When I jump (which is hardly ever), I always come back to the ground. We have dance parties in our living room, and I jump around, but I never just float in midair. My feet always find their way back to the earth. I jump knowing the safety of steady ground awaits me.
This was always how I saw my “walk with God”. I invested limited time to our conversations, and I walked next to Him, not giving much attention to what He was saying. I was more worried about where we were going. And when He asked me to jump, I would say, “Yes, Lord!” and always, without fail, jump up to only find my feet back on solid ground again. I was obedient so far as saying yes, but that’s as far as my obedience took me. After that, I doubted like Thomas and like Peter walking on water. I found myself quickly grounded by logic. Floating for only seconds.
The scariest part is standing out there on the water, away from land, prone to sinking. Or it could be the thought of jumping and falling, continuously, with no ground to catch the fall. Regardless, the faith it takes to remain lifted, floating..it feels enormous. Unattainable.
I know I’m not the only one. I give up on taking leaps of faith. The saying itself drives me crazy. I don’t want to leap. I don’t want to take a chance and look stupid. If I’m basing the chances of success on my past “leaps”, they haven’t changed the world. They weren’t what I thought they would be. So I don’t leap. I don’t risk it. I take small jumps that give me a taste of the feeling of flying for seconds, and I come back to earth.
A couple of months ago I tried something new. I began to introduce myself to people as a writer, I spent nights working side by side with my husband, I chose to devote more and more of my time to ministry, writing, and women, because I didn’t want to float for only seconds anymore. I wanted to believe that the old saying, “Take a leap of faith!” was actually sound advice, and that I could live a life that was truly one reflective of Christ’s work. Not my own.
In months and years past, I jumped believing more in my ability than God’s. I laughed a little at the thought of really listening to Him, because how can we hear God? He’s invisible. He speaks to only those who are so obviously closest to Him. Not little old me. Until I read scripture, and I believed it for myself. I started to believe that the same God who crumbled the walls of Jericho was, in fact, my God too. That the God who defeated army after army in the name of Isreal’s victory is my God too. That the God who came down to earth to a pregnant Hagar and told her to return home, that is my God. Story after story recalls what God does, not man. Every book in the Bible is a display of man’s obedience to His words, and the work that comes from Him.
I can jump. He can make me soar.
I can hear the wind whipping past my ears at the thought of Isaiah 40 and soaring on wings like eagles. It is a freedom that I cannot fully fathom, but one that I know that I can have. I don’t have to jump and hit the ground every time. The trying isn’t a waste. The waste is believing that the trying and failing is all there is. The waste is thinking that I am not as equally qualified as Hagar, Moses, Joshua, Paul. The waste is thinking that I need to keep myself flying. I cannot. He can.
There isn’t a man in the world who can stop God. And I’m on His side. I want to go wherever He is, and I want to work wherever He calls me to work. The fear of sinking in the water dissipates over time. Soon enough, the flying and walking on water feels safer than being on solid ground. Sometimes I’m looking around wondering if I’m even doing anything right, if God actually wants me to do anything I’m doing, if I’m truly qualified. I start to sink. But He’s right there, with arm outstretched, speaking constant reminders of truth over me. I get back up. And I jump again.