I’ve never been terribly fond of the circus. Sure, it was impressive to watch the elephants stand on one foot and see the tigers jump through the burning hoops, but there was just something about it I didn’t like. Perhaps it’s the whole three-ring idea. How could I be expected to see it all if there were three things going on at once? One exception, however, was watching the the trapeze artists. I loved them! They made flying through the air look effortless.
A few years ago, my friend Lindsay helped me think about trapeze artists in a completely different way. I was in the middle of a “what am I supposed to be doing with my life” season. I was very involved with a ministry at our church and I loved it. At the same time, however, I had some hopes and dreams I wanted to go after and was still under the impression I could “do it all.” As I talked with Lindsay about my quandary, she told me I was having a “trapeze moment.” I’m fairly certain that I can’t even make my way across the monkey bars anymore, so I wasn’t sure what a “trapeze moment” would look like.
Lindsay explained that sometimes we get so comfortable in a role that we just stay there—hanging onto our trapeze bar. The thing is, though, in order to move forward we have to let go of the bar we’re currently holding and grab the next one God is swinging towards us.
You see, when I am hanging onto a bar flying through the air, it’s easy to get comfortable. The bar feels good. My hands have formed to it. And, if I let go, I might fall. What if I reach out to the next trapeze bar and my hand slips? Will there be a safety net to catch me? I can’t really fall if I just keep holding onto the current bar, right? So I end up hanging onto the bar and adding the weight of other things I’d like or feel called to do. It’s like someone has grabbed hold of my legs and won’t let go. The thing is, though, that it’s hard to swing at all when there are weights attached to your feet. And then getting to the next bar is even more challenging.
You know what happens to people who don’t let go to fly to the next bar? They lose momentum. Even at the circus, I can remember seeing the acrobat who didn’t let go in time. Eventually, she just had to drop down to the net because she didn’t have enough momentum to move forward. Essentially, she was left dangling.
I don’t believe God has called me, or you for that matter, to dangle. He calls all of us to continually move forward, following his call on our lives. That isn’t to say that whatever you are doing right now isn’t exactly what God has planned for you. But sometimes we need to be willing to move when God tells us it’s time. And moving can be a scary thing.
When I let go of the ministry role I’d had for more than seven years, it was painful. I cried myself to sleep one night, even though I knew it was exactly what God was calling me to do. But God has faithfully thrown new bars my direction, allowing me to do ministry in other exciting ways. I’m so glad I trusted him enough to let go so I could fly through the air.
Is there a trapeze bar that you need to let go of? Can I encourage you to let go so you can fly forward and grab the next bar? God has great things ahead for you. As we like to say at our church, “The Best is Yet to Come.”
‘That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”’ 1 Corinthians 2:9