They say opposites attract.
This would explain my marriage to Cody. We are truly opposites. He loves figuring things out. I hate reading instructions. He is a numbers guy, and can do math in mere seconds in his brain. I’m all, “So that’s 23 + 56 which is, you know…a lot.” He likes being up on roofs. I like being on the ground. He is big picture, and I’m more in the moment.
Initially, this seemed like what made us such a good fit. Then as we married and the years went by, it seemed like it might just kill us all. (Kidding…not kidding…)
I was again made aware of our differences when we celebrated our 7th anniversary a couple weeks ago by doing something a little out of the ordinary: we went zip lining.
The course involved about 30 minutes of training on all the straps, buckles, pulleys, and harnesses. We had three carabiners on our harness so that we were attached to a rope at all times. Then we were turned loose with our training group to make our way through all the zip lines and obstacles on our own time.
The first obstacle required us to hook ourselves to a tarzan rope and swing over to a hanging net, which we then had to grab and climb up to the next platform…with nothing beneath us to catch our fall should our carabiners fail for some reason. No net. No pit of foam. Just hard ground.
Terrified is a good word to describe the way I felt. The ropes and carabiners might as well have been made from paper. Even though I tested them, tugged them, and triple checked that I was attached, the feeling of launching myself into thin air 50 feet above the ground went so against my instincts that it took me a bit to enjoy myself.
Then there’s Cody. He spends his days on roofs. Flat roofs, steep roofs, roofs four stories in the air. He’s comfortable up there. He patiently waited each time I had to work up the nerve to go through an obstacle. When it was his turn, he clipped himself on and jumped, ran or swung right away, not afraid one bit to let the carabiners catch his fall should he take a misstep on the obstacle.
If you know Cody, you know he’s good at everything. I won’t lie. It irritates me sometimes. He wins everything. He’s the best at everything. He’s good at everything he puts his hands to. And if he’s not good at it, he takes the time to learn. And then he’s the best at it. Completely irritating.
When we were driving out of the park and talking about the course, I asked him what he thought. He shrugged and said, “It was ok.”
“Ok??” I had conquered my fears about 30 times in the course of two hours, so I had fun and felt a rush and was still unsure I could do it again without being afraid. And he thought it was just ok?
“It wasn’t dangerous enough,” was his reply. “There was no way for anything to go wrong. You were always hooked up. It wasn’t challenging.”
He’s all about competition and danger and facing death. You know…”fun.”
As we drove, I thought about what he said. While I had tugged on my ropes and “tested” them, I was on the ground when I did it. I didn’t really test them much once I was up fifty feet in the air. As I crossed obstacles, which included rope bridges and jumping across hanging platforms among the treetops, I never once let myself fall and allow the carabiners to catch me, even though they were perfectly safe and sturdy. Something in me just did not trust those ropes and carabiners. I felt fear nearly every moment of the course, even if I was also laughing and having fun.
This got me thinking about my approach to life. I thought about how my lack of trust in those ropes equated to my lack of trust in God. I am a bit too cautious, a bit too indecisive. The fear I will make a wrong choice usually outweighs adventure that comes in leaping into the unknown. The anxiety I carry comes from the fear God will not catch me should I fall. Even though I know He is always with me, I also know He doesn’t always take us out of hard situations. I also know sometimes He allows really hard things to come our way.
And sometimes, He even allows us to fall.
Cody, on the other hand, takes it all in. He knows that even if things don’t go as planned, we can learn and grow and have fulfilling experiences anyways. He knows if he gets off course, he will be caught. He embraces the fall. This was obvious in his approach to the zip lining. In fact, he prefers the risk of falling, failure and apparently even death. *insert me rolling my eyes*
As someone who has led a pretty good and safe life so far, it’s normal for me to feel these fears. But I am fascinated by my friends going through really tough times. They seem to have a growing faith instead of one that is squelched by sadness or anger. They seem to want very much to tell their stories in order to encourage and inspire others. They have fallen, only to find God caught them in His own way.
I decided to explore this. Coming up on my blog, I will be posting interviews with people in my life who are navigating impossible circumstances with the grace and faith I feel like I could only have in my dreams. They can tell you good things that have come from their trials. There will be no schedule to these posts. They will just come as I can get them done.
I am working on one right now with a friend who is a missionary nurse in Uganda. She has seen unspeakable suffering and death, yet she has left her life in the United States to serve orphans in a babies’ home as a nurse. I have also spoken with three other friends who have agreed to let me interview them: one who is fighting breast cancer, one whose four year old son has fought brain cancer and is growing through life after cancer, and one who was homeless at a young age and how that has shaped her as an adult.
And I’d be happy to hear from you if you or someone you know have a story you would like to share! Feel free to contact me at the email address on my blog or through Facebook.
I really hope these stories can encourage you as much as they have encouraged me. I am glad to be able to use my blog as a place these people can tell their stories. So stay tuned!
9-21 Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear…”. ~Genesis 50:20
26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. ~Romans 8:28