Being vulnerable does not mean being passive. It means keeping the posture of our heart open, pliable, and resilient to the path of faith. I often want the Lord to grab my hand, point his finger and say, “this way, now, go!” While there have been times in my life he has loved me this way by making the decision for me (well, almost because the direction was that obvious), but often he simply asks me to choose. The more I mature in this journey of faith I see that he tends to relate with me over things, call me forth, and invite me to come with him into new places.
Sometimes I create so much angst and confusion over decisions I forget God has given me the dignity of choice. He lets me choose. He enjoys me moving out and trusting him. It’s when I try to control and keep things safe that he seems to correct me.
One day I was pondering yet another decision I needed to make and needed Patti’s sage advice once more. She had just returned from a fun filled day with her granddaughter to Disneyland. “Susie it’s like me and Ashton today at Disneyland. We had so much fun together. My part was to take her to Disneyland. I knew we’d have a great time and all the fun things we could do there together. But it was up to her once we were there to decide where the day takes us. She got to choose what Disneyland would be for her. Of course I told her about It’s a Small World, the princesses, the fairy tale rides, but she decided where we went together. Disneyland was my gift to her; she got to decide what we did once we were there. That is free will. And I loved sharing every minute of it with her!”
When I was in 5th grade my best friend Kay May took me to Disneyland. I had never been with anyone other than my family so I was used to our way of doing Disneyland. We had our routine and our rides that we prioritized getting on. About the most dangerous was Pirates of the Caribbean. I loved that ride! “Yo, ho, yo, ho, the pirates life for me...” My favorite part was when the “freaky skull guy” starts talking about the danger we’re entering and it gets dark and eerily quiet and then......whew-hew! SPLASH! Down the hill we go, not just one, but two! So fun! Then things slow down and we’re invited into the pirate’s life. Now I love this ride, I could ride it over and over again. But what I didn’t know was that there was a ride called Space Mountain.
Apparently adventure didn’t end with Pirate’s, Kay May and her family began a direct b-line to a place I’d never been, Space Mountain. The line wrapped around which gave me plenty of time to reconsider what the heck I was doing. I didn’t know this one, and once we got inside, it was dark, a strange space odyssey. I couldn’t help but notice all the exits throughout. Ummm...maybe I could make a mad dash?! Kay May and her family could go and I could wait at the end. Ya, that would be ok. But I noticed those in line had such a sense of anticipation and excitement for the ride. What did they know? I waited in that line.
And we got closer.
“Front or back?”
I pulled the bar down, checked and double-checked it held me securely. It was dark ahead. Unknown. Where were we going? I didn’t know the twists and turns on this ride, I didn’t know the story unfolding like I knew Pirates and this left me fearful, but kind of excited. It was new, different. I was safely strapped in, my friends were sharing in it with me, and the worst that could happen is I could decide I don’t like it and never do it again.
The Disney controller gave us a wave and we were off!
Shining lights, steep hills. And wooosh...adventure!
I was giddy: laughing, screaming, hands up, hand down, my hair flying behind me.
That day I discovered my new favorite ride. Space Mountain.
I think God is ok with us choosing the It’s a Small World’s, Peter Pan’s, and Parade’s, that would make for a really nice day at the park. But there are times when we feel the nudge, that it’s time for the bigger rides, the less certain ones, the ones that require a letting go of the familiar, the Space Mountains of the faith. And once we’ve gone on that ride, we realize new parks awaiting us, the Magic Mountains and Knott’s Berry Farms, places of new and foreign terrain. Our heart skips a beat once again, the unfamiliar before us, yet we know the One who is with us the whole way through. The One who knows where we’re going together, gives us choices as we travel, but promises to stay near and guide as we wage the path ahead.