So in the interest of marital harmony, I took my new wife to check out all the attractions that did not include the words thrilling or death-defying in their brochure description. With Safety First as our (her) motto, we chose to venture into one of those optical illusion houses that was built in the side of a fake mountain.
To demonstrate the illusion that the floor was level when, in actuality, it was constructed on an angle, our tour guide asked for a volunteer. He looked past all the children who were eagerly waving their hands and chose Jan, who would never volunteer to do anything that would place her even near a spotlight.
She tried to beg off but the guide assured her that her assignment would be painless. He said, “All I want you to do is walk across the room and sit on this chair next to me.”
That sounded easy enough. But as Jan took her first step she realized the severity of the angle on which the floor was built. To a chorus of snickers, she trudged across the room looking like she was climbing up the down escalator wearing Herman Munster’s shoes.
When she finally made it safely to the chair, the guide, who seemed to relish in my wife’s disdain over being his visual aid, asked her name. “Jan,” she said, although clearly wishing to remain anonymous. Then he asked, “Where ya from?” She answered, “Indiana.”
“So what brings you to California?” he asked. Jan replied, “We’re on our honeymoon.” The guide’s comeback was instantaneous: “No wonder you’re walking like that!”
This incident may have happened in an amusement park, but my wife was far from amused. I, on the other hand, was nodding as I looked around the room, saying in my head, “That’s right.”
When I think back on that scene and picture my bride dragging along, struggling to take the next step, it makes me think of how many of us go through life with a similar gait. We plod along, fighting the forces that would hold us down, praying that we can muster the strength to keep moving onward and upward.
People today are weary. Week after week, day after day, we drag ourselves from one activity to the next, lugging burdens we don’t even realize we’re carrying, striving to reach goals we can’t even identify. Even those who claim to walk in the transforming power of Christ seem to be schlepping along, weighed down all too easily by the worries of the world. And our Creator grieves.
This is not His plan for our lives. His desire is that we strip off every weight that slows us down (Heb. 12:1)—our fears, our doubts, our past, our pride, our self-reliance, our insecurities—so that we can not only walk and not be weary, but that we will actually soar like eagles (Isa. 40:31).
As believers in an omnipotent and trustworthy God, we are not to settle for being ordinary, we are extraordinary; we haven’t just been given life, but abundant life; we are not meant to simply survive, but to thrive; our glass is not merely half-full, but full to overflowing. Ours is a God who, despite what the enemy may use to weigh us down, not only has the ability to do anything we ask, He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or imagine.
For us to live life to the fullest we must identify, then strip off the things that weigh us down. We must give our burdens to the Burden-bearer. Why keep plodding through life when we were created to soar?
(This is an excerpt from my next book, Free to Soar.)