There was a conference this weekend at church and we talked about pictures that represent our relationship with God.
I didn't want to overthink it, and since I'm more wordy than image-y anyway, I figured I couldn't go wrong.
Irony was screaming at me when I chose a picture of people on a roller coaster. Weird because I can't imagine going on a roller coaster if regular life still brings me pain.
I grew up in Ohio, where amusement parks rule. My cousins and I would go to Kings Island when I was little. I went to my first concert at the park -- Amy Grant. I ate ice cream of the future when it was new and cool. They had fun rides like Top Fun, Forward and Backward Racers, and The Beastie, which never got old even when we did. I didn't like the out of control coasters, the ones that flipped you upside down.
I didn't take many risks with roller coasters. Regretfully, I wasn't a hands-up kind of girl.
There's an old story that floats around with my brother where he was trying to figure out whether to go on one of the bigger, scarier rides when he was little and right before they lowered the bar down on him, he asked the probably 13-year-old worker, "is this ride safe?" The guy answered "No!" and slammed the bar down.
I'm shocked by that story because if someone told me a ride wasn't safe, even if he was an adolescent who didn't really know, I might believe him. And I'm sorry to say, I might get off.
I know the Christian life calls me to more. It calls me to stay on the ride even when I don't know what is going to happen. I'm scared sometimes that the dreadfully honest answer from God, even if it comes with more compassion than a young teenage boy is no, the road ahead is not exactly safe.
But you are safe in Me. Even when everything else fails.
I know there is a difference.
God is not a teenage boy mocking us by strapping us in to 'safety' only to send us down a roller coaster intended to bring us harm.
This is a hard concept for me to wrap myself around. I know my life is not my own, I know I am not in control, but like my gut-reaction when I'm on a coaster, I do my best to hold on so tightly. I wonder how to trust in the midst of what feels like unsafe places.
The truth is God is still working even when we question and even when we scramble for our own safety, but He asks us to remember and live out the truth that we have been made alive in Christ. My life is hidden with Him. This is my true safety.
We don't have to find meaning everywhere but from this simple picture activity, I later realized God has been doing something with this idea of safety for a long time.
I've talked about it on here before, but a book I love, love is Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. I go back to it yearly and sometimes only read the sections on safety. Big surprise.
Safe, even when it hurts
Safe, even in failure
Safe, even when it all goes wrong
Safe, even when you don't feel safe
So, this started out as a 'letter to the stuck' but quickly turned into a story about safety. I think they are linked. When am I stuck? When I hurt -- when I think I am unsafe. When I fail -- when I think I am unsafe. When all goes wrong -- when I think I am unsafe. When I don't feel safe -- when I think I am unsafe.
The truth brings freedom from stuck places.
May you know that no matter if you feel alone or with a hundred other people waiting on the top of a ride.
linking with ruth for letters to and jen for sdg