You know the phrase: “I’m at the end of my rope?”
We’ve all used it and we’ve certainly all been there. For me it conjures up images of Jr. High gym class, my classmates gathered around the bottom of a fat cluster of burlap fiber as I climbed upward with stinging hands.
I hated gym class, for me it was an hour designed to point out all the things I’m bad at, followed by a soul-sucking public shower with girls who didn’t like me with my clothes on thank you very much.
If anything ever sent me to “the end of my rope” it was the misery of that Junior High torture.
When we use this turn of phrase with each other we’re insinuating that there’s more rope than we can climb, or that there’s no more rope and we’re barely hanging on. We’re out of energy to climb upward or we’re about to let go of the rope because there isn’t anymore.
Either way what we really mean to say is that life’s giving us more than we can handle and the climbing can’t go on much longer.
Sometimes this is because of a central and all consuming heartache. Other times, there isn’t one central issue but the cumulation of little, constant struggles are what’s got us running out of rope.
Both of these seasons can be formative and completely awful. We climb and we fight until one day we wake up and realize that the waves are still coming and we’re plumb out of resolve.
This is when we typically use the “end of my rope” phrase. It’s because the idea of another day of climbing seems beyond us. It seems as though it would be easier to drop than to spend another day hanging on or trying to add strands to our rapidly fraying lifeline.
Here’s a thought, and trust me I am preaching to myself right now, if the rope you’re on is leaving you empty and dangling, let go. Do it on purpose because you’re about to do it whether you want to or not and official nervous breakdowns can get very expensive.
It’s okay, you’re not letting go forever, not of everything at least. But all those strands that you’ve woven into your life, the ones you have your hands wrapped around so tightly? Let them go. Walk away. Let yourself go. Drop.
Whatever it is you’re doing with that rope has left you tight fisted and frenzied and living life in a panic.
If you’ve suffered massive blows and need to heal or if you have more fires than you can conceivably extinguish you need a break from your climbing.
You may find that what’s waiting for you off the ropes isn’t a pit of angry crocodiles or snarky teenage girls but actually a better life than the one you’ve cobbled together.
One that’s not all about survival and “making do” but about thriving.
A life lived, not dangling from a rope but held by a blanket of fibers, woven together by a God who never designed you to dangle.
Who didn’t create you to be forever mustering for another battle but free from all of that.
Don’t think for a second that I believe life isn’t about the fight, you know me, I’m not that naive. I know the fight will come, but the forever fighting that we’re doing (and trust me I’ve been dangling for a while now) isn’t living.
And I want to live with minimal dangling.
Let’s be brave and drop when needed, yes?
(At the very least we can be glad that we’re no longer in Jr High gym class.)