Tethered with Christ

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Connie Cavanaugh’s new book, "Following God One Yes at a Time", she shares an e-mail from a woman who had recently moved past her fears while going through an exercise in faith at a women’s retreat. Her story reminded me of an event from my own life. Several years ago, during a weekend 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 that being secured in the safety harness would remove my fear once I was above the ground. So, I boldly 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 ropes 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 reaching 35 feet up into the air. The guide strapped me in the harness, gave me instructions and up I went, hand over hand until I reached the top. The idea was that once the climber reached the top of the pole, 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. But then, after hearing the cheers from my friends on the ground, I made a mistake and looked down. Anxiety immediately hit me as the realization of my situation grew…My next step was to jump off! The guide encouraged me to simply take a breath, leap out into the air and grab a trapeze that was there for just that purpose. 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, but my body wouldn’t obey. I knew that the harness and its tether would keep me from crashing to the ground 35 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 serve Him. But, often, 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 already 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. What is the common thread? Fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of man. But, we need to remember that when God is with us, we can put aside 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 serve Him. We may not even be aware of how or where He wants to use us, but when we step out in faith, offering ourselves to Him, He will hold us up. When we look to Christ for our strength, 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).

And what happened regarding my predicament on top of the 30 foot pole? Rather than staying where I was, frozen in my fear and embarrassment, I 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 leapt out into the air, the wind rushing past my face, exhilaration hit me as the meaning behind that exercise was made clear. I discovered in that moment, that freedom from fear comes when we place our trust in the Lord.

Living for Him,


This post is also over at Laced with Grace beginning Monday 4/25.  Be sure to visit that site and be blessed by the many inspirational devotionals shared there.  Additionally, I'm linking up with Spiritual Sundays for this Easter morning.  He Is Risen!  He Is Risen Indeed!



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9 comments

  1. Joan - this is a wonderful analogy of how we can let our fear prevent us from taking that leap of faith.

    (I can't imagine climbing the pole, let alone jumping off).

    Wishing you and your family a joyous Easter.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  2. So glad to read the end of this post as you took that leap of faith Joan!

    I too have a fear of heights. However, I do believe I've progressed over the years.

    Our walk with the Lord often requires leaps of faith. I've learned in these past few years that life can be very challenging but ...God is faithful and good.

    Blessings and love to you this Easter,
    Debbie

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  3. I love you Aunt Joan and you WONDERFUL blog!!!!!!!! :D

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  4. Hi Joan,

    Nice to meet you! Taking a leap of faith even though we're afraid is key to trusting in Jesus. Happy Easter to you.

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  5. This is a perfect analogy. I look forward to every new day as my faith and love for Jesus grows with each new day.Thank-you so much for sharing this with Spiritual Sunday.
    God Bless,
    Ginger

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  6. Oh, I love this analogy, and your post is really touching me in a place I have been working on the past month...fear vs trust. Love love love this! God bless and Happy Easter.
    Thanks for coming by my blog today.

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  7. Iris
    25. Apr, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Wow, Joan, what a powerful devotion. I needed to read this tonight. I really need to get myself out of the current situation, I have to trust that He will provide for me to take the leap of faith. Thank you for sharing your story with us.


    Laurie Adams
    25. Apr, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Wonderful Words of encouragement! Thank you Joan!


    Kathy Howard
    26. Apr, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you Joan! You’re right, we must trust Jesus to step off those “poles!” Thanks for sharing this story.

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  8. Perspective from the summit... always clearer, sometimes scarier as well! Faith keeps us well balanced in the middle of it all.

    Great teaching,Joan!

    peace~elaine

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  9. I can't imagine doing the pole thing, either...my feet like to stay on solid ground!

    Trusting Him...something I never tire of being reminded...especially since I seem to fail so often when life throws a curve...

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