By: Ashley Beckford
When I was in Jr. High, my school had an amazing ropes course. It was high, 40 feet to be exact, and it was challenging. Coming from a person who is terrified of heights, I was not too excited to do this in P.E. class. But, unfortunately, I am also very competitive and love a good challenge so despite my fears, I did it anyways. I started with some of the easier things like the wall climb and the zip line. Check. But when I got to the harder courses, especially the trapeze jump, I wasn’t so sure I could tackle the task in front of me.
In order to succeed at the trapeze, you climb up a 40 foot wooden pole-like ladder, but instead of steps, you are placing your feet on small metal U’s coming out of the pole; not the most stable of ladders. Of course you are strapped into a safety harness that will catch you if you fall, but you are not thinking about that as you get higher and higher… further and further away from the safety of the solid ground.
The higher I climbed, the louder my breath became. The higher I climbed, the further I was from comfortable. But being in Jr. High where peer pressure is a part of everyday life, I forced myself to take one more step… and one more step. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, I reached the top. I was relieved until I realized that what I had to do next was even scarier than the climb: I had to pull myself up onto the top of the pole and balance without holding onto anything! What?! For someone who was deathly afraid of heights, this was the most frightening thing yet. So very carefully, and with all the confidence I could muster, I climbed up to the top of the pole and stood up.
I WAS FROZEN.
Ahead of me was the actual trapeze jump. The moment when you leap from the tiny pole to a handle…. 40 feet above the ground. Yeah right.
But before I would reach that handle, I would have to fly through open air. The time in between. The time when you are flying towards something new, yet have nothing to hold onto. The time when you are virtually leaving one platform and looking towards the next. TRANSITION. It is scary. It is uncomfortable. But it is necessary. In order to get to the next step, you must take the leap and endure the place of no foothold.
To be honest and transparent, I am flying through the open air of transition right now. It is hard and it is forcing me to be patient. And even though this might sound cliche, I am being refined more than ever in this season. God is stretching and molding me into His image; in the ways I respond and in the the ways that I trust.
I have learned several lessons during this time of transition:
- There is no need to look back. I have been tempted to go back to the familiar, but God doesn’t want that for me. His ways are best and he knows the exact color and shape of the next “handle” I need to grab onto. And the color is going to be stunning! I just need to keep my eyes fixed on the prize.
- There is no need to freak out. When you are flying through open air with nothing to hold on to, it is easy to get scared and uneasy. So God is teaching me to trust and let go of the certain things I have held onto for so long. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” God knows exactly what He is doing, and all I need to do is trust Him.
In the meantime, enjoy the open air! It is a rather nice breeze.