Faith, Fear & the Skycoaster at Six Flags

Many years ago, on a Friday night, a few of my girlfriends & I decided the next day that’d we’d get up at the crack of dawn, drive ourselves 4 ½ hours to Atlanta, Georgia, from Tupelo, Mississippi, spend the day at Six flags, then drive ourselves 4 ½ hours back that night in order to go to church on Sunday morning. If you don’t know me well, I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to travel…I always love an adventure.

While at Six Flags, we saw something called the Skycoaster.

#picturestolenfromtheinternet

As my gal pal’s went racing towards it, I looked up and was terrified. Next thing I know, my two friends and I stood on a little platform wrapped up in a harness and hooked in with a tiny, small hook at the center of our backs to a line that was thin like a clothes line. (I mean, maybe it was bigger than that, but it sure didn’t feel like it).  Then we trusted two young girls, probably younger than us, (probably middle schoolers), who most likely made $5 an hour to be the “responsible party” to strap us in. Then, all of a sudden, the platform just dropped from below our feet, and we fell horizontal. Strapped together, and held together by a tiny cord. What in the world! How have I found myself here!

Then the crane started hoisting us up to the top of the arch (I remember this well). I screamed the entire way.

Once we finally got to the top, one of my girlfriends pulled the cord to let us loose (good thing that wasn’t my job or we might’ve been hanging there all night), and we flew. There were a few seconds of amazing, then the worst part happened. The worst part was when we swung all the way forward and those 2 seconds just before we began to swing backwards. The cord loosened and we felt suspended with nothing attached. That’s the moment your stomach is in your throat, but it’s exhilarating all at the same time.  I’m screaming and laughing all at the same time. Terrified but excited.

Then we swung a few more times and the fear went away, probably because we got used to it. By then it was just fun.

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On the way home from work today I was thinking about faith. Even this past Saturday as I worked on Rescue Pink (my non-profit), I was coming to the realization of how quickly things are happening and how terrified I am. I even had thoughts running through my brain, “Do you really want to do this, you are just about to the point of no return. You are starting a legal entity that you will be responsible for. This is government business now. You’ll be/are using people’s money and making decisions about it. Do you want to work a second job? Do you have the time for this? Maybe you should just stop now, this is too big for you.”  I knew in my heart I wasn’t going to stop now, but that was running around in my brain. I could’ve let it defeat me like I have in the past, but I just let those thoughts sit there and didn’t really make a decision to think about it one way or another.

Sunday morning I woke up and one of my favorite pastors, Marco Monroy was preaching at my church.  His passage? Hebrews 11.  If you’ve been following my story you know this passage was a key turning point for me in stepping out to do this non-profit to begin with.  And Marco could’ve taken this passage anywhere, but here is a quote from his message:

“God is not going to give you a dream in which you don’t need His help to accomplish the dream.” — Marco Monroy

 

I love how God uses people as gentle reminders that He’s got you in His hands. He knows every, single thing.  And he knows exactly what you need to hear, and when you need hear it.

So back to the ride home from work today.  I was thinking about faith.  And my thoughts turned toward courage. I’ve often heard the phrase, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Then I began to wonder if we all feel fear the same way?  At times I’ve thought that some people just have more courage than others, or they are more apt to just jump into things headfirst.  Then I think about how I used to be that way, but as I got older I became more scared of things, I got out of the practice of jumping in headfirst, pushing past the fear, and instead learned to become terrified and immobilized.  Life became dull.

I tell my niece all the time, who seems predisposed to be very, very afraid (she’s a scaredy-cat), to push past the fear – I tell her that on the other side of it are some of the most exciting things in life. Most of my life I lived that way and I have the most amazing stories to tell.  She listens to me (with a lot of “convincing”), and I’ve seen her push past her extreme fear to pet a stingray, hold a parrot, and rush down major waterslides by herself, and more, all at 5 years old. These seem small, but to her, they are HUGE. She’s learning courage. She doesn’t just have it, she has to practice it. Courage is a choice, it’s a learned behavior.

Then I think about faith. And how faith is the same way.  At times I’ve thought that to some people faith must just be easier for them.  But now I think it’s just like courage, we all have the same amount of anxiety about things. But we can choose faith enough so that it can become a learned behavior, and then with lots of practice it will become easier. But it’s not that God put more faith in others, and a little here and a lot there, a teeny tiny bit over there. We all have the same struggle with it.  It’s just what we choose to do with it that matters.

So today, I feel like I’m standing on the platform, and I’m strapped in, the floor is about to drop.

I’m trusting that cord.  I’m trusting that cable is gonna hold me.  Heck, I’m even trusting the middle schoolers who strapped me in.  And I’m gonna fly.  And it’s going to be scary and fun all at the same time, that first swing will probably be the scariest, but the second one should get better. I’m exercising courage. I’m exercising faith. I’m gonna fly.

“If you think God called you to something you can accomplish on your own, then that was just bad pizza.” – – Marco Monroy

 

Check out this video (also stolen from the internet). Start it at about 1:15.