I’ve never been interested in bungee jumping. I don’t like heights or the idea of dangling upside down… call me crazy.
I’d rather sit on the couch and read a Jane Austen novel.
Yet less than two weeks ago I found myself on the top of this bridge, ready to jump.
Let me explain.
Lately I’ve been in a fragile state. God has been bringing me into some new territory with him, some new depths, and it’s left me feeling quite vulnerable. When taking me into deeper places of intimacy God usually requires a broken heart, or so I’ve learned.
I’m not talking about boys. My heart has been broken over so many other things.
The last few weeks I was traveling all around the world for work. On March 5th I woke up in a hostel in Zambia and wrote the following in my diary:
God, what are you going to do with my broken heart? It’s breaking breaking breaking. I suppose these newfound cracks will make room for more of your love. But right now I don’t feel that. Five years ago my heart was breaking over giving up that one boy, and now it’s breaking again over what you’re calling me into. More trust in you.
In that moment, I didn’t trust myself to hear God’s voice (because my feelings were so involved), but I was so desperate that I went for it anyway and wrote down what I thought he was saying.
What followed was possibly the longest and most intimate prose The Lord has ever said to me (or at least that I’ve written down.) My face was drenched with tears and there was so much snot I had to go to the bathroom for toilet paper.
He said so many things, one of them being about how I am in the middle right now, and the middle is always messy. But it’s not the end. There is light at the end of the tunnel, whether I see it or not. “I will not leave you in the middle of the storm,” he said to me. “I will take you through it, hand in hand.”
Ever since God asked me to give up that boy 5 years ago, I’ve followed Him to the left or to the right. Many times with a broken heart and a ton of fear, because I’d rather go the other way. But I will always follow, because we are one and I don’t want to be torn in half.
I’m a big believer in demonstrating in the physical what’s going on in the spiritual, so a week before this tearful morning in Zambia I started thinking about bungee jumping, because I knew it was going to be an option while I was there.
Bungee jumping: the ultimate leap of faith.
The thought terrified me. But if I was living out of a place of risk, faith and trust in spiritual, I should be able to do it in the physical too.
On that day, March 5, I was still kind of back and forth about it until I found out the bungee jump took place on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe… aka the middle of two places.
Sign me up.
I told God I was doing this to prove my trust in him.
He said that’s cute… but actually that’s not what this bungee jump is about. You’re not going to prove yourself to me, I’m going to prove myself to you.
That brought me a lot of peace.
I believe in order to do difficult things in life you need to go somewhere else in your mind. You can’t focus on your fear or the obstacle in front of you or else you’ll freak out or freeze (at least if you’re anything like me.)
I was doing a pretty good job of staying somewhere else in my mind, but after being on top of that bridge for a few minutes I started to feel my heart pound.
With my feet tied together and a heart full of
fear hope, I hopped to the edge of the bridge. My toes dangled 365 feet in the air. The view was stunning. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
They counted down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Tapping into that somewhere else spot in my mind, I bent my knees and flung myself off the bridge toward the rushing water below me.
(Yes, those are bath towels wrapped around my feet…)
As soon as I jumped I remember feeling surprised because my view was super shaky, like I was on one of those Universal Studio rides that makes you feel like you’re in a spaceship flying around the world (or whatever) but actually you’re just strapped to a seat and the screen in front of you is doing all the work.
Except this time there was no screen.
The second feeling I experienced was a complete lack of control. I was falling, bouncing back up and falling again. It was terrifying but mostly freeing. I couldn’t do anything but enjoy the ride… and the view (it wasn’t as shaky anymore.) It was even more beautiful than from the top of the bridge. I was in the view now.
I hung upside down for a minute or two, taking deep breaths and staring at the beauty around me.
There was a rainbow.
I had already seen a few rainbows that day, but I knew this one was mine. It was a declaration of God’s promise to me: I will not leave you in the middle of the storm. I will take you through it, hand in hand.
He was proving himself to me indeed.
A man came down and helped me back up to the bridge. I came up on the Zimbabwe side and had to walk back over to the Zambia side. While I was walking from the end of one country to the beginning of another, I thought I might burst into tears. This time not from fear and heartbreak, but from pride and accomplishment.
I was so proud of myself.
I can only imagine how proud God is of me.
For the next few days all I could think about was my bungee jump. I would watch the video of me jumping and feel that same rush of fear, excitement and adrenaline like I was doing it all over again.
Now, less than two weeks removed from my leap of faith, I am starting to see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. My broken heart hurts less.
He will always catch me when I fall.
P.S. Not sure why he didn’t catch this girl when she jumped off the same bridge… but at least she was saved from the crocodiles!