She was 50 feet off the ground, standing on a tiny platform no wider than both her feet, and I could hear her crying as she wrapped her arms tightly around the very pole she had just climbed. Not five minutes prior, she was ready, willing and in control. How quickly the situation changed!
Somehow, I had to get her to turn around, but she was frozen and unable to take her gaze from the pole she was gripping tightly for dear life. Looking down only made the urgency of her situation worse. It represented a constant reminder of how unsafe she thought she was and how insurmountable the task was.
I could have talked to her and tried convincig her that all was well, but frankly, it would not have been effective because her mind had already settled into how bad it was going be. In order to change her mind, I had to first help her change her perspective.
Changing her perspective was as simple as getting her to look up. If I could get her to look up, she would see the strength of the tops of the trees, the calming expanse of the lake and the support breeze all around her. What I needed her to do was see and experience the beauty of the situation in a way she could never from the ground.
It sounds strange, but it works every time. Once she looked up, the possibilities opened up and she realized things looked different. Yes, she was still 50 feet off the ground, and she still had the task in front of her, but she was no longer focused on what she thought could go wrong or what she perceived her limitations to be. By looking up, she could see how far she had already come and embrace the value of what was waiting for her at the end.
Does this sound familiar to you? It sure does to me!
We can be climbing along in life, making adjustments, ready for each and every turn, until we get blind sided….a divorce….a financial disaster….a rebellious child…..loss of a job….sudden death of a loved one….and the list is endless. What do we do?
I know in my own life, I immediately get frazzled and my brain tries to scramble in any direction which will yield a sense of control and calm. If I can’t scramble fast enough, then I tend to freeze and hold on to anything which represents safety and security. By doing this, all I can do is focus on the issue, and it hinders me from seeing any other perspective other than one of gloom and doom. Is the technical definition of being a “pessimist?” Perhaps so. I’m working on this one!
By looking up, we take our sight off of what is pulling us down and surrounding us from all sides. We give God permission to expand our horizon….our perspective and release our minds from what we feel to what is true and possible. Is this the technical definition for being an “optimist?” I think so!
I am glad to report the young lady did look up, she did change her perspective and when she was safely returned to the ground, her attitude and her mind were renewed, and the optimism she learned to operate within spurred her forward toward a sense of hopefulness and empowerment she had not been able to embrace before.
This was a day she would not soon forget, and neither would I!
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3