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I went indoor rock climbing with a few friends over the weekend, and while there I heard a kid say something to her friend as they climbed: “Sometimes you have to go lower to go higher.” And then I thought about how that’s not just true for rock climbing, that’s true for life. Then I thought about other things about climbing that apply to life.

Sometimes while you’re going up you find that the holds around you are too difficult to grasp or too small for your foot, if you can manage to get them at all, so you might need to go sideways or even back-track a little to find a better place to ascend. But just because you can’t grip or step on these holds right now doesn’t mean you never will, you just need practice and experience. You’ll build strength and agility the more you do it.

When rock climbing, you should look at your goal and the path to get there so you can have at least a loose plan before you even start climbing. Then you need to pay attention to where you’re at so you know what you’re holding, you need to pay attention to where you’re going so you have a reason to bother climbing in the first place, and you need to pay attention to where you’ve been in case you need to go back and hold on to something that you already know is there. Sometimes the path you chose from the ground doesn’t work out like you thought it would so you need to adjust on the way.

Rock climbing is a lot more dangerous without a harness and rope, and you should have one. While climbing I thought about how much less fun it would be if I didn’t have the safety of the harness and rope. I would be a lot more tense and stressed, and I wouldn’t try climbing as high if I dared climb at all. Falling would also be much more painful, and letting go completely would be absolutely out of the question, even if I felt like I couldn’t hang on anymore. But with a harness and rope I have safety and support, so if I can’t hold on I won’t get hurt on the ground. It makes things so much more enjoyable!

That last one made me think of how Jesus is the safety in my life. If I didn’t have Him, I wouldn’t be nearly as secure, life would be so much harder, I wouldn’t enjoy it, and I would constantly be afraid. But with Jesus when I can’t hold on anymore because I’m worn out, I can just let go and I will still be completely safe. Much like the harness and rope though, it takes some getting used to when learning to trust. I had to let go and “fall” on purpose to test out how it felt, and I didn’t do it from very high at first. But as I got used to how things worked, I trusted higher up the wall.