Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my incredible young friends – Sarah. I’ve known her since she was a little girl, and I’ve watched her grow into an amazing young woman.
She’s spunky, savvy, outgoing, full of life, and deeply in love with Jesus.
I think you will enjoy reading her guest post today!
In September of 2012, I found myself with some free time in Santa Monica, CA.
Santa Monica is a lovely ” beach city” located just outside of Los Angeles.
I have always loved being on the water, whether it be an ocean or the Potomac River. Any spare moments walking around on a beach on the Pacific Ocean would be relished indeed.
This time, however, I was particularly stressed out. My intense job that simulated being in a pressure-cooker 24/7 had taken its toll.
I needed to do something to take my mind off of everything.
As I walked along the Santa Monica Pier, a flier advertising trapeze lessons caught my eye. I picked up the flyer out of curiosity and learned that anyone relatively fit could take lessons, and it wasn’t that expensive. On a whim, I signed up for a two-hour class the next day.
I showed up to my lesson in my tank top and yoga pants. I felt my stomach churn as I looked up the shaky ladder to the trapeze platform. Heights have never been my thing. I hate heights. –terrified to the point that my legs always turn to jello anytime I am above 10 feet.
The instructors were very clear: once I made it to the trapeze platform, I had to obey their commands, with no hesitation.
If they said to jump, I had to jump. Any hesitation would throw the timing off. Trapezing is all about physics and timing. You have to defy the force of gravity if you want to have the strength to lift your legs above the bar.
The good news is that timing combined with the force of your swing will help you to lift your legs no matter what weight may be.
The bad news is that if you hesitate one millisecond, then the center point of gravity will double your total weight making it nearly impossible to lift your legs above the trapeze bar.
I watched two small girls about eight and ten years of age, shimmy up the ladder. With not an ounce of fear, girl number one grabbed hold of the bar and did not even flinch when the instructor hollered for her to jump. I watched in amazement as she leaped off the platform and swung back and forth, lifting her legs above the bar and dangling upside down like a circus performer. At the instructors’ command, she lifted her hands back up to the bar, released her legs, let go, and dropped to the net below her.
“Ok, Sarah, if EIGHT-YEAR-OLD can do this, surely you can” was my thought.
I double checked the security of my safety belt, powered my hands with chalk powder, grabbed hold of the first rung on the ladder, and began to make my 25 foot climb into the air. The metal ladder was secured by chains at the top and bottom, but that did not keep it from shaking as I slowly made the climb.
Once I made it to the top of the platform, I held on for dear life.
I was shaking. My legs were moments away from collapsing beneath me. As I stood statuesque waiting my turn, I watched little girl number two — like girl number one — display no fear as she held onto the handle bar and lept off the platform. I was in awe of her lack of fear.
“She must think she is playing on the monkey bars at school,” I muttered under my breath. I heard the instructor hollering words of encouragement to girl number two.
Now it was my turn. The instructor was this big muscular looking guy, with sandy hair, and an overly tanned physique. My immediate thought determined he probably serves as a body double for Superman in his spare time. He calls me over to the exit square on the platform. As I held tightly to my safety bar, I mustered up the courage to move the two feet over to the masking-taped marked square located on the exit platform.
I really felt like I was walking the plank.
“Ok, Sarah, you can do this. Just listen to my voice and follow my command. Remember, what I say is not a question. Just do it,” the instructor said firmly.
Step one was for me to put my toes at the edge of the platform and lean forward to grab the horizontal trapeze bar, suspended by two cables, hanging before me. The instructor held onto the back of my safety belt fastened around my waist as I precariously leaned forward praying the instructor wouldn’t let go. When you’re 5’2″ and have short arms, reaching for that dangling trapeze bar was incredibly difficult. And, since I still had one hand with the grip of death on my safety bar, reaching for the horizontal bar with the other hand wasn’t exactly practical.
“Get those toes over the edge and lean forward, Sarah. You’ve gotta grab that bar,” commanded the instructor.
“But, I am going to fall!” I exclaimed.
“You’re not going to fall. I’ve got you.”
Did I trust him? Nope.
But I had no choice. Turning around and climbing back down the ladder wasn’t an option. Not to mention a small boy, yes, ANOTHER eight year old child was patiently waiting for me to jump and get out of the way.
I gritted my teeth together, and focused on the swinging horizontal bar.
As I reached with all my might, “Please don’t let me fall, please don’t let me fall, please don’t let me fall,” were the words I kept uttering over and over like much like Thomas the Train.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to lean forward just enough to wrap my fingers around the bar.
The instructor applauded step one. “Good! Now let go of the safety bar and place both hands on the trapeze bar.”
“WHAT?!! LET GO OF MY SAFETY BAR?!!” I cried.
“SARAH! THIS IS NOT A QUESTION,” barked the instructor.
I knew I had to immediately obey because if I didn’t I would be overcome by fear. There was a safety net below me. I had a safety belt on my waist. The trapeze bar was attached to cables. What was my problem?
I jumped, and as I began to soar in the air, a feeling of exhilaration came over me.
“Hey, this isn’t so bad,” was my first thought, but not sooner than that thought entered my mind, the instructor’s voice yelling at me jolted me back to reality.
“SARAH, get those legs up! NOW! OVER THE BAR! NOW!”
I obeyed instantly, and to my utter shock, I was able to fold my legs over the trapeze bar and hang upside down 25 feet in the air.
“LET GO of the BAR SARAH!”
Before I knew it, my instant obedience had me swinging upside down, with my knees over the bar, just like I had done on the monkey bars as a little girl.
“I guess maybe girl number one had practice on her monkey bars,” I thought to myself as I swung back and forth 25 ft above the safety net.
After going back and forth a couple of times, the instructor commanded me to release my legs, regain a grasp on the trapeze bar, and drop to the safety net below.
“I DID IT!! I DID IT!!” I hopped off the safety net and skipped back over to the line like an excited little kid.
The instructor congratulated me by saying, “Great job, you hesitated a little jumping off, but other than that, perfect!”
I was quite proud of myself as I marched over to the bin containing the chalk powder to dust-up my hands again.
Piece of cake.
When it came time for me to climb the ladder again, I was filled with a new-found confidence, and determined to make the best of it. But, I was still shaking.I made it to the top of the platform, but still found myself with a death grip on the safety bar.
This time, however, as I waited my turn, I used my bird’s-eye view advantage to look around me. There was a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. I could see all the carnival rides on the pier and hear the squeals of delight from the kids riding the roller coaster. I could see Muscle Beach where every Olympic wannabe was working out on the jungle gym.
It was so picturesque; I thought to myself “How on earth did I miss all of this the first time?”
Oh right. It is because I was too consumed with fear.
It was my turn again.
This time, I trusted my instructor to hold on to me as I reached for the trapeze bar. I grabbed it with both hands, but then I looked down the 25 feet and realized, “I have only a net separating me from a concrete death.”
The fear was back, and I was consumed. By this time, I realized the instructor had yelled for me to jump, and I had a delayed response because I was looking downward and not upward.
I did jump, I did all the moves commanded of me.
When I landed instead of offering praise the instructor said, “Sarah, you are still hesitating. You have to trust me, and you have to trust yourself. This is all about timing. The goal of this class is for you is to be able to release and be caught mid-air. If you don’t jump when we tell you, your timing will be off, and the other guy won’t be able to catch you. This is all about timing and trusting.”
As I listened to these words, “it’s all about timing,” the Lord spoke to my heart, reminding me about His perfect timing — God’s timing – He’s never late, He’s never in a hurry, He’s always on time.
~ How often do we “hesitate” before taking a leap of faith?
~ How often do we try to go too early or too late in rushing what God has planned for us?
~ How often are we overcome by fear, despite the fact the promises of God so clearly say “He will never leave us or forsake us, ” “My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” or “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it. ”
We allow our fear to inhibit our blessings.
We hesitate instead of instantly obeying.
We look downward instead of upward.
My two-hour trapeze class was drawing to a close.
It was now time to swing on the bar, let go, and trust some other Superman to catch me mid-air.
I knew I could do it because it was about trusting and timing.
As I swung back and forth, I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation –Me, non-athletic Sarah, swinging around on at TRAPEZE SCHOOL at the Santa Monica Pier in California.
It was time for the catch.
“Sarah, NOW! Let GO NOW!”
I learned to trust the timing. With no hesitation, I let go of my bar, soared through the air, and at the perfect time, I felt Superman #2’s big hands wrap around mine, and I heard him say “I gotcha” before gently dropping me to the net.
(You can see her “flight” below):
Isn’t that how the Lord so often works?
You are in what feels like limbo, swinging through mid-air, not knowing where you’re going, not knowing what will happen. But always, the Lord is there saying, “I gotcha.”
Always, the Lord is working at the OTHER end of the circumstance to so that in His perfect timing, you can fly in the air and divinely meet up with how He is working at the OTHER end.
Everything is under control, and even if you feel like there is not one to grab you mid-air, you can rest on the safety-net promises of God that hem you in behind and before.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Sarah Haley’ s communication background spans from producing national television news at Fox News Channel and ABC News to national politics. She spent four years in the United States Senate as press secretary to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) before serving as chief spokesperson for Ann Romney, wife of Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, during the 2012 presidential campaign. Currently, Sarah is a communications consultant and acts as executive director for ARISE2Read, an education nonprofit, in Memphis, TN.
**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has helped you today — would you share it with someone else?
~ I regularly link to these AMAZING SITES~
© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.