Have you tried monkey bars? I’m not talking about a new kind of chocolate, I mean the bars that you swing across one at a time using your hands. Depending on your how fit and strong you are, they are either lots of fun or a reminder of how puny you are.
I took my girls to the park yesterday. My younger daughter can easily climb across monkey bars but my older daughter can’t. I’d like to say that I can swing elegantly and effortlessly between monkey bars but sadly I can’t.
While we were at the park a young girl set off across the monkey bars and sadly she fell and winded herself. She sat with her parents sobbing while they reminded her that she couldn’t manage the monkey bars. As she set off to play again several minutes later they shouted after her that she should stay away from the monkey bars. They were encouraging her not to try!
I found this all really sad. I remembered the day that my youngest daughter overcome her fear of the monkey bars. She could always get across 3 or 4 before dropping but she would always play it safe and let go safely before she lost her grip. In the end I stood next to her holding and encouraging her as she made her way across. This happened several times and eventually I didn’t hold her at all. Within minutes she was zipping across like Tarazan swinging from one bar to the next. She had overcome her fear and I as her father had helped her. I was so proud and she was delighted as she repeated again and again ‘look at me dad’.
What kind of parents or friends do you want to be. Do we really want to be saying ‘you will never do that’ to our loved ones on a regular basis? I’m not judging that other family because I don’t know their situation. My older daughter is unlikely to ever make it across the monkey bars, but if she was determined to try then I would like to stand with her cheering her on (unfortunately she is a bit too big to hold onto now). I would encourage her to aim for three bars rather than trying to make it all the way. Because of her special needs, three bars would be a real achievement. I want to encourage my children and see them grow and develop, I want them to achieve all that they can and be the best that they can be.
God is our Father and I believe that he dislikes it when we constantly play it safe. Erwin McManus puts it this way:
No matter how we try and spin the story, the Bible is filled with tribes of irrational people. When Noah built the ark, he did not live in a flood zone. When Elijah called down fire from heaven, he had never tried it before. Go ahead. Give it a shot. See if it works for you. I don’t think so. David should have left the giant alone. Hosea should never have married a prostitute. What was Moses thinking when he pointed his staff at the red sea – that it would move because he commanded it? And that’s just to mention the more popular and highly admired followers of God. (The Barbarian way, p79)
God calls us to take risks and he is with us cheering us on. Will we have the courage to follow his leading?
What do you find terrifying or daunting? Can you face it with God’s help?
Who can we cheer on and support in life?
Next time you see some monkey bars I hope you remember that God is with you and that he wants to see you grow and to overcome your fears.
If God is for us who can be against us (Romans 8.31).
Picture Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kori Melvin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons