Through the Funambulism of Life

Having been born into the circus life, Maya, a 19-year-old, liked to think of herself as an established funambulist, more commonly known as tightrope walking. Coming from a family of acrobats, she was mesmerized thinking of the “view from above” walking on high ground. Being the only child to her aging parents, they were quite hesitant to stoke her fascination. Yet, despite their evident disapproval, Maya snuck out of her little tent on the night of her 10th birthday, declaring to herself that she was in fact quite grown up to do what her heart desired the most. Her heart was thumping as her small limbs held onto the ladder. Up and up she climbed towards the moon peeping in from the tent. Looking down, her stomach lurched; she could see the whole circus theater. She would do this, she had waited her whole life for this moment!! The rope was before her and all it took was a small step of courage. She had seen her mom do this, even her older cousin, so naturally, she should be able to do it. And so saying she took her first step on the rope.

Fear washed over her, there was no turning back now. It was either moving forward or going down. She wished for her mother and prayed for her father to somehow come to save her. But her mouth made no sound, too scared to lose balance and fall. A crow flew in as if to watch the tragic show. Its sudden appearance startled Maya who slipped and fell into the darkness below. Regret and shame washed over her as she slipped. She closed her eyes in hopes to bear the inevitable fall.

Looking back, Maya knew that was a moment life changed for her. A close brush with death, the fear of falling, of never being able to get back up, all because she was completely unaware of the safety net tied below her. It was the net that saved her life, that gave her strength to climb that rope yet again, a net that gave her the strength to face the fall.

Many of us weather the storm’s life, completely unaware of the safety net of God. Psalm 91:4 talks about a God who promises to cover you with his feather. A God who promises refuge to those who seek Him. What a great hope we have, knowing that we are never alone but that we have a God who seeks to protect us. His faithful promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4).

Fear and anxiety are not just experiences of the “young generation”. Many face their battles with fear; and with it often comes self-doubt, questioning your life’s purpose, questioning all the choices and decisions you’ve made, and feelings of worthlessness… Fear /Anxiety is a whole package deal, nobody gets to pick and choose their struggles.

A recent conversation with a well-established doctor reaffirmed the same. Despite having accomplished over two decades of service in the pediatric ICU and a postdoctoral, he desired to learn more. However, leaving his family and a highly-paid job to pursue another Postdoctoral fellowship was a mammoth task. As he took this step, he too was faced with the colossal waves of self-doubt, fear of failing, of having bitten off more than he could chew. And yet, as our conversation continued, he recounts how his faith was renewed having taken this daring step. After all those years of service, he finally realized what it meant to be a part of ‘God’s plans’. In his words “It was like a burden was lifted off my shoulder”.

Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, wasn’t immune to anxiety. Yet in his despair, he reminds himself “Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Salvation and my God.

How wonderful it is to have a Father who knows you and walks with you. A Father tells you not to fear, or be discouraged because he is right there with you as you walk on the tight ropes of life. A God who promises to strengthen you, help you, and protect you wherever you go.

From the greatest King to a doctor who left his job, to parents caring for their child, to a child praying for their parents . . . everyone goes through some form of fear and anxiety over an uncertain future. It is the burden that life brings to each one of us. And yet God reminds us that he is there to take on the heavy yoke and make our burden light. That is the hope we live in. Even as the heavy burden of our worries, failed plans, missed opportunities, and regrets of life are lifted. Let us pick up the weight of submission to his plan for our lives, to minister and to serve people wherever he has placed us. The story of the Christian life is about faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13). Faith in a God who will hold you through the highs and lows of life; Hope in his promise and the fulfillment of His purpose for your life; and Love that flows from Him into us, and onto those around us; a love that gives us the strength to face the bumps and falls of life.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8)

Stuthi Lilian Joseph is currently working as a developmental Pediatrics psychologist at CMC Vellore. Her passion is to involve with the students helping them grow in faith and life.

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