When God Gives You a Trust Fall
I’ve been waiting in line for 2 hours and 45 minutes, while the sun scorches my hair line, for a mere 2 minutes of happiness. I am fueled only by the chance to ride Cedar Point’s hottest ride, Millennium Force, a coaster that hits 93 miles per hour in no time. I have waited an extra 30 minutes for the front row that my best friend convinced me was, “the only way to go.” I hear the WHOOSH of the brakes working double time to stop the train before me. People unbuckle and step out as I wait impatiently for the impossibly slow, metal gates to swing open and signal my chance. I race to my seat and my sweaty thighs stick to the plastic. After tightly fastening my seatbelt, the moment I’ve been waiting for comes.
Click…click…click… The track is like clockwork as we make our way up the big hill ahead. To my left I see Lake Erie and ponder death. My knuckles are white, though I refuse to look down to check. As we round the top I look down and cannot see where the tracks have disappeared to. I can’t see anything, though my eyes are wide open. I begin to question the sturdiness of my single seatbelt and wish for a pull-down design. In this moment, I have faith in the architects and engineers who have crafted this beautiful ride; in fact, I have no choice because my life is now in their hands.
You caught me. The roller coaster is a cheesy metaphor for this thing that we do day-in and day-out called “life”. We don’t always know what to expect. We wait around, sometimes for days, weeks, or months, for a brief moment of happiness that allows us to feel like everything will be alright. But what do I know anyway? I’m just an adrenaline junky, 18-year-old trying to find her way in the 21st century.
The truth is that life SUCKS sometimes! In the darkest times people say, “Everything will be alright.” But such idealistic words bring little comfort to me. Many times this year I wanted to ask, “What happens if it’s not?” The literal roller coaster must have turned out all alright because here I am typing this but uncertainty stands by the door, forever lurking.
I’ll spare you the boring deets on my journey and give you the major points. I’ve had big problems but I serve a big God, like really big. I was raised in church all my life. I have now lived in three different states, gone to four different schools, and attended a couple churches — so people come and go. Home’s where the heart is and all that, but my heart has been a little confused lately. I’ve got the “picture perfect” family. My mom’s hot, my dad’s fit, and I’ve got 2 brothers with girls lining up left and right for their chance. My house has high ceilings, white trim, and a fire place room with windows that take up the whole wall. It’s cool. I say not all of this to brag on how “easy” I have it, rather to showcase that you can have it all and not be happy.
If you make it through this first article, then I’d love for you to follow along with my journey. Not sure where I’m going or how I’ll get there but you’re invited to be apart of the process.
One of my brothers was voted Prom King in high school. He was like my uber role model. He wasn’t perfect but he like always did the right thing. He was insanely popular because he has one of those personalities people can’t help but be around and a bod the ladies can’t pass up. My brother was the kid all the mom’s wanted around their sons in hopes that a little bit of his “sparkle” might rub off on ’em. Was. But then life happened, and by “life” I mean the immanent evil in this world.
My brother was kicked out of college within a semester because he was caught smoking weed in his dorm. Might seem like no biggie to you, but it broke me. Turns out he’d been struggling with manic depression for a while…still is. I’ve seen him high as kite after I held his pipe and watched him light his bowl. I’ve seen the razor-cut scars on his ankles. I’ve seen a suicide note he left before he ran way the third time without a phone or car. It’s horrible what depression does to people, and I hope you never encounter it.
My other brother joined the army and went overseas for a year. He came back an alcoholic. I returned home for a break during my first year of college and witnessed an episode that woke me up at 6 A.M. His friend had given him 2 LSD pills to take after he had drank the equivalent of 12 shots. He could have overdosed. He was high for 6 hours speaking gibberish. I watched as my dad bound his hands and feet before he could destroy anything else in the house. All this filth came out of his mouth and it was a reflection of his dark heart.
A couple of nights before this, I had heard my parents hissing at each other in tones I wasn’t used to. It was a bad fight. I won’t go into details what about, but it was scary.
To summarize, my brothers have seen better days, my parents’ marriage suffers as a result, and I broke up with my boyfriend/best friend a couple of months ago (left that tidbit out).
So in this moment I am presented with two options: (1) Be overcome by life’s heartache and give up or (2) Stick around and fight with prayer. I choose to be a fighter instead of a fleer. I’m at peace when I remember the verses found in Matthew 6:25–34. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I believe in connectedness; that there is a reason and season for everything. So right now, I will choose to fight. I may not be happy but I have deep joy.
After all, at the end of the day a dysfunctional family struggles to put themselves back together to no avail. Somewhere a man loses his job to a poor economy and a single mother grimaces at the thought of paying for school supplies this Fall.
Want to know a secret? We were not meant to live life alone.
You may think, “That’s no secret.” What I really mean to say is that we were not made with the strength to endure such circumstances without supernatural help. We are not responsible for what happens to us in this life and God is not responsible either, though he sometimes allows it to happen. What we are responsible for, and what we can control is how we choose to respond in those moments.
James 1:2–4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This year, God gave me a trust fall. He said, “I’m the only thing you need.” When all hope was lost, I was reminded of His presence that I had all-too-easily forgotten.
I don’t regret anything I went through because it made me stronger. It made me wiser. It made me grateful. Was it easy? No. But it was worth it.
I hope this encourages you if you’re going through tough times. I don’t know who you are or what you’re going through but there’s a reason you’re reading this long and seemingly unimportant article. Will you choose to put your trust in the architect of your rollercoaster? Maybe it’s not time to let go of the handle bars yet and put your arms up, but that’ll come later. Believe me.