Thursday, July 24, 2014
Anxiety & Depression: Girls Camp Challenge Course
I recently returned from Girls Camp. (Girls Camp is where LDS girls ages 12-18 go with their church leaders camping. There are fun things, spiritual experiences, etc. This was my first time going to Girl's Camp as a leader.)
One of the activities we did at Girls Camp was a Challenge Course. It consisted of climbing a rope ladder about 30-40 feet up, walking across a rickety bridge, and then zip lining to the ground again. While doing this, you are wearing a harness and helmet. There were couple missionaries who helped the girls through the entire course. It was 100% safe. If a girl were to lose her balance and fall, she would fall about 1 inch before she was caught. When girls would get nervous or scared, we would reassure them. "You aren't going to get hurt." "They have you." "If you fall, they will catch you." "You are in no danger."
Even though we reassured the girls, there were still some who struggled. When I did the course myself, I had to continue to tell myself that I could not fall. They had me. I was completely secure...Even though I KNEW this, it was still so scary! It took a lot of faith and trust to get through that course! I "randomly" found this quote a few hours after doing the challenge course. Right when I read it, it reminded me of the course I had completed and watched others complete just a few hours earlier.
"The Savior said, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid' (John 14:27). I submit to you, that may be one of the Savior's commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord's merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when He finds that His people do not feel confident in His care of secure in His hands or trust in His commandments" -Jeffrey R. Holland ("Come Unto Me," Ensign, Apr. 1998, 19).
The missionaries running the course reassured us several times that the course was completely safe. When I was on the route, I had to decide if I was going to trust them, the others I had seen safely (and securely) cross the course, and others assuring me OR if I was going to believe the pounding fear in my mind. I had to choose faith over fear.
There was one point when I was on the course when I felt like I wasn't very secure. It was when I was crossing the rickety bridge high off the ground. I started to walk across, and it felt like I could easily fall. I had to remind myself that the missionaries were at the bottom holding that rope that was attached to me. Even though I couldn't feel the tension at that moment, they were watching me and would catch me instantly if I fell.
The missionaries go to a great extent to ensure the safety of all those using the course. I would assume that when people (like myself) are choosing to listen to their fears, the missionaries may feel a little frustrated. Their top priority is safety, and at times we choose to believe that we are going to get hurt on the course.
Like the quote above says, we are told in the scriptures over and over again not to fear. God is watching over us. Sometimes we might think He isn't there or that He doesn't care about us. But, just like the missionaries helping me through the course, God is always there even thought I may not always feel or think He is.
Sometimes, I allow my anxiety and depression to overcome my faith. Similar to when I couldn't feel the tension in the rope, I allow myself to think that God isn't there or that He doesn't care. This couldn't be further from the truth. He is always there, He is holding the rope to keep me (and you!) from falling.