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A Mile High on a Rusted Coffee Can

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It looked fun…at first. From the bottom looking up, it looked like a nice, leisurely ride to the top. I bet the view from up there is amazing. And the only thing standing between me and the top of this mountain peak is a mile of cable line and one tram ride. And the voice in my head yelling “are you out of your mind!!??”

If you’ve ever had a fear of heights, then you’ll understand when I say that standing at the base of a ski lift that traverses over a mile straight up the mountain to an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet can be a daunting view. Looking around and seeing more rusted bolts and dry-rotted boards than I could find in an abandoned lumber yard as we make our way to the loading area does little to reassure the growing-louder-by-the-second voice in my head that is trying to remind me that if God wanted me to do something that required my feet leave the ground for more than two seconds, He’d have given me wings.

As I stand in the loading zone and the chair approaches from behind, I wait for the inevitable…and as it literally sweeps me off my feet as it knocks my legs out from under me, I plop down and feel the chair bounce and sway as the cable above us gives a little. Now we’re swaying back and forth as my feet leave the ground and we pull the bar over our heads…a bar that would no more hold me in this contraption than a paper bag would hold in a wild boar looking for its next meal. As the ground beneath us disappears and grows farther and farther away, I notice that this “seat” is no more than hollow metal pipes the thickness of a metal coffee can, held together by rusted bolts. Yeah…how’d I get here again?

Not Even Halfway Up

A Quarter Mile Up

Halfway up the mountain, it occurs to me that just about every muscle in my body is tense. I’m literally hanging on so tightly with one hand that my fingers are tingling because there is no blood left in them. My other hand is so firmly attached to my son that I’m sure I’ll be reported to DFS for child abuse when someone sees the hand-shaped indention I’ve surely left in his side. And my butt is clinched so tight, I’m pretty sure my two cheeks have become one. It does little to calm my mind when I’m looking down and realize that if I do fall from here, I most likely won’t die…just shatter a femur or two, blow out a knee, disintegrate my ankles, and maybe puncture a lung. I wonder how much my AFLAC policy pays per bone?

Farther Than It Looks (75')

Don’t Be Deceived – That’s a 75′ Drop

We like being in control, don’t we? We like the feeling that comes with knowing that we have a say in things…that we have the reigns and even if we’re flying by the seat of our pants, the decisions are ours to make, and we’re piloting this ship we call our life. Our feet are planted firmly on the ground, and we have the power…we’re in control. But are we? Are we really? Let’s be completely honest here. The feeling of “control” I had when holding on for dear life to that coffee can dangling seventy five feet above the ground on its way to the top of a mile-high mountain did nothing more than give me a false sense of security. Had something failed on that rusted piece of metal built back when moonshiners ran these hills, I would have no more been able to keep from falling to the rocks below and shattering every bone in my lower body than I could stand on a street corner and catch a bowling ball falling from the Empire State Building. It ain’t gonna happen.

Yet we walk through life unwilling to let go, don’t we? We hold on to the things (and the people) we love so tight, that letting go becomes too much to believe possible. And when you boil it down to the core of why we struggle with letting go, it’s one thing. All too often, we let our fear of letting go overwhelm us. It’s not that we don’t want to let go. No, deep down inside…I believe at the heart of us all…we don’t want to be wound so tight that we can’t breath. We long to let go and feel the exhilaration of adrenaline pumping through our veins as we live life to the fullest. But despite that yearning, if’s the fear that drives us to hold on so tight…fear of what might happen if we do let go. Make no mistake, friend…if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen whether we’re holding on or not. And when it does, us holding on is not going to stop it from hurting when we hit bottom.

God is calling us to let go. Our lives are not ours, and we certainly don’t have the control and power we think we have. All we have is an illusion…a false sense of security provided by what we see, hear, smell and feel. We have to look beyond that illusion and realize that life happens on the other side of the fear. Will it be easy to let go? Not always. Will it hurt to let go? Sometimes. Will it be worth it to let go? Absolutely!!! It’s time to truly give our lives to Christ. To give Him the reigns and let Him take His rightful place in the pilot seat of our life. It’s time to let go and let God. If you can, you’ll see for yourself that the view from the top IS worth it.

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It IS an Awesome View

And yes…you’ll even find you can have a lot of fun along the way.

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Thumbs Up

“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. – Proverbs 19:23

Love,

Dad

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My Step Into the Light

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I’ve been struggling with something as of late.  In recent months, I’ve been in a funk.  No desire to read the Bible.  No passion to pray.  No sense of intimacy or depth of feeling to my relationship with Christ.  In my prayers and preparing to facilitate a men’s 8-week Bible study based on the movie Courageous that starts tomorrow night, two things are occurring:

1.  I’ve been praying that God would reveal to me all the sin in my life, so that I can confess it and repent.  Whether it’s sin I know of or sin that I’m not aware of, I’ve asked the Lord to help me see it and turn from it…to follow hard after him.

2.  The devil has been upping his efforts against me, causing me to question and doubt that I am able to lead other men through the Bible.  Specifically, I’ve been struggling with the fear I find in the answer to the question “am I the man worthy of leading other men? I am not qualified or able to do what He’s asking me to do”.

Words today from Jayne Patton, a dear sister in Christ and author behind the Freshly Brewed ministry, challenged me and helped me to better understand what I’ve been grappling with.  She posed the question:  “What would it look like if you let go of the things that hold you back in your walk with Christ? If you stopped worrying about what your [family] would think of you. If you stopped worrying about what your friends will think of you. Proverbs 29:25 says ‘The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.‘  Fear disables.  It disables you from fully experiencing God’s very best.  It disables you from experiencing the life He has planned for you.  That doesn’t sound very appealing to me…”

It doesn’t sound good to me either, which got me thinking.  In preparing to lead this Bible study, the Spirit has been revealing all the varying sins in my life.  As each is revealed to me, I begin to pray that God would strengthen me to overcome it…that He would fill me with Himself that there is no room for my sin.  And I continue praying for the courage to face my fears.  Today, I’m putting into practical application the courage God is giving me…and I’m outing my sin publicly.

It’s a battle I’ve been fighting for over 20 years.  I’ve been keeping this secret sin hidden for so long that the habits have become second nature.  I’ve shared this with, and have the support of a loving wife…and I have a trusted friend as an accountability partner…a man of God who’s not afraid to call me out when I need it.  But it’s not enough.  In my humanness and my addiction, I find ways around the accountability.  In my preparations for starting this Bible study tomorrow, I believe God is calling me to be Courageous.  To take it up a notch.  To stand boldly and profess that I am weak, and He is strong.  To bring my hidden sin out of the dark and shed the Light upon it.

So here I stand…admitting what I’ve hidden in shame for the majority of my life.  I’m putting myself out there in the hopes that I no longer have to live in a tension-filled relationship with my Savior  I’m believing that the Light invades the darkness to reveal what is hidden so that it remains hidden no more.  Believing that when the Light permeates the darkness, there can be no darkness remaining.  Knowing that admitting this publicly provides me even more resolve to overcome it.  Knowing that it puts the fear on the table, so that I can move past the fear and be all that God desires of me.

And it’s my hope that through fighting my addiction to pornography here publicly I can not only prevent you, my young children, from making these same mistakes, but that I can be an encouragement to other men in the same struggle.  As my sister in Christ offered her encouragement to me today, it’s my goal that God would “sanctify it ALL in order to use it ALL at His discretion and at His direction.”  The choice to pursue Jesus with everything is a daily choice.  I fail some days.  And at the end of the day, I lay my head on the shoulder of the God who forgives.  And every morning I wake up with The Lord who wipes clean the stains of my past, filled with the Spirit who is rested and ready to walk with me.

I will address this topic here in much more depth over the course of the next several months, as God leads.  In His timing, I will write about what He leads me to reveal.  It will be in no particular order.  For right now, I’m emotionally exhausted.  This note has been a long time in the making…months of prayer and thought has gone into how to share this.  I’m winning this battle now, but I know that as I step out to begin walking other men through the Word, that Satan will continue trying to knock me down.

For now, I’m content to open to the world the door to my darkness…to step out in faith and follow Him…to step into the light.

Love,

Dad