"I can't do it!"
I scrambled onto the platform and wrapped a tight bear hug around the nearest upright post.
"I want to get down now!"
But behind me two women in harnesses and helmets were already clipped into the safety lines and moving my direction.
"There is nowhere to go but forward," the kid on the platform told me, and I knew he was right. Looking around, I could see no secret stairway to the bottom, no easy elevator ride to the wood chips below.
There is nowhere to go but forward.
I slowly put my left foot onto the tightrope. My left knee wobbled while I lowered my right foot to the wire. I felt that at any second both knees would buckle and send me pitching off the line to dangle helpless and unconscious from my harness.
My friends called to me from the ground far below, "You can do it! Just keep moving!"
I couldn't look down. I kept my eyes up and focused on where I needed to plant the next handhold. I proceeded slowly, and eventually established a certain, shuffling rhythm of placing my hands and moving my feet.
Grip left hand. Grip right hand. Slide left foot. Slide right foot.
Inch by inch I worked my way across the wire to the next platform. I still had three more platforms to go, then the big step and sheer drop toward the crowd of cheering bystanders below.
Inch by sickening inch, I crossed that ropes course.
I often feel I shuffle through life the same way. Trembling and uncertain, fearful that any misstep will cause my complete collapse and tumble into helplessness. But I keep moving forward because backward is never an option.
There is nowhere to go but forward.
The rhythm that worked to get me across the ropes course helps me move through life also.
Keep looking ahead. Looking down or backwards only causes overwhelming vertigo. Keep your eyes focused on where your next move needs to be.
Take small steps. Multiple small steps combine to cover great distances. Keep moving, even inches at a time, and eventually you will get where you need to go.
Cheer someone else. Everyone needs to hear that our friends want us to succeed. Encourage others and let them know you believe in their abilities.
At the final platform, I was clipped onto a belay line and told to jump -- just jump -- and trust the rope to lower me safely to the ground. In the end, we're all told to step -- just step -- and trust that God will deliver us to where we feel safe again.
That final leap was a jarring lurch forward and then a jolting, clumsy free-fall toward the ground. The harness left bruises, but I arrived safely and joined the cheerleaders applauding the next woman in line to jump.
What obstacle course are you inching through today? How are you staying focused while you slide your feet along the wire?
While I'm enjoying a week away with other YoungLives campers, enjoy this repost from my previous blog lizology101.
We waited for an hour, standing barefoot on hot sand, sunscreened against the July glare. When our turn finally came, we stepped into heavy wet harnesses, tightened the waist straps, loosened the thighs.
Then we walked to the other side of the lake, barefoot over grass and gravel, carrying the double-webbed straps with heavy cable clips slung over our shoulders. When we reached the zipline tower, we climbed uncountable steps, up and up and up -- to the top, where we were greeted by a teenaged kid wearing a harness clipped into a spider web of safety lines.
He clipped our harnesses into the web, and again we waited, eye-level with the tree tops. The tower swayed gently in the breeze, just enough to be slightly nauseating. Then came the awareness that we really planned to jump off from here.
"Stand on the box," the kid told us.
We stepped to the edge of the wooden platform, toes hanging off into air. The kid attached our clips to the zipline. He unhooked our safety straps from the web. We stood unsteadily on the edge.
"I can't do it!" my companion called.
"There's nowhere to go but down!" I answered.
I counted, "One, two, three, jump!" but neither of us moved.
I leaned back against the line to put tension in the harness, counted to three again, and lifted my feet.
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there your hand shall lead me, And your right hand shall hold me" (Psalm 139:7,9-10).
God always knows where we are, and he is always with us. Nowhere we go can escape the reach of his protection and love.
Sometimes we wait, wondering, for days or months or years for God's call to jump. Sometimes the call comes as a gentle nudge, sometimes a hard shove. At some time God calls each of us to take a big step. Then we have to trust in him and ride the line wherever it goes.
The zipline was a few screaming seconds before splashdown in the cold lake. Kicking, splashing, spitting water, I looked around for my companion.
I heard her beside me laughing, "Let's do it again!"
I pray you have faith to jump eagerly and often. What step is God calling you to take today?