Last summer I shared a story here on the blog about my boys and how they were teaching me to fly. It’s true. Although if I’m honest, it’s not getting a whole lot easier. You see I’m terribly afraid of heights and life is about learning to let go.
Learning how to let go, especially when we want to hold on tight. I’m learning that regardless of whether that fear is related to our faith or our finances, God is continually asking us to let go.
Today we ventured back out to that same dock I told you about last year. The one with the 15 foot high dive platform and rusted rails that sways in the breeze. With little hesitation my boys climb and jump. Look at these little stinkers.
I envy how he just jumps off like that. Unafraid.
Here he is on one of his hundred jumps, midair. Not only is he not afraid, his form is just unbelievable. Every. Single. Time.
After endless pestering, because they’re relentless, I promised I’d go. Safe on the dock I reminded myself not to hesitate. Not to stand at the top and think about it. Not to think about the unsteady platform, the rusted railing or the waves rolling against the dock making it completely unstable. Not to consider the cold water and what I couldn’t see beneath the surface. I knew hesitation would stop me.
So I climbed to the top and I hesitated. In a moment, fear overtook me. In less than sixty seconds my mind traversed the panorama of all that could go wrong. All that was unsure or unsafe and I began to shake. I‘m afraid of heights and, even though the rails were barely holding on themselves, even more afraid of letting go. With a racing mind and trembling legs I descended the stairs to still my heart. I knew I needed to regain courage before I could try again. Today hesitation got the best of me, but it isn’t the first time.
Fear doesn’t make sense. I reflected back on last year, and the year before that, when I climbed to the top of that very platform and jumped. The water is crystal clear and I can see to the bottom. My boys climbed and jumped a million times in front of me and I know it is safe. My husband was treading water, waiting for me to go, and yet I was overcome with fear. Not just any fear but overwhelming, debilitating, shaking fear.
It reminded me a lot about life. I knew hesitation would stop me and yet I hesitated. How many times do I hear a whisper to do something – stop something – start something – help someone – and I wait. I wait for direction, clarity, certainty or skill. Almost every time I wait, I don’t do it. God isn’t asking us to figure it out before we jump. He’s just asking us to jump.
This is a place where I talk about being brave. Where I talk about finding our courage and stepping out into the unknown knowing God will catch us…or He will teach us to fly. And even though I believe that with my whole heart, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. It doesn’t make letting go of the railings or stepping off the platform any more comfortable. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever hesitate, and climb back down.
But being brave doesn’t mean we aren’t still afraid. Maybe it means we sit this one out, take a deep breath and we try again. It’s not the bravest or the most talented who win, but the ones who never give up. The greatest advantage we have against fear is perseverance.
So it’s the start of summer, and I’ve already got another challenge. I will jump from that platform again, and it will be so much sweeter for the struggle. If you need help learning how to let go or how to jump, try these three tips. I know I will definitely be needing them again!
Maybe like me, you’re facing a challenge that you’ve already overcome. Maybe the same old fear is rising up against something you know you’re capable of doing. Perhaps something you’ve already done. What’s stopping you? How is God asking you to jump and how can you step out in faith?