For the past year God has been teaching me about fear. I have lived the majority of my life up until this point living under some sort of fear and allowing that fear to make my decisions for me. As a child this meant that I wouldn’t let anyone throw me around or twirl me about. I hate heights and roller coasters. As the years went on it meant not trying out for different things because I was scared I would fail. It meant shying away from singing in front of people because what if I couldn’t sing… this was actually reinforced when a boy in 8th grade told me I couldn’t sing. Before moving to New Hampshire the Lord began by asking me if I would trust Him in moving out here. I could have arrived and hated living here, could have hated my job and could have failed miserably. I had never been to New Hampshire and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into. But God asked me to trust Him so I moved. And ever since that moment He has been asking me to take charge of my fear. I have realized that fear will always be apart of my life but what matters is not allowing the fear to dictate my life. Choosing to take control of my fear really means choosing to trust God where He has brought me and in the situations that He places me.
One of God’s challenges to me with fear led to an adventure that I went on almost a month ago. On Groupon there was a deal for a TSNY Trapeze class at Beantown (Reading, MA). When I originally saw the Groupon I thought, “Ha! I would never do that! I’m scared to death of heights!” Right after that thought crossed my mind, God told me (in my interpretations of Him,) “Well then, my dear Kaitlin, you must do it!” So… I bought the Groupon and for a good 4+ months held onto the paper. But about two months ago I decided that I was just going to take the plunge and schedule a class. So I did and this is that story…..
I hate heights. I mean they terrify me. I hate standing ladders for that reason. And getting off said ladders…. don’t get me started. So when I bought the Groupon I knew that it was going to test me but I thought after the initial time it would wear off being scary and maybe I would fall in love. So I got up on a Saturday morning, spent the morning bumming around the house and then set off for Reading, MA which is about an hour from my house.
Now Beantown is actually a part of the Jordan’s Furniture in Reading, MA. I have never seen a furniture store that looked like this. It had a candy store, ice cream store, TSNY Beantown, a fancy water and lights show and an IMAX theatre. WHAT?!?! Weird.
But anyways I made it and checked into my class. I ran to the bathroom so that I didn’t pee of fright and then we were rounded up for the class. Now each person was given a harness that fit securely around our waist. It felt a little like a corset but I was glad to know that I was so securely held. Then they began talking about what we were going to do. They were going to teach us about 3 tricks beginning with getting on the bar and hooking our legs onto it. It didn’t look all that high from the ground and my nerves were doing pretty good. Person by person went up and did their thing until I was about to head up to the platform. I was starting to think that this would be a breeze.. well maybe not a breeze but I would be able to do it. I mean we would be hooked in and they were going to tell us everything that we needed to do. No big deal… right?</p>
Wrong. When I made it to the top of the platform and I was awaiting my turn my heart began to beat rapidly. And fear gripped me. Quickly my thoughts turned to the fact that I could tell them that I had changed my mind. I didn’t mind losing the money I had paid to Groupon, it really wasn’t that big of deal. But then I realized that this is what the enemy wants me to do in my life to cower away and let fear hold onto me. I KNEW that I was safe and that nothing was going to happen to me. So I started praying… I was so scared that I actually started praying in tongues. I figured that if anyone heard oh well… I was scared and it was the only thing that seemed to lessen the fear.
Then it was my turn. I walked up and the lady attached the lines to my harness on both sides. She showed me that she had a hold of me and told me to put my toes over the side of the platform. I entertained the thought of telling her no but I didn’t think this would work out well. So over the platform my toes went and my heart rate sped up and up and up. I had one hand FIRMLY gripping the railing and the other was extended outward as I was given the bar. I was like okay I can do this. I was then told to push my hips out over the edge of the platform along with my toes until the only thing holding me onto the platform was my death grip on the railing on her holding onto the belt. “Okay, now take your hand off the railing and grasp firmly onto the bar.” She said it so calmly like this was a normal thing that every human being does.
But I couldn’t let go. I meant come on, letting go meant that I had to trust that she wasn’t going to let me plummet to my death. Letting go meant I had no control. Letting go meant that the only thing holding me onto that platform was her hand attached to the safety harness… the rest of me was going to be dangling precariously over empty air.
I breathed deeply and I let go. And she held me. But only for a moment as the person on the safety lines called out, “Ready..” at which point I was to bend my knees, “Hut” at which point I made a small jump and DOWN, DOWN, DOWN I went with a very loud scream. I was the only person to scream… in the entire class. I’m not sure whether I should be proud or ashamed of this fact.
Anyways… down, down, down I went and then I was told to bring my legs up to try and hook them onto the bar. I was unsuccessful but only about 50% of the class was able to do this on their first try. So on the count of three I let go and dropped like a feather to the net.
It took at least 5 minutes for my heart to quit racing and my hands to quit shaking as I sat in a chair awaiting my next turn. Each time was just as terrifying and the more times that I had to wait at the top of the platform and jump off the MORE terrifying it became. It took me three times to finally get my knees locked onto the bar and by this time everyone had moved onto somersaulting off the bar and other such tricks. I was the worst person in the class and I was perfectly okay with this. Because all I cared about was completing the class; not allowing my fear to dictate my life.
By the end of the class I was exhausted (my whole body was sore for at least two weeks after the class) and my nerves were frayed. The night after taking this class I had nightmares about having to take the class again and again and again. I have decided that an effective form of TORTURE would be making me take the class again but without ever letting me stop.
The very last thing we did as a class was that we attempted to be “caught” now since the one and only time that I was even able to get my legs onto the bar had been the third time I didn’t even get close to getting caught but I appreciate that they still let me try. Now being caught meant that there was someone else hanging upside down with their arms ready to enter lock with yours on the other side from your bar. You got a hold of the bar, got your legs up and then you extended your torso out with your arms above your head and your hands in lobster position. These lobster hands were called “Catch Hands.” And the thing about being caught is that, well you are the one BEING caught…. you don’t catch, the catcher CATCHES you. All you have to do is extend your torso, put out your catch hands and allow the catcher to catch you. Then when you have been caught the catcher says, “Got you” and you let go with your knees
A couple of the people in the class were caught and taken off the bar. It was a truly amazing thing to see.
Fear for me has less to do with what is going to happen as much as it has to do with my ability to control what can happen. One of the hardest parts of the class was that the “Ready” and the “Hut” were not on my own timing. Interesting isn’t it that one of the biggest fears for me had to do with my lack of control. I couldn’t prepare myself and then decide when to jump but instead everything had to do with listening to their commands and obeying them when they spoke. It didn’t matter if I was scared or not I just had to do it.
Interesting that I would learn this. How often in my own life and in ministry am I scared and unprepared for what the Lord is asking me to “jump” into? Everyday. But I just need to trust God and His timing because He knows more about any of it then I ever will.
Catch hands. They only work if you are reaching up and your hands are opened. You have to be engaged but you aren’t the one doing the catching. It has to do with waiting until the catcher says, “Got you” and then letting go and trusting that they do.
I took this class on a Saturday afternoon. The next morning in church, in the midst of the anguish of all my muscles, I was raising my hands in worship. And as I looked up my first thought was, “Catch Hands!” As I was raising my arms to the Lord, with my hands opened wide I had catch hands. We have to learn to stop trying to catch the catcher but instead to obey the voice as it says, “Ready… Hut… Legs Up… Arms Out…” and then that all familiar and deeply protective voice as He says, “Got ya!” And then, trust Him enough to let go of our security. For in obeying and trusting enough to let go, you will experience the greatest experience of your life!
Although I would never….. EVER… take another Trapeze class I learned a lot about not allowing Fear to keep me on the ground or the platform. About obeying and trusting God enough to let Him call out the moves. And about allowing the Catcher to Catch and letting go for the best “ride” ever.
Have you ever done anything crazy like this? Was God able to teach you through it?