Friday, February 25, 2022

I spent a big chunk of my life involved in cheerleading. Through all the years I cheered, my favorite thing to do was stunt. I was always a base--as I've mentioned, I've had trust issues since the time I was little so that ruled out being a flyer and relying on somebody else to hold me up in the air. I was always the one with my feet planted firmly on the ground.A lot goes into stunting, and my favorite (and best) cheer coach always made sure we understood the importance of what we were doing. His favorite thing to tell us was "Drop a stunt, run a mile." As a base, I took that to heart. My job was to always be between my flyer and the floor, no matter what. Since my feet were on the floor, that meant that it would hurt a whole lot less for my body to end up on the floor than it would for my flyer's body to end up there. How easy that was for me to do, though, depended in large part on my flyer.One of the most spectacular stunts to see is a basket toss. Even if you're not familiar with cheerleading, I'm sure you've seen the stunt where one cheerleader gets thrown up into the air and then caught.

It's fun to watch and fun to throw--as long as the flyer knows what she's doing and has faith in her bases. The flyer's job is to ride the toss up to the very top, typically hit a toe touch, then pull her feet together and up in front of her so she can be caught by her bases. She has to hold her body tight, because it is incredibly difficult to catch a flyer who either panics or becomes limp.Some flyers, though, have a hard time trusting their bases to catch them. It's understandable--if you get thrown 12 feet in the air, it's going to do quite a number on your body if you hit the ground. These flyers get nervous as they start to come back toward the ground. Some of them start trying to look down to see if the bases are there. The thing is, your body tends to follow where your eyes lead. That means that when I had a flyer who was trying to look down and see me, she inevitably started tipping that direction. As her head went forward, her feet would come down underneath her. If her feet dropped instead of staying in a pike position, it was almost impossible to keep myself underneath her as she fell toward the ground.Other flyers would get into the air and then panic. They found themselves in an uncomfortable situation, a place they shouldn't naturally be in, and they would start flailing. As they came back toward the ground, it was kind of like trying to catch a live fish that had been tossed to you. In either of those situations, it was all we could do as bases to keep our flyer from getting injured.Two of the flyers I stunted with, though, fully trusted us as their bases. No matter what kind of stunt our coach dreamed up and had us try, they knew we would keep them from hitting the ground. They would fly through the air, not worried about what would happen when they came down.It can be like that in life. Sometimes we find ourselves tossed out into an uncomfortable situation, a place we shouldn't naturally be in, and the fear kicks in. We start flailing around or searching for a way to catch ourselves, and the only thing that does is get us out of alignment. In our heads we know that God will be there to catch us, but it's hard to trust Him to do it. In those times all we really accomplish is taking what could be something spectacular and turning it into a situation where God has to focus on just keeping us from getting injured.28 Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
    The Eternal, the Everlasting God,
The Creator of the whole world, never gets tired or weary.
    His wisdom is beyond understanding.
29 God strengthens the weary
    and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.
30 Young people will get tired;
    strapping young men will stumble and fall.
31 But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.
    They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run—never winded, never weary.
    They will walk—never tired, never faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

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