi Patsy! LOL I thought I'd end up in the ER, too! I love that God's power is available to us, any time, any where... Even on top of a pole! All we need to do is reach out to Him! Blessings, Jo

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  3. It's not so much a leap of faith as walking into the light, not the suicidal plunge Jesus was tempted with and the taunt. He's got it!

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    1. Oh yes...God's got i t! It is good to always remind ourselves of that! Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, Jo

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  4. Awesome! Not sure I could do this. I am terribly afraid of heights. My sister, however, recently did this challenge.

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    1. It was pretty scary! And now I know why ropes courses are often at Christian camps -- it was a great lesson in trust! Blessings, Jo

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  5. What an inspiring article! A friend of mine recently said, "I can't do this, but God you can." I have been repeating that to myself lately when facing areas of weakness and it has been helpful. May we focus on His strength always!

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! Yes, we can do all things through Christ! I'm so thankful for His strength! Blessings, Jo

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  6. Jo - I loved reading this and ropes courses. However, I have never gone up a pole to jump. Yikes, I bet it was scary.

    You have inspired me to jump in life with a faith and a God which is unstoppable. Thank you!

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    1. So glad you were inspired, Maree! It was scary but it was a great reminder to trust God in all situations! Blessings, Jo

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  7. You were VERY brave! I couldn't have gotten anywhere near there as I have a very distinct fear of heights.

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    1. I think that I actually wasn't thinking before I climbed up that pole! But once to the top, that's when the fear really set in! I don't foresee doing that again! LOL So thankful that trusting God doesn't usually involve heights! Blessings, Jo

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  8. What a wonderful story, Jo! Your bravery is to be commended. Christ is the tether that secures us. I love the analogy of the ropes course for facing our fears of rejection. Loved it!

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    1. Thank you so much! I love that Christ holds us securely. We are safe with Him! Blessings, Jo

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  9. Oh, Jo, I lived with fear for waaaay tooooo many years. It's still a struggle but with God's help, I can say I'm "in recovery." I grinned as I started reading your post ... as fear of heights was a big one for me. Signing up for "high ropes" would not have been on my to do list! So proud of you!! <3

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    1. Thanks, Deb! I don't know what came over me back then when I signed up! LOL But, it was a great lesson! I'm glad I did it but I can safely say that I won't be signing up for the high ropes course any time soon!

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  10. Oh my! I love how you faced your fear. However, I am afraid of heights so I would not choose the ropes course. Your point about fear and gaining freedom when we put our trust in God is a lesson that I learn over and over. Thank you for your wise words.

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    1. I don't think I had a fear of heights until that moment that I was standing on top of the pole! Yikes...it hit me then...with gusto! However, it was a great lesson learned and I'm so thankful to be tethered to Christ!

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