Ready to Climb

Last Thursday, two of my Youth Climbing Team students made me very proud. They led up our indoor wall.

There are two type of rock climbing with a rope: the first is top-roping, where you have an anchor at the top. The rope goes from the climber, up to the anchor, and down to the belayer, who takes up the slack as the climber moves up the wall. 

Lead climbing is the second type, where the rope is tied to the climber, and as he moves up the wall he clips the rope into anchor points in the wall along the way. The belayer feeds more slack to the climber as he moves up the wall. If a climber were to fall top-roping, he would fall maybe 2 feet. In lead climbing, you fall the slack to where you last clipped in to an anchor--and that much more (if you're 5 ft above you're anchor, you fall 10). 
Where as top-roping can require no previous experience, lead climbing requires hard work at skill and technique. I had these two students training on more and more difficult routes while still top roping. I pulled them aside and had them do special exercises. Finally, I had them practice their clipping again and again and again and again and again. I probably made one student practice clipping in the rope about 50 times each practice. Why? Because little minute stuff like that will make or break your climb. Clipping needs to be second nature. Lead climbing is about climbing, not about clipping. New lead climbers tend to focus their energies on making the next clip, and not on the climb itself.

A parallel comes to mind of my spiritual life. Walking with the Lord, it's the seemingly minute stuff that can make me stumble. Things that should be second nature: like prayer. If prayer is not second nature in a believer's life, you know he hasn't been praying much. How easily prayers come to my lips is directly connected with how often I've been praying. What happens when prayer does not come easily? My energies are spent trying to figure out how to pray. My attention to how I stumble over words. If my life is all about glorifying God, and I can't even pray a simple prayer, I need to get some things straightened out. 

The same goes for reading my Bible, worshiping, and being generous with what I'm entrusted with. We need to be able to get these things right, so that when practice is over we're ready to climb.


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