Circus Truth


Flips, handstands, back bends, hanging upside down, and climbing to the ceiling….all done on bright colorful silks. This was Circus Training. Our teacher would demonstrate the trick, break things down step-by-step and then we’d attempt to do what she’d made look ridiculously easy.

We laughed and giggled and hung-on for dear life as we attempted to learn the art of The Silks. The ease that our teacher had with each new pose became comical to me. She was graceful and fluid. Cut to me with my tongue sticking out in order to concentrate, my hands in a death grip, and me feebly calling out, ”Which one is my back foot?” By the end of the first night my arms were aching and my abs were tight. I knew the next day would be filled with an awareness of millions of muscles who were not used to this level of abuse.

Lesson Two arrived and brought a new skill of wrapping the neon pink silk around your feet in order to stand. Once again our teacher made it look simple and easy. She repeated the steps and then it was my turn. As I stood up, putting all my weight on my silk-wrapped feet, I wanted to scream in pain. The silk twisted my skin and the weight of my body balancing on a two inch section of fabric wrapped under the arches of my feet sent pain up and down my legs. Who invented this torture device and why did I willingly pay to come use it?!

Finally a braver soul than I spoke up and asked, ”Are my feet supposed to feel like that?”.

”If you mean like the skin is being torn off of them, then Yes,” states the teacher in a very matter of fact tone. This blew my mind.

I had assumed I’d been doing something wrong in order for there to be such pain. I had assumed that the professionals must know a trick that I wasn’t doing. I had assumed that because this was hard, and it hurt, that I must not be right for it.

Yet, our teacher felt the exact same pain.

The only difference was that she didn’t quit when she felt the pain. When her hands and arms and shoulders and legs and feet and (ok, let’s face it, every single body part was hurting), she didn’t quit and assume she wasn’t made for this. When she felt the pain, she didn’t let it stop her. She pushed through the pain.

This reminded me of my fear in being bold in my faith. All my life I had assumed that bold people were free of fear. They didn’t feel the same ”pain” as I did. I let that lie be an excuse and justify me in not boldly sharing my faith with others. Yet all along, those bold people felt the exact same way as me. They just didn’t let the pain, the fear, stop them. They pushed through it. They learned that through Jesus they would gain the strength and courage needed, but they had to be willing to walk through that fear instead of stopping in front of it. Will you let the pain stop you or will you allow Jesus to take you by the hand and follow Him to the other side?

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

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