Part 1 of Series “Free Soloing”
By: Anna (Forlines) Kozyutynskyi
A year ago, the Lord opened up an opportunity for me to live in Hidalgo, Mexico partnering with a coffee shop ministry. El Buho Cafe was built right next to a world famous rock climbing destination; the infamous El Potrero Chico. We got to meet rock climbers from all over the world, share our testimony, share the love of Jesus, all while financially supporting a local school in a nearby village.
Rock climbing is inherently dangerous. Climbing smart is a must. A partner, the proper safety gear, and following the universal sport rules are what ensures a mostly secure climb.
In Potrero Chico, they have some massive climbing routes. While suspended hundreds of feet in the air, gear and a partner are relied on to hold you secure on the wall. The tallest route in the park is 2,300 feet. Just to put it into perspective, even the Empire State Building is shorter at only 1,454 feet from bottom to tippity top.
Now, imagine a wall EVEN TALLER at 7,569 feet in Yosemite National Park! A famous climber named Alex Honnold climbed it with no gear, no safety precautions, and no partner. Literally him, the rock, a chalk bag, and thousands of feet below. One wrong move and he was doneso. That is just crazy sauce! This is called free soloing. Sounds terrifying? It is. And the death rate for such climbers is 80-90%.
“I can do it myself.”
Why in the world would anyone ever do that? Well, even though I have never tried free solo climbing, I often walk through my life with a free solo attitude. I try to free solo through so many different situations like to-do lists, present sin struggles, past hurts, future decisions, sadnesses, and pains. Just like those free solo climbers, I think to myself, “I got this. I can do this on my own.”
Catch this. The success rate of trying to free solo through life is little or none. God knows this. From the very beginning, He created us to walk in community, sharing with one another the struggles and temptations we are facing so we can encourage one another along the way. He has also given us a safety manual, the bible, to walk in His paths of righteousness. He even promises to equip us with safety gear, His armor, to protect us from our own evil desires and the attacks of the enemy. The best news is that we are never alone. He has given us the Great Comforter, His Spirit, to lead and guide us every step of the way.
Questions to reflect on:
- In what areas do you try to free solo through life?
- Like me, do you struggle with an ‘I can do it myself’ attitude?
- Why do you think you try to do it alone?
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
Father, thank you for opening our eyes and hearts to see that we were never meant to walk through this life alone. Help us to reach out to others, to put on your full armor, to lean on Christ, and to follow your paths of righteousness that keep us safe from the dangers of this world. Amen
About the Author: Anna (Forlines) Kozyutynskyi lives in Nashville with her husband, Vlady, and they recently welcomed a baby boy. She enjoys nature and outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. Her passion is to share the importance of openness and freedom that can only be found in Jesus.