Now, I am aware that I am a little late with this post being that my zip lining experience happened on April 3rd, BUT I felt my experience was worth sharing! So please cut off your phones, quiet your kids, and feast your ears on this……lol just kidding! But no…..really….. listen!
If you have viewed my bucket list then you should have seen that zip lining was on the list! I have always wanted to try it and my ultimate goal is to zip line in another country (preferably Switzerland). I found a Groupon for a 3-hour zip line adventure at a retreat in Virginia, and my best friend and I completed the course together. On that day we drove about 1 hour away to get to the adventure park. Once we got there, there were other people/families within our group waiting for instructions. We gathered our equipment and the instructor demonstrated how to put on our gear and how to connect ourselves during the course. Once we arrived to the course, the instructor explained that there were 4 levels to the course: yellow (the easiest), a short green course, a long green course, blue (more challenging), and black (the hardest level). There were like 10 to 15 people within my group which consisted of adults, teens, and little children. Now let me point out that my group was diverse in age, race, body build, and even experience (for some of us this was our first time). The instructor informed us that we could pick any obstacle we liked at any time, BUT we had to complete blue before we could complete black. The instructor NEVER said whether we had to complete the course with a partner or not but stated we could go at our own pace. Everyone partnered with either their family or friends they came with and decided together which course to start with. The instructors explained that they would be walking around near each obstacle and if we needed any assistance to just yell for help. Just FYI: the course looks higher when you are actually doing it…the pictures do not display the height too well. Let’s just say that it was high enough that you could break a bone if you fell. 😅
Being the dare-devils that we are, my best friend and I decided to skip yellow (the easiest course) and start with the short green course. We were so excited and ready for the challenge……… until we started the course and saw that it was harder than it looks. My friend went first which gave me a chance to see what I was getting myself into. As she worked her way through the first obstacle, I got prepared and waited until she cleared me to go. As I watched her ease her way across on just one tiny white rope, I could feel the same intensity she felt and began to question: “what was I thinking?” Suddenly she came to a halt and began to panic a little, so I began to yell questions to the instructors for guidance on how to get her through the obstacle. The instructor talked her through it and I was up next.
Immediately I began to ask myself what was I thinking, and if I had been on some kind of drug or something when I signed up for
this. I tried to think of an easier way to get through the obstacle but ultimately there was no easier way. I grabbed the ropes and took my first step then froze in place. I did the one thing you probably shouldn’t do….looked down! I started thinking what if I fall and didn’t trust my equipment to prevent that from happening. The instructor reassured me that I couldn’t fall, and if I did my equipment would catch me. It was a nice day out side, clear skies, but for some reason it seemed like the wind decided to pick up when I was in the middle of the obstacle. I began to panic, call on Jesus, and yell out questions to the instructor to guide me through the obstacle as well. I expected them to give me step by step instructions but instead they yelled, “it doesn’t matter…..you can use whichever foot you like…..it’s up to you!” I remember thinking “well thanks………..forrrrrrrr NOTHING!!” At that point, I was convinced that I would have to get myself together and talk myself through it the best way I could. So, I started calling on God and telling myself to trust Him and just take the next step. After that next step, I was a little more confident and less afraid. My friend and I had successfully completed the short green course and she waited for me at the starting point to do the next course.
We decided to save the long green course for later and do the blue (more challenging) course next. Again, my friend went first as I prepared myself for the obstacle. At first, this obstacle seemed a little easier because we were able to get past our nerves during the first obstacle. However, none of the obstacles were the same so each had its own challenge. My friend and I were making our way through the blue obstacle pretty smoothly, and then I got stuck! During the course, we had to zip line across from one tree to the other. On the other side was a wooden ramp to land on once we got across. After my friend went, I zip lined across, couldn’t catch my footing on the ramp, and glided back to the middle of the rope. I was stuck! I was a sitting duck! Immediately, the devil pounced on the opportunity to ruin what was meant to be a fun adventure by proposing the thought, “great, and so the struggle begins!” However, I brushed it off and laughed at myself. The instructor explained that I could pull myself in to the ramp using my arms, so I tried it. It took every bit of strength I had and my left arm was already hurting from pulling my brachial. The instructor offered to throw me a rope and pull me to the ramp instead but even that took arm strength that I didn’t have. However, it worked and by the time I got back on course I was too tired to just jump back in, so I sat down on the dock to re-gather myself. I looked up and my friend was nowhere in sight. She was somewhere still making her way through the course. Once I felt ready, I got up and completed the blue course and decided to do the black (hardest) course next.
As I was preparing myself to do the black course, one of the instructors says “your friend is almost through the black course! She didn’t even wait for you!” Now, I could say that I brushed that off to BUT that would be a lie! I responded, “was she supposed to wait for me? I am fine on my own! I thought this was at our own pace?” However, in my mind I was slowly starting to feel defeated and left behind. I remember thinking, “this is nothing I am not already use to…..I always get left behind……I always get the short end of the stick…….why would he say that?” It became so easy to go into a self-pity mode and for the remainder of the course my mood was different than when I started. I was convinced that I was on my own in this obstacle and that felt like the worst feeling in the world because at this point it was more than just a zip lining adventure…..it was real life! Still, I kept going anyway and was determined to finish what I had started. Then I was tested again! I had come to a point in the course where I had to zip line across again to get to the other side of the course. This time I jumped and went nowhere! Again, I was a sitting duck! A little boy nearby offered to help but I declined because I didn’t want him to get stuck too. I yelled for the instructors to come rescue me but because I was higher up and in the middle of the course, I had to wait for him to travel through the course to get to me. Waiting was the hardest part! I felt like the rope was cutting off my circulation, my body felt like it was going numb, and my emotions were all over the place. It hurt and took patience and strength to sit and wait. For a minute I blamed God! I remember saying to God, “why does everything have to be so hard for me? Is it that you love me less? Why do I always have to get left behind, when I have stuck it out this far?” I just felt confused and couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. Then I looked up and realized I I forgot to attach my catheter (the one with the wheels on it) to the rope and only attached the regular hooks instead. LOL it then made sense; I didn’t use my equipment properly…….I forgot to hook myself up completely. The instructor came and helped pull me back to the dock. This time I didn’t stop to rest…..I kept going. I completed the black course and decided I would go ahead and finish off with the yellow (easiest) course. I had completely forgotten about the long green course, so that never got completed.
After what I had went through, the yellow course was a breeze! Somehow my friend and I had met up and did the yellow course together. We came to the end of the course and had to zip line across again to get back to the meeting grounds.
My friend went first and began to hook herself up. As she attempted to zip line across, she somehow got stuck and was half way on the dock and half way dangling in the air. She attempted to jump 3 times and got stuck each time before realizing her catheter kept getting caught on a metal piece at the beginning of the rope. At that moment, I just laughed to myself and felt silly. I saw that I wasn’t alone at all! During the course, she had her challenges too……I may not have saw them but they were there! I know because afterwards we laughed and talked about our adventure over sushi!
Life is a lot like zip lining! You don’t always get to choose at what pace you are going to go. Sure, you can try to modify it and attempt to speed it up but ultimately it’s left to God when you will get there. And that’s because there is a lot to be learned on the way, and if we become fixed on trying to speed it up we might miss it. Someone else’s way of doing things may not be your own and that’s because God never intended it to be. You have to realize that what God has for you is for you and nothing can change that. It will still be sitting there waiting for you until you get there because it’s for you!! That day everyone was scattered everywhere and moving through each obstacle at their own pace. I saw people creating short cuts and using alternative ways to get through their obstacle. What worked for one person didn’t work for the person behind them. Some people breezed through while others went slow and steady just to stay afloat. Everyone was focused on their obstacle but not too focused that we couldn’t help each other. Every once in a while we would yell across the park to assist each other or give advice on how we got through it.
As you have read, this adventure didn’t go without testing. I started with my best friend but at some point she took off and I got stuck. Immediately, the self-defeating thoughts began. However, that was a pivotal moment for me because it showed how the enemy will try to cause chaos among us in our race with God and make us compare ourselves with one another; causing us to lose trust in God versus seeing the bigger picture. I am learning that I am never alone! God is always with us and He doesn’t leave us just because we learn slow or get stuck. When I got stuck dangling in the air it wasn’t God’s fault or Him trying to punish me. Rather it was a careless mistake on my part for forgetting to hook myself properly and you know what God did? He rescued me even in that situation. Yes, it hurt to hang there but I knew I wasn’t going to fall because I was convinced that I couldn’t.
What if you knew that God will NEVER let you fall? Would you trust Him more, take more risks, doubt less, and stop comparing
yourself? I know my answer…….and it is YES!! I am still learning this valuable lesson til this day and sometimes lose sight of this. That day, I saw that zip lining is similar to life……everyone around you is trying to get through something at their own pace. We just have to remember that God won’t let us fail, to keep our eyes on our own course, and that He is in control. He really does know what He is doing! As I go on these adventures hoping to experience God Within, I am surprised at what I find. Sometimes I learn great things about God and myself that I didn’t know were there, and other times I realize flaws that I need to work on and how He loves me in spite of. What adventures have you went on that you were able to experience God Within?
Extra Bonus: oh and get this! God waited til after we got through the course to send the rain!! I had no idea that a storm was coming and it started not a minute before we finished the course! You interpret that how you like! I took it as God reminding me that I have no idea just how much He shields me from on a daily basis. Obviously, He feels I can handle it!