This last weekend I got to go on a spiritual formation retreat. It was in up in the mountains and away from Denver. It made me realize that I have lived right by the Rockies for about three years now and spent very little time enjoying them. I always think I want to go up in the mountains and hike, hangout, and camp but never really do. In fact I actually spent more time hiking in Las Vegas (Mt. Charleston) than I have in Colorado.

Well on this retreat we had the opportunity to go repelling. Being that I am terrified of falling and not the biggest fan of heights this was not my favorite idea. In fact the only thing I would probably like to do even less is watch American Idol. We get to the spot where we are repelling and all you can see is the valley below which is about 900 feet down, yeah 900 feet. We were actually repelling to a ledge about 150 feet down but still that is about a 15 story building. I asked if there was a kiddie repelling spot, you know like thirty feet or something, there was not.

After much egging on by my group and not wanting to be a wuss I finally decided to give it a shot. I also knew that personally it would be a walk of shame to walk back down the mountain without even trying. I would have regretted it and thought later on about how I could have at least seen what it was like. So I put on the harness and the helmet and the gloves and walked over the the ledge to get strapped in. This is as far as I had challenged myself and knew that even if I backed out now I could count it a success. At least I put on the gear and went over to the ledge. But I knew I had to take one more step.

This next step was looking down at the 900 foot drop and then leaning back and trusting the rope. I at least wanted to feel what that was like and have the sensation of the rope holding my body weight from free falling 900 feet. From there there was just one thing I could do; take one step and let out one length of rope, and then another and then another…

Soon I found myself about 20 feet from the top and dangling against the face of this cliff. There was no going back.

The whole process was truly challenge by choice. I chose to challenge myself and just take the next step. In life right now Crystal and I find ourselves in a similar situation. We are unsure of what it will be like to go over the ledge and take the next step, but we know that we must. Just the next step that is all we are responsible for, but sooner or later there is no going back…


(aka: John Eldredge)


7 Responses

  1. Hey John Eldredge, when is Ryan coming back?

    Seriously though, was that Ken Gire?

    Max Lucado?

    Any mega-church pastor?

    I’m an asshole. I know. I just couldn’t resist. I would expect no less from you.

  2. maybe god is calling you to truly step out and watch american idol. think about it. his name was praised a few weeks ago with shout to the lord. ryan, it could be a sign from the lord jesus that you need to ditch class and watch it tonight.
    this comment is obviously from sara.

  3. A. Matt has a massive man-crush on John Eldridge. Therefore, his comments are only a manifestation of his infatuation with John Eldridge. It got so bad in college that Eldridge had to get a restraining order against Matt. Plus Matt knows I used this repelling metaphor, because it was a allowed for me to write about my life without going into to many specifics.

    B. Sara, I do not think God is calling me to watch American Idol. Mostly because he does not call us to do things that our harmful to ourselves.

  4. I completely understand what you’re feeling right now.

    But isn’t it fun?

  5. american idol helps starving children and africa, as well as those in our own backyards. does god hate starving children in africa? does god not want you to educate yourself about those starving children in africa? he does in fact want you to know about them, which 30 million people did, as they watched idol gives back. so what if you have to watch a few cheese-tastic group numbers?

    i obviously do not feel like actually working today as i am now trying to find spiritual implications in watching american idol. what about the fact that jack bauer is portrayed as a christ figure, and his show is on the same network as american idol. that might be a better angle.

  6. It really is a great place to be Jake. the mixture of excitement and anxiety is quite a cocktail for how it often is to truly walk in the Spirit…

  7. 1. Sara, you are a genius, perhaps an evil genius.

    2. I too have a crush on John Eldredge.

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