Heights scare me. A lot. I don’t think I’m supposed to admit that. Maybe it’s not so much the heights themselves, but the knowledge of what can happen if I fall. That sudden stop at the bottom has historically caused a bad day for individuals unfortunate enough to be in such a situation. I am pretty sure I am no exception to that rule.
Flashback to 13-year-old me participating on my first challenge course. I was fairly confident I was going to die. If the heights didn’t kill me, the constant flow of adrenaline would cause my heart to explode out of my chest. The course, built in huge pine trees in the Sierra-Nevada mountains, swayed in the wind and with each participant that jumped off the platform of “the screamer” a shock wave was sent through all the cables and trees. So, this is how it ends I thought each time.
On our high ropes course, I often hear from our guests that they are afraid, they don’t like heights, or that they are scared out of their minds. Imagine the look on their faces when I tell them I don’t like heights either. The look is often followed up by the question of “what in the world are you doing working here?!?” or “and you do this for a living?!?”
My answer always involves that the Lord calls us to do things that are out of our comfort zones.
With groups in our adventure challenge programs we often discuss 3 rings of comfort. In the inner most circle are things that we are incredibly comfortable with. The middle, and slightly larger circle surrounding our comfort zone contains things we are somewhat comfortable with but at the same time they stretch us a little bit. On the outside of those 2 rings is what we call our panic zone; the things that paralyze us. The things that given the option, we would never choose to do. For me, heights used to be in that panic zone; 25 years after my “near death” experience on that high ropes course, I am moving toward that comfort zone area, but I am still not there. Despite working at heights nearly every day, heights are still a stretch for me. Honestly, I hope I never get comfortable with heights.
Heights have helped me understand just a little bit more what Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 12. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In my life, nothing of any eternal significance has been accomplished by staying within my comfort zone. I believe the Lord intentionally calls us outside our comfort zones to accomplish things for His Kingdom, so that He receives the Glory. It’s His sufficient Grace on display; It’s His power made perfect in my weakness.
Conversely, nothing of eternal significance is accomplished in the lives of your guests by them staying camped out in their comfort zones. Adventure challenge is a great way to help move your guests into their stretch zone, where they may realize that on their own, they are not sufficiently able, but He is. Adventure challenge doesn’t just involve heights that can move guests out of their comfort zone; working with others, relying on those around you, physical balance, being outdoors with bugs, trusting gear and facilitators, trusting oneself and letting others into your life. Just a few areas of life where adventure challenge can help your guests experience a move of God in their lives.
Most CRN properties have adventure challenge and team building opportunities available for your retreat. Work with the team at your chosen CRN property to facilitate experiential learning into your next retreat and see how the Lord stretches your guests (and yourself).