Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Fell Off A Pole...

I fell off a pole recently. To be exact, I fell off the same pole three times.

The pole was a 40-foot telephone pole, and it was an "element" on a ropes challenge course that several of my SoHills' ministry team mates and I took part in recently. In the spirit of full disclosure I should indicate that during my entire time on the pole I was wearing a safety harness... which was in turn firmly attached to a belay rope. All that's to say I was in no real danger of plunging head-first to the ground. However, even when one is firmly attached to a safety rope ones' brain does not typically applaud/support/endorse climbing to the top of a tall pole in order to stand on top of it.

Which gets me back to my three falls. I had made it without incident to the top of the pole, and was making a slow turn to my right... when my brain overpowered the rest of my body and sent me reeling off the pole. At that moment my brain had seized the upper hand. Not only was it telling my body we shouldn't be doing this crazy thing... my brain was broadcasting on all channels: You can't do this!

Thus, as I attempted to reposition myself at the top of the pole I found it immensely harder to achieve my original stance, since my brain was doing a terrific job of telling my arms, legs and torso: This is impossible!

Which produced in short order two more falls from the pole... bringing my grand total to three.

I will say this about me... I am one stubborn guy. My conversation with myself on the pole was going something like this:

"Okay, you've done the pole before. It's just not happening today. Let's call it quits and climb down and try again some other time."

"No way! I'm not getting down off this pole until I have successfully completed the task."

"Well... tell that to your arms which are growing more fatigued by the minute. And if you haven't noticed, your right leg is starting to cramp."

"There is no way I'm getting down until I've done this!"

I could bore you with more of my mental chatter... but suffice it to say that I re-focused, climbed to the top of the pole and leaped off (which is how one concludes this element).

Lessons learned (some for the 189,786th time):

1) If you don't think you can't do something, you most likely won't be able to do it.

2) Perseverance is hard, and maybe crazy at times... but falling is a part of life, so getting back on must be a part of life as well.

3) God has put some interesting "wiring" in me (as He has you). I'm not always certain His wiring of me is the issue... or my stubborn, at times un-submitted, will.

4) It's easy to quit. It's harder to stay with something. Godly wisdom is knowing when it's time to bag it... and when you need to suck it up and stick with it.

5) I am one stubborn guy (but I already told you that).