I plop into the seat and lower the padded harness over my shoulders. Click. Can this thing hold me? I grab the safety restraint and yank it up and down. Never hurts to check for defects. The operator pulls the lever. No turning back now.
Three … Two ... One … and with a mighty force my head smacks hard against the back of the seat. Looping and twisting along the track, a powerful plunge grabs at my stomach. But the worst is yet to come.
Just as we approach the first steep hill, we screech to an abrupt stop. Inch-by-agonizing-inch we crawl toward the top, bracing ourselves for the inevitable drop. I use this precious time to secure my grip and plant my feet against anything solid.
My husband laughs like a lunatic.
“Put your hands in the air!” he shouts over the clanking coaster.
Has he gone mad? We’re about to nose-dive over a cliff!
He stretches out his hands, hollers, and kicks both legs in opposite directions. Meanwhile, I scratch and claw to hang on.
And just as quickly as it began, it ends.
I stumble down the walkway and scold my husband. “I can’t believe you talked me into that!”
He swings his arm around my shaky shoulder. “You know, there’s two ways to ride a roller coaster. You can hold on tight -- and worry the whole time -- or you can lift up your hands and enjoy the ride.” He gives me a playful squeeze. “And my way is more fun.”
He does have a point.
When I’m riding a roller coaster, somehow I convince myself it’s my power and strength that keeps me in my seat. As long as I have a good strong grip, I think I’m in control.
Unfortunately, there are times when I’ve applied that same technique in other areas of my life. Like when it comes to worrying.
I know I’m supposed to give my concerns to God, but how easily my worries work their way into my thoughts! Often the situation is out of my control, but I tighten my grip and hold on to the problem anyway. And keeping a firm grip on my problems can be exhausting!
So how do I stop traveling down the same path and let go of my worries? The apostle Paul tells me:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)
Instead of clinging to the problem, I can hold onto God and rest in His strength. When I feel overwhelmed with worry, I need to stop fretting and start talking to God. Taking time to thank Him for all He has done in the past will remind me that I am still in His capable hands for my future.
Let’s be real. Life can be tough and it isn’t always a smooth ride. But I don’t want to hold on so tightly that I can’t enjoy the journey. I want to throw my hands in the air, trust in God, and enjoy the twists and turns of an exciting ride.