I love rock climbing.
If you didn’t know, I went to school out West, and enjoyed rock climbing a few times. Both in climbing gyms and in the outdoors. It’s practically a religion out there.
But rock climbing is really a great sport. Not only is it a great workout physically, but also mentally – and dare I say it — spiritually?
If you’ve ever been rock climbing – even if only once – you know, that you will eventually come to the moment. It is the moment where you’ve gone as far as you can go, comfortably. In other words, you’re stuck.
You’ve got your handholds and your footholds and you’re feeling really good right where you are. The only problem is that the next handhold is just a bit too far out of reach. So you freeze. You stop progressing and stay stagnant in your “safe spot,” knowing that in order to get to the next handhold, things are going to get dicey.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a climb where I haven’t had a moment like that. It’s a challenge. It’s what makes climbing thrilling and exciting.
There are so many parallels between life and climbing.
We all have moments where we’re comfortable. We feel as though we’ve gone as far as possible without enacting fear or danger. Maybe in a job, or at school. Or a habit that we’ve grown accustomed to. We’re comfortable, and unwilling to let go.
Especially in recovery. You’re progressing, but have gotten to the point of stagnation. Or a rut. And you’re far enough “off the ground” that you feel like you don’t need to go any further. Because in order to get to the next level, in order to continue on, you have to let go of your place of security, and actually reach for that next grip.
You have to leave where you’re comfortable in order to progress.
And that’s a scary thing. Because you’re climbing on a wall, or are on the side of a mountain. The danger is real. There is a very real chance that you could slip or fall or not make it to the next handhold.
You’re connected to a rope. You’re in a harness and have carabineers and a bilé system that is going to catch you if, by chance, you do miss the grip, or your foot slips.
No one in their right mind would ever go rock climbing without setting up the proper safety system.
So it is in life. We’re connected to a rope. A bilé that’s going give us the courage to reach for that next grip and will catch us if we fall.
And I bet you can guess where I’m going with this: but that safety rope we’re connected to is Jesus.
I’m not going to get preachy, I promise. So I’ll leave you with this.
Leaving a spot of comfort is hard. You’re suspended in the air, literally clinging to the side of a cliff for dear life. It takes some serious balls to let go of that grip to reach for the next one. But we’ve got to, if we want to make it to the top.
Maybe that next grip for you is standing up for yourself in a toxic relationship. Or enrolling in the college credits you still have left. Maybe it’s leaving a negative friend group, or applying to that dream school or dream job. Maybe it’s going to that AA meeting. Or simply, taking a good, hard look in the mirror at why you’re unhappy or hurting, and facing the truth.
Whatever it is, believe me, I know how comfortable your “safe spot” can be. But the freedom and the view from the top of the mountain is worth stretching out that arm, facing the possibility of falling, and letting go — because He will never let us fall. He loves us so much that He’ll always be there to catch us.
Freedom is waiting to be had. It’s up to you.