My friend and I finally got around to cashing in our Christmas gift to each other from last year. We thought we probably should do it before Christmas is here again!
We went indoor sky diving at iFLY. It was a new and exciting experience. It is great fun. I recommend it.
When I was there I was just thinking about controlling my body correctly and yes remembering to breath. But after I got home and reflected on the event I started thinking about a number of spiritual parallels.
Like most any paid experience, we were required to go through simple yet very important training. Our instructor gave us some quick education about the wind tunnel itself and the meaning of the hand signals he would be using so we understood his directions. (The wind is so loud you can’t hear anything.) This information proved to be very important to our safety and enjoyment.
I’m glad we paid attention during the training, because once in the tunnel, it was a lot harder with a 150 miles an hour wind rushing. Your heart is racing, your adrenalin is pumping, your brain and your body are not communicating, and you’re laughing hard because drool is flying out of your mouth! I lost visual with my instructor at one point and didn’t get what he was telling me to do, and I got flipped around by the wind and thrown to the wall, losing control for a bit. I was not hurt, just confused. My friend got a good laugh.
The key was to relax. Trust the wind and trust the instructor and the directions. I have found this to be true in all of the adventure experiences I have done: Snorkeling, Canopying (zip lining, but through trees instead of platforms), swimming with Dolphins, Indoor Rock Climbing, and Parasailing. I had a hard time relaxing during Parasailing because the strap sounded like it was going to break. It wasn’t. It was fine, but that fear kept me from relaxing and enjoying the ride. I regret that, because the scenery was incredible.
It’s amazing how we forget to breathe. Breathing is so important, not just to stay alive, but also to slow down your heart rate and reduce the anxiety you are feeling. I told my instructor after my first time in the tunnel that I was struggling to breathe. He said something very profound: “If you can’t breathe, it’s because you’re not breathing.” It made me laugh, but it was true. I had to control my breathing to combat the strong wind that was taking my breath away.
How Does This Compare?
We are asked to follow God and His ways, His laws and precepts many times through out The Word. Many times, not always but many, when a person finds themself in situation one can trace their steps backwards to a place where they quit following the Lord’s directions. I know it has been true in my life.
“You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18:4-5
“He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.” Proverbs 19:16
Life has so many distractions it is easy to not pay attention to what the Lord is teaching us and showing us. One must pay attention in order to follow and obey instructions. When my eyes are on things other than the Lord, my heart, or even my life, can be flipped upside down and tossed around just as I was in the wind tunnel. Except it’s not funny.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16
Relax means to trust. When I relax and trust the Lord I enjoy life so much more. When I am filled with anxiety everything is a struggle. I have learned, and continue daily to learn that God is worthy of my trust. He is sovereign, faithful, righteous, just, and He loves me.
“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1
Finally, breathe. Breathing is so important. When we are upset, fearful, frustrated, or angry we tend to take shallow breaths, denying our brain and body of much needed oxygen. This only acerbates things. Taking a deep breath helps us keep calm.
The popular phrase, “Just breathe.” conveys the idea of stepping back, taking a moment. It also means to gather one’s self-together to refocus. For me, it also means to receive and release. Receive (breath in) God’s grace, strength, and love. Then release control (breath out), and committing my life to His plan and purpose.
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.” Psalm 31:5
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” Romans 8:15
Does your life feel out of control? Maybe you are experiencing an “adventure” in your life that’s causing you fear or frustration. I want to encourage you to follow God’s direction and pay attention to His leading. Relax and trust His love for you, and… remember to breathe. After all, life with the Almighty God is the greatest adventure of all!