Before I start this story, I should probably let you know that I’m afraid of heights. I’m not just mildly afraid either. My fear is of the “I get squeamish on the second story of the mall” level. It’s serious. I hate it. And yet, my story today is about bungee jumping.
When I was 20, I went on a youth winter retreat as a counselor. During the retreat we led the kids in a variety of activities including spelunking, paintball, and yes….bungee jumping.
In small groups, we went to the bungee jumping area. I watched the first few people go, and everything inside me was screaming “RUN AWAY!” Adrenaline began to course through my veins as I attempted with all of my willpower to stifle a visible panic attack. After a few minutes, it was my turn. The crew called me over and began hooking me up in my harness. At that point it was, “Hello fear. My name is Bekki and I’ll be your hostess for the next 10 minutes.”
Slowly they hoisted me up into the trees, until I was finally at the ledge/jumping off point….alone. It was just a party of three – me, the trees, and my fear.
That’s how it is with anything we might be facing. It’s you, your situation, and your reaction to it. Once I was in that harness and up amongst the treetops, there wasn’t much I could do about my situation. I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t get out of it. The choice had been made.
Maybe you are up in “the treetops” in your life right now. I’m here to tell you – you have two choices. You can stay where you are and dwell in the fear, or you can JUMP. Of course you’re totally welcome to hang out in the trees, completely uncomfortable, panicked, and afraid. It’s totally your choice.
You might be thinking to yourself, “But Bekki – can’t I have another option? Are my only two choices staying in my less than ideal situation or jumping?” Yep. Life involves fear, change, and risk. Sometimes the only way “down” is to jump.
I spent a long time on the little platform at the top of the trees. I regretted the decisions that led me to that place amongst the trees. Fear was coursing through my veins. It was a long way down. Was I going to make it?
It’s funny how we always run the worst case scenario when we’re about to take a risk. We start to question everything that led us to that decision. We frantically try to devise alternate solutions. We wonder what on earth we were thinking. We doubt, we panic, and we let our emotions run wild.
Minutes before I found myself at the top of the forest, I’d watched someone else go up and come right back down. She leapt without fear, and arrived back on the ground safely. But you know what? So often, we allow ourselves to give in to our fear and make ourselves believe that things work out for other people – but surely, not for us. Yes, I saw other people bungee safely. But in my own head, I was leaping to certain death. (Doubt and fear are real winners, no?)
After several minutes of staring at the forest floor, I knew what I had to do. I had to jump. I had to overcome my fear and take the leap. I was certain I was going to be jumping to my death. But, I had to get down. One way out.
3, 2, 1, Falling!
I jumped…..and I survived.
No matter what you are facing – you CAN “jump.” You can make it through. You will survive the risk – survive the fear – survive the fall. You WILL survive and you’ll find yourself once again on solid ground.
I don’t know what situation you are in or what risk you might find yourself in fear of. What I do know is this: if you are willing to leap through the pain, the fear, and the uncertainty towards the best solution, you’ll land safely. You can do this.
Take the leap. Jump towards the best solution. Find your way down. You’ve got this.