Life and other catastrophes · Parenthood · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

The ultimate safety net

Last year our family invested in a trampoline, and it’s provided a wonderful way to bond with the kids. It’s a form of exercise for us all, and when I’m tired or struggling, some ‘trampoline time’ always makes things better.

Today I was having a jump in the sunshine, and kind of flipped over near the edge. The beauty of most trampolines you buy these days is that they’re each sold with a safety net circling the perimeter, as was ours. There was no way I was going to fall off. But my reflexes kind of kicked into gear when I headed in that direction, and I stopped myself. It reminded me of my childhood, when I really did have to protect myself from jumping off the bouncy mat.

No such thing as a risky jump these days!
* taken from http://www.clotheslines.net.au

This made me think about the difference between perceived risk and actual risk. On the trampoline, I had a real-life safety net ensuring that no matter how hard and fast I jumped in the direction of the perimeter, I would not fall off. But in that moment, I still experienced an irrational fear that I would.

I wonder how many times we avoid doing things because of perceived danger? Because if there really was a safety net ensuring we’d be OK, wouldn’t that change the way we approached things?

We certainly can’t control everything that happens to us from one day to the next. But what if risking it all is really not that big a risk? What if, when we say we’re throwing caution to the wind, that ‘wind’ is a God that deeply loves us?

Because if we’re truly wrapped up in the love of Christ, in a living, eternal relationship with him… is there anything that’s truly too risky?

Now I’m not talking about being unwise, or not thinking things through. But I think it’s worth pondering whether it’s simply fear holding us back from making those big – and little – decisions in life… and whether our reasons for not taking the chances God might be asking us to are simply reflex responses to past pain or hurt or heartbreak. Perhaps you’ve fallen off a particular horse just one too many times, and the thought of getting back on is just too much…

I know that when people have let me down in a big way it’s been that much harder to trust the ‘safety’ of others. Disappointment, or trauma from abuse, can cause us to be deeply self-protective.

One thing I do know from experience is that Jesus’ relationship style is perfectly healthy. He won’t let me down, and my relationship with him is eternal. I firmly trust that he’ll lead me on the path he wants me to take throughout my life, though it certainly won’t always make sense in the here-and-now.

And ultimately, at the end of it all, he’ll bring me home to him.

On this earth, HE is my safety net. My rock. My firm foundation. My refuge in the storm, and my ultimate life guide. I have continual, around-the-clock access to his love, grace, and leading, and no matter how many times I try and do things my way, HE remains. Yes, I’ll probably continue to freak out on the occasions he asks me to do something big, or trust someone that might just let me down…

But if he’s always with me, through it all – and has a plan better than any I can imagine… then really, what have I got to lose?

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28 thoughts on “The ultimate safety net

  1. I have recently learnt over this summer that sometimes it’s alright to be vulnerable and open up. I haven’t realised that I had been jumping on the trampoline like a very cautious child afraid if I might flip myself too high or out of the safety net. And yet, one cannot soar and experience the fulness of life (or the exhilaration of a free fall on the trampoline) if one is always clutching the sides. Thank you for sharing. I always know you have something solid to share every time. Sharon

  2. So well said Sharon! May we all experience the fullness of our lives, as intended, uninhibited by fear. And God bless you in your journey of opening up and taking chances.
    Thanks so much for your encouragement.

    1. I’m glad Sheila – and may God remind you at this time that he’s always surrounding you… And yes, let’s all have fun in the process of taking those leaps! 🙂

  3. I love this analogy! I remember when a friend of mine actually fell through the safety net (but it was rather old); with God, we never have to worry about that! What a comfort that is.

  4. I am so encouraged by this Ali! Thank you for your faithfulness to listen to Him and share what He brings to you. For me, there is something He especially wants me to look at, and it’s the lies, the things that I might believe but shouldn’t, that keep me from jumping high and trusting Him as my net. I read this and think of how He came to give us life, and that abundantly. What I regard as ‘risks’ are most likely those leaps of faith He is waiting for me to take with Him. God bless you as you trust Him more and more, even when you are near the edge!

    1. Thanks so much Debbie (and apologies for my slow reply).
      Yes, I can understand how such lies can keep us ‘grounded’ in hesitance (and in a way we battle them daily). May you keep seeking to ‘bounce’ into that life abundant and believe wholeheartedly in the truth that truly sets you (and I) free to do that. God bless!

  5. that whole sense of not clinging but rather resting in His care goes contrary to our human nature–but we can trust Him to hold us safely, no matter what kind of storm is raging all around us

    1. So well said! It does go against our nature doesn’t it, but we know we can, and he shows us again and again that with him, it’s going to be OK 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  6. I like the analogy. God really is our safety net. Unlike the trampoline, we can’t see Him, but we just have to trust He will protect us. This comes at a time I need the reminder.

  7. Even when I know He is holding my hand, I find it very difficult to take risks. Learning to trust Him more day by day. Love knowing His love never fails! Our God is big enough to keep us in our risks. Beautiful post.
    Joy

    1. Well expressed! Our God is certainly big enough – and doesn’t leave us stranded. He is totally involved in the process of us trusting him with the big and the small things.
      Thanks for your wonderful encouragement 🙂

  8. I’m convinced that the average Western Christian is no different to the average Western man in the street. When it comes to taking risks most won’t give it a try, and all too often the church is not so much a safety net as a Monty Python big foot squashing any intended “Steps of Faith”. The only people group I see working without the net are YWAMers the world over taking god at his word, setting aside self, and seeking to serve. Then there’s the faith of some that I have met in former communist block countries, they really work without a safety net. Some of my friends have been shot at because they dared to share their faith, 2 weeks alter they were on the streets sharing the gospel again. Perhaps it’s time to untie the safety net, and be prepared to fall?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What you say reminds me of a book I read called The Heavenly Man, which spoke about the ongoing persecution of a new Chinese Christian who, rather than turn from his faith, was driven into a deeper and deeper joy through the incredible hardship he experienced in the name of Christ. After reading it I too was challenged by the western ‘brand’ of Christianity, but I also see that risks take many forms, and some are culturally dictated. In the west persecution is more subtle, though certainly many of us live a comfort that is unheard of by those in those countries. It’s definitely a challenge to us to imagine what life outside of this material world would look like. What joys we could experience in really standing up for Christ, and the places he might take us in our relationship with him if we stepped out in these risky, alternate ways. I think we all have a calling and we have been placed where we are for a reason, for “such a time as this”. Important to ponder all these things and ask God which mission field he might be leading us to personally.

      1. The big question we should each ask ourselves is how have I trusted God today. How have I been a witness for Jesus today. I’m sorry I haven’t done too well…

      2. We all need to come back to him continually, and receive his love, grace and direction. And he’ll always offer it wholeheartedly, as the wonderful Father that he is. God bless…

  9. Great post….yeah I had an irrational fear moment. It was embarrassing. I was too scared to ride down the escalator. I’ve ridden many in my life but it had been awhile. Part of it was because I was worried about Michael falling..the other was because I don’t like heights and it was very steep. We ended up going down the elevator instead. Also the last time I was in a movie theater we sat by the door and I jumped every time someone came in/out. This was right after the theater shooting in Colorado. I really think I try to hold on to my life too much. I’ve been asking God to help me to surrender. I fear too much….God bless and I hope your Dad is doing ok. luv, Amber D.

    1. Hey Amber
      Thanks for sharing – yes, I understand. Fear, by nature, is irrational isn’t, but we all experience it sometimes, especially when feeling vulnerable after events like in Colorado and so on. Praying that you’ll know a love that enters into those fears (and mine) and whispers “I have it all in my hands… everything is going to be ok…”
      Thanks again, and God bless. My dad is doing great now, thanks for asking after him 🙂 xx

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