First United Methodist Church

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News & Devotions

Devotion: Flying Loose

My father is an architect by trade and a pilot by hobby. He has always loved flying and we were lucky enough as children to fly with our Daddy when he flew a small plane up and around where we grew up over the years. He kept up his license and took refresher courses and can continue to look up at the skies and upon seeing the underbelly of the plane, tell us what kind it is.

Two years ago, when my sisters were all home visiting, we had the rare chance to fly with our Dad once more and I snapped the picture below. He let us try our hand at the throttle and trying to control the height of the plane. He of course kept his hands near the controller, but we tried to control the plane on our own. I was thinking about this experience when I read a devotional last week from Rev. Cameron Trimble who is both a pastor and a pilot and she writes about the wisdom of flying loose. I shared it with my Dad and it felt like the right message to share with you this week.

What do you think about when you hear the words, Flying Loose? What image comes to mind?

It feels as if sometimes the world is spinning out of control. Our tendency may be to try and tighten our grip and control what we can control. I had one of these moments recently on Sunday morning when my favorite son was having a meltdown and I was about to lose my holy “you know what” on him. But we all have moments like Charlie, when the world as we know it seems as if it is falling apart and all we can do, is to sit and cry.

Rev. Trimble writes this, “Our world today is nothing if not swirling, turbulent wind tossing us around. We have experienced economic meltdown, climate countdown, racial throwdown, political breakdown, technology showdown, and religious letdown. We are living through the breakdown and breaking open of much that has defined modern life.”

She goes onto explain that when she teaches other pilots, she reminds them to Fly Loose. When we hit turbulence in a plane, the pilot has two options.

“When you are flying into turbulence you will learn something about your airplane…. If you tighten your grip on the yoke, you reduce the aerodynamics of your aircraft. You, as the pilot, actually make the flight less safe, steady, and stable. So, remember: When the going gets rough, fly loose….”

And so as I connect this back to my life and how God calls us to live, I celebrate that we only have one life to live and we can choose to live it with Freedom. Not a laissez-faire kind of living, where you don’t care at all about the things that matter to God, but abundant life kind of living that frees you to care less about control and helps you loosen your grip on the throttle of life.

Spiritual Direction and taking care of my soul has helped me with this. The closer I am to Jesus, the more His voice crowds out the noise of control and power and needing to have it all together. The more I spend time with others who have had real, transformative experiences with the living God, the more I see how deeply and diverse our God works, I realize that I was never really in charge to begin with. Ultimately, we can look over and see that while we may know how to fly a plane, we were never the pilots in the first place. Instead, our Heavenly Father, just like my earthly father has control of the plane; He is doing the flying, we get to enjoy the view. We may think we are in control from time to time, or we may think that we are really running the show, but our Heavenly Father has His hands on the throttle, and He is doing the flying. It is our privilege to fly loose and let God handle the rest. From the co-pilot seat I encourage us all to look over and see whose hands have you, who is ultimately in control and whose ways are higher than our own.

And don’t take yourself too seriously, life is a gift…so fly loose. God’s got you!


An Invitation:

I would love to invite you to have lunch with me on Friday, June 23rd. Once a month I would love to gather with anyone curious about digging deeper in your spiritual life and unpacking one of the recent devotions with me. If you are in town, bring your own packed lunch and meet me anytime between 11am-1pm at the church on that date. Hope to see you then!