Standing on the edge of a cliff looking at the water below. I feel the knot in my stomach that is driven by fear telling me this is a bad idea, but I want to do it anyway! In this moment staring straight down thirty feet can feel like peering off the top of the Empire State Building. Height becomes impossible to comprehend because all I can think about is how hard I might hit the water. Are there rocks beneath the surface that seek to harm me? Is the water paralyzingly cold? How did I even get here? Is there a way to get out of this? None of these fears are spoken out loud they all simply fester in my mind.
As I am contemplating I hear a splash, someone else has mustered up the courage and plunged into the icy depths beneath. If they can jump than surely I can. They survived with no marks of a battle beneath the surface, though they do admit that it is alarmingly cold. So now I am back at it, trying to gain the strength to launch myself from the safety of the precipice that I have gotten used to into the unknown air. Why is this so hard? I’ve jumped before, and I am sure I will jump again after this, so whats the hold up? Why do the fears have such a deafening voice?
The feeling of falling has never been my favorite thing. The air rushing around my body with no connection to anything that can actually support me… I’ve just never been a big fan… But sometimes you have to do things that you aren’t especially comfortable with. What is life if it’s just the same story repeated over and over? When you find something that is worth the risk, you just have to jump! But it isn’t just the jump itself that matters, there is value to the entirety of the process. So I jump, knowing that something beautiful is displayed in the midst of what feels like falling.
These aren’t just feelings that happen when I physically jump off a cliff though, this is the same way I feel when life feels out of my control, when I am given a choice to forfeit my control and trust God or grasp on to seasons that have clearly ended. People probably think that I am not a person who likes control all that much. They look at me and see the way I have traveled the world, the way I have daringly followed where God has called me and they think that I don’t ever seek to be in control, but they don’t know my heart. The times I followed God were times of great conflict in my relationship with Him. Every move has been hard, every risk has been terrifying, at no point have I ever just become used to the falling feeling I get when the whole world shifts around me and I am not the one in charge. But isn’t this the very place where faith is born? When I allow God to be the one leading and I follow.
I don’t think it will ever get easier, but with time and practice my natural reaction is beginning to shift. I am starting to look for more opportunities to jump, just to move myself along because I want to leave a meaningful life behind and that won’t happen if I refuse to risk. So I guess it’s time for me to prepare my battle cry and ready myself to launch off the cliff into the unknown, knowing that the water below will be frigid, but nothing else will make me feel more alive and free!