Monkey Bars


At my elementary school, being a third grader meant getting to cross over from the “little kid” side of the playground to the “big kid” side; no longer was half of the playground off limits. As third graders, we now had the freedom to climb the spider web, do flips on the uneven bars, and use the monkey bars.

I loved hanging upside down and scrapped my knees more than once learning to do a basic flip. I regularly climbed to the top of the dome shaped spider web, but the monkey bars taunted me. Most of my friends crossed them with ease, but I could never make it past the third rung. 

Crossing the monkey bars became somewhat of an obsession for me. I’d try this method and that, hoping that somehow, I’d figure out how to cross. I never could overcome my lack of fingers on my left hand (and my inability to grip or bear weight with that hand due to a birth defect).

Up to that point, I’d always been able to do pretty much anything that my friends could do. I might do it differently, but I could do it. The monkey bars taunted me, reminding me of all the times people questioned what I could do, echoing the voices of classmates who picked on me, telling me that I wasn’t enough. The monkey bars highlighted my insecurities and I let them define me.

When you focus on what you can't do, it’s easy to miss the truth of who you are. I spent far too long believing the lies that I heard in my head when I looked at the monkey bars.  The truth is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, for God’s glory. 

I don't regret the hours I spent on the playground trying to figure out a way across the monkey bars. They built persistence and endurance into my character. They taught me to recognize my limits and to accept defeat when necessary. They showed me that being fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image doesn’t mean that we’re all made to do the same things. 

The monkey bars morphed from critic to teacher. I don’t need to cross the monkey bars because God already conquered the lies that haunted me. I can do all that I was created to do. I was made for a purpose. I am enough.

What are your monkey bars? What challenges in your life lead you to question your worth and shadow the truth of who you are in Christ? What lies are you believing about yourself or about God? More importantly, what truth will set you free?

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Christine lives in Louisville, KY and spends her days supporting non-profits with their fundraising efforts. When not working, she enjoys reading, being outside, baking and pursuing the title of "Crazy Aunt."