Ziplining: Hearing and Heeding

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” -- Proverbs 3:5-6

One afternoon, I participated in a “Zipline EcoSafari” at the Forever Florida Park in St. Cloud. To get us up where we needed to be, about a dozen of us climbed a five-story tower to the first zipline. I was surprised and quite disappointed to find myself filling with trepidation as I considered what I was about to do.

After all, when I was little girl, I used to jump off the garage roof, with an open umbrella in hand, hoping to float off like Mary Poppins. It was also very important to me in those years to make a climb each day to the highest branches of the pines in the grove on our property.

As an adult, I’ve trained on and crewed on hot air balloons. I’ve flown in a range of aircraft from commercial prop and jet planes to helicopters to military refuelers. 

I love being aloft.
But…here I was, heart pumping away. I’m certain apprehension was all over my face, heard in my breathing, and clearly in evidence all through my body. 

My lanyards were hooked on the line. I took the initial step into the air and was propelled across to the second tower in the series. I was so relying on myself to get to where I needed to go, I was so focused on getting from point a to point b, I was so muddled and so befuddled, that I missed hearing some key directives. I didn’t turn my lanyards so I could come in straight and so, instead, I spun around backwards and had to rely on my guide to catch me on the other tower. I took little pleasure in the experience, was embarrassed by my lack of composure, and missed seeing the beauty of the pine flatwoods and forested wetlands all around me.

It occurred to me, as I later reflected on the day, that we can approach all of life like this: allowing our fears to distract us and becoming so self-focused we can't hear and heed the guidance of the One who can bring us safely along the journey. When we do live like this, we miss out on the glories of the bountiful world the Lord has set all around us.

I am happy to report that by the time I reached the third tower, I was flying straight and reveling in the experience. I was delighted to finally hear my guide say, “Good job!” when I landed and I pray I’ll continue to carry the lessons of the day in my heart so that I may step up to meet each new challenge with a deep, unshakeable trust in the Lord who knows the way and can make my paths straight. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).

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