I went skydiving last fall. It was terrifying. I remember one minute having my feet firmly planted on solid ground, and then literally the next thing I knew I was barreling toward the earth at 120 MPH. A lot can go through your mind in the instant you come to terms with the fact that you just jumped out of a plane.
We often talk about life in terms of a climb—when pencil hits paper we use our days to try to draw a continuous line upward. But there are always cliffs. We can deny them, try to erase them, or even sketch ladders to compensate for their daunting grade. But life never moves backward, so there’s limited options when you’re standing at an edge of a cliff. And by limited options I mean: You’re going down, but if you’re ready you might have some say in how.
In his book Jesus, my Father, the CIA and Me, Ian Cron tells about his kids’ desire to jump off a 40 foot cliff at a local quarry. As a father, he was anxious about the idea. After some discussion, his wife issued him a gentle reminder. “Ian, they’re not falling; they’re jumping” (p. 235). Ian had to agree:
“There is a big difference in life between a jump and a fall. A jump is about courage and faith, something the world is in short supply of these days. A fall is, well, a fall” (236).
God will lead you to plenty of cliffs in this life, and you get to decide if you will stand there, immobilized by fear and doubt and uncertainty—or if you’ll spread your arms wide and leap—doing your best to take in every sensation on the way down.
The thing is, you’re going over either way—whether it’s a relationship that needs to end, a decision that needs to be made, a conversation that needs to be had, or a task that needs to be completed. If you stand there long enough life will push you over the edge because, like I said, we don’t get a rewind button. So if you choose not to move you’ll fall—and falling is scary.
I was still terrified when I jumped out of a plane—but it didn’t take me long to remember I’d made a choice. I’d jumped. And, well, when you choose to jump you get to prepare (which, in this case, mainly meant the whole parachute thing). And so I got to trust that I was ready and then enjoy the ride: the wind rushing over my skin, the cold gasps of air filling my lungs, the clouds and sun and sky all blurring into one. I was still scared, but I was also laughing the whole way down.
So when God leads you go a cliff, don’t just stand there. You’re going down, so you might as well trust Him and jump. It’s scary. It takes courage. It takes faith. But it can be a lot of fun.
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