Last year I hopped on a flight to Boston to celebrate a milestone birthday for my sister-in-law. We planned an action-packed weekend full of surprises for her, one of them being The Trapeze School of New York. Yup, you read that right. I left my two small children alone with my husband while I learned to fly on a trapeze. I figured if I survived the weekend, I would be fully prepared to join the circus should my current life plan fall through.
The website read, “Question: Why do you have a nagging urge to throw yourself off a platform? Answer: Because some part of you is yearning to be more alive, to fly.”
True, I longed to be more alive. However, I'm not sure I'd considered flying as a viable solution. It had definitely been a while since I considered saying yes to something that summoned that much of my courage.
I was in.
Before I knew it, I was signing my life away as I initialed a stack of waivers. Although I had absolutely no idea what I was getting in to that day, I went for it. Getting buckled into my safety harness, I began to ascend the stairs in preparation for my big leap of faith. Determined to leave fear behind, I leapt off the platform and soon felt the satisfaction of swinging upside down, not a care in the world. I told myself this was the beginning. I was determined to make more intentional choices to live fearlessly in the upcoming year.
The only problem is that’s as far as I got. The following year seemed to overwhelm me before i could get in front of it. Before I knew it, the year was over. All I could think about was that day at trapeze school. And that’s what I can’t stop thinking about on the first day of this New Year.
You see there was more available to me in that trapeze flying experience. Another challenge offered as the final part of the class. Once you master jumping off the platform and flying on the bar, you’re invited to let go of that very bar and be “caught” by the most seasoned acrobat instructor.
Taking a risk and jumping is one thing. Completely letting go of the bar mid-air and trusting your life to the person on the other side to catch you was a whole ‘nother ball game. I passed on the opportunity wanting to make it back to Dallas in one piece.
The seasoned “flyer” instructor kindly encouraged my efforts that day but challenged me to come back another time.
“You’ll never really experience the thrill of flying until you can completely let go. The real exhilaration is in the catch.”
Exhilaration in letting go? Not so much. I didn’t think much about his comments until a year later.
Reflecting on 2016, I revisited that experience as I set out to make my New Year’s Resolutions. Most of us start the year with a list of things we want to do so we can be more alive.
Where am I going to jump off the platform this year? Where will I be fearless and takes risks?
It’s all about us and all the brave feats we need to accomplish to be more alive.
Start exercising more. Then I’ll be free and fly. Spend more time with friends and family. Then I’ll be free and fly. Be more intentional in reading God’s word. Then I’ll be free and fly.
But what if my instructor was right? What if the real exhilaration and freedom in flying comes in the letting go and being caught?
Letting go of control and being caught in His plan for our life. Letting go of hurt and being caught in the power of forgiveness. Letting go of fear and being caught in His perfect love.
That’s what I’m believing for 2017.
That the real thrill of living won’t be found in jumping off platforms and doing what we’ve set out to do in life. The real thrill of living comes when we let go of our plan and be caught in His plan for our life. When we’re willing to let go of what we can do and be caught by the One who already did it all.
That’s awakening. That’s a heart fully alive.
Letting go. Being caught. Letting go. Being caught.
The awakened heart is less about what I do and more about what I’m willing to let go of. It’s the ongoing journey of trust for the heart that wants to live free.
So maybe this year as you set out to make your New Year’s resolutions, instead of listing off all the areas you need to jump, consider the areas He’s inviting you to let go. He’s ready to catch you and allow you to experience the most exhilarating year of your life.
After all, you were born to fly!
What is God inviting you to let go of so you can FLY in 2017?