Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
One very effective team-building activity is called a trust walk. This involves two people being paired together. One of the two is blindfolded and is the follower. The other one can see and is the leader. This activity can be done in a variety of ways—It can be done where the leader and follower may speak to one another but not be able to touch one another. It can be done where they are allowed to touch one another but not speak. They go on a walk together. This walk might be a walk on flat ground or there may be obstacles to get around, under or over. After ten minutes or so, the partners usually switch roles so that both have a turn leading and following.
The activity is then debriefed. Participants are asked which is easier in this activity, being the leader or being the follower? Some will say it is easier to be the leader. These will admit that it is hard to cede control to someone else. They prefer being in charge, being in control, and knowing where they are going at all times. Some will say it is easier to be the follower. These will say that the leader has more responsibility and it is easier in this activity to just follow along and not have to think.
In life, we actually rotate between the two roles. We follow the directions of parents, teachers, bosses, the law, and many more. We lead as parents, in work situations, as coaches, and many more. As Christians, we are followers of Christ (be disciples). We are also supposed to lead others to Christ (be apostles).
Let’s focus, however, on our role as followers of Christ. If we are the followers, He is the leader. I once saw a bumper-sticker that read “God is my co-pilot.” The problem with that is that in an airplane, the pilot is in charge and the co-pilot is subordinate. The pilot can overrule the co-pilot. Having God as co-pilot means that we can overrule Him. God is supposed to be at the wheel of our lives, not in the passenger seat, not in the back seat and not in the trunk.
Going back to the trust walk, we do this as part of our summer camp program. We do it during staff training in many years as well. We each take the role as leader and follower. One year, when I was in the role of the follower, there were several thoughts on my mind. The first thought was actually relaxation and ceding control. I knew the person I was paired with. I trusted that person. I knew ostensibly that I was not going to die or get seriously hurt doing this exercise. While I did not exactly know where we were going or how we were going to get there, I found that once I had allowed myself to cede control, it was actually really relaxing. The second thought was enjoying being “off.” I spend so much of my time leading and being “on” as far as having responsibilities that having no responsibilities for a few minutes was also a big positive. The third thought was a focus on being present in the moment. I conceded that not only I couldn’t see, I couldn’t do anything else in the moment other than follow. All the other responsibilities of directing camp or leading a parish or being a dad, all the roles that I have couldn’t be fulfilled in that moment. So rather than stressing about what I couldn’t be doing, I embraced what I was doing, which was just following. And the fourth thought was that this exercise is a metaphor for life and how there are many times when we have to just back off of our own thought and just LET HIM LEAD US!
We know the God we are paired with in life. He is not a stranger. He is not mean. We should trust in God. This is not a blind trust. A blind trust would be being paired with someone you don’t know in a place you’ve never been. We don’t follow God blindly. We follow Him with the knowledge that many others have followed Him and it has enhanced their life and led them to eternal life. We follow based on our own experience of Him. Second, following God should be relaxing. Rather than wondering “what must I do in order to follow God, or get to heaven,” He’s laid the path out plain and simple. We are to love Him. We are to love one another. When we lead with love, we are not going to go off the path. We only veer off the path when we do not lead with love. Third, following God involves being in the present. We have to be present with God. He is omni-present with us. He never leaves our side. Yet, rather than walking hand in hand with Him, we put Him in the background, we listen to other voices, our own voice becomes louder than His. Being present with God requires us acknowledging that God is present with us. Fourth, we have to let Him lead. There are two ways to get hurt on a trust walk. One is if you are paired with an irresponsible leader. And the other is if you do not cede control and overrule the leader, going your own way. We know that God does not hurt us. We know that God is not irresponsible. We also know that the path is not easy, and the route to where we are going is unknown. I do not know, for example, how long I will live, whether I will move, where my child will end up, whether I will get sick at a young age. I don’t know any of these things. What I do know is that I believe in God. I believe that if He leads and I keep on walking, I will end up in the Kingdom of heaven. Do I believe that all the time? Yes. Do I follow His lead and not try to go my own way all the time? No, I don’t. Every time we sin, it’s like saying we know better than the leader.
Going back to the experience of the trust walk, some people have a hard time relaxing and doing this. It becomes easier if you have a good leader, if you cede control and if you can get out of your own head that you are going to get hurt and just “go with it.” There are times I have a hard time “relaxing” in being a Christian. It seems like the walk goes on forever, or the terrain isn’t easy, or I’m tired and want to stop walking. There are times when I’m not satisfied with how life is going, wondering where God is leading me or why He had led me to a certain point. There are times when I struggle to feel His hand holding mine and wonder if I’m just wandering around aimlessly. This is where faith comes in and also prayer. The prayer is to asking God for the strength to keep walking. The faith is when we just “go with it” and let go and let God do the leading.
Lord, teach me the way I would be walking. Help me to cede control and trust You in the times I want to do my own thing. Help me to keep walking in the times the path feels long or scary. Help me to always feel Your hand holding mine. Lord, I do not know at all times where the path is taking me. But I will let go and let You lead. Amen.
Let go and let God lead!