Whoever said “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself” has never stood at the top of a cliff and tried to get up the nerve to jump off. Last week I ended up chaperoning the youth road trip where we traveled to a church member’s lake house to swim & do other “youth” things like covering a volunteer’s face with whipped cream and throwing cheese puffs at them…probably won’t be using that one at my secret sister party this weekend…
Anyway, one of the things we got to do at the lake with the youth was jumping off a cliff into the water. The girls and I were standing on the boat dock watching the boys jump and discussing whether or not we wanted to join them. They looked at me and asked if I was going to jump. I immediately thought: “Are you kidding me? Don’t you know that I’m OLD???” However, what came out of my mouth was “Absolutely!” All the girls decided that if I was willing to jump, they would all jump, too. The excitement mounted as we climbed the ramp to the top of the cliff. “All right, Stephanie. You go first!” They nudged me to the front of the line…I laid my towel aside…stepped out on the rock…looked down into the water…and froze. My feet refused to move any closer to the edge and my legs refused to make them. I love the water but I am terrified of heights! So for 20 minutes I stood at the edge of that cliff and watched each of the girls conquer their fear and plunge, screaming, into the water. Determined not to chicken out, I focused on my daughter floating in the water below, sent up a quick prayer…and JUMPED!!!
What was I so afraid of? (Ummmm….maybe the 12 feet of air separating me from the water or the fact that hitting the water from that distance at my age and weight cannot be easy to recover from?) Jumping into the water was actually a lot of fun & I enjoyed the bonds I made with the youth group by doing it. Would I do it again? Nope…I’ve got nothing to prove. You wanna know what made me finally overcome my fear and take the plunge? Fear. It wasn’t the reassurance of knowing how deep and cool the water was. It wasn’t the sweet encouragement from the youth. It wasn’t even the challenge my daughter issued when she reminded me that she had jumped without hesitation and wasn’t afraid to share my chicken-heartedness with the world… It was when I realized that I was standing front and center on a platform in a bathing suit surrounded by skinny teens in bikinis and the youth leader had a camera trained on my large, white…um…body. As soon as that realization hit me…I hit the water!
Fear is a powerful motivator for both action and inaction! Sometimes in ministry I am afraid to try new things, to branch out and experience something different, or to go out on a limb all alone. But when I think about what would happen if I didn’t do those things, my fear of the humdrum and mundane motivates me to be bold. Life is sometimes scary but the alternative is worse!
What exciting adventures are before you today? What bold move is God calling you to take? What are you afraid of? Go ahead and dive right in! You won’t regret it!
(Here is where I should post the picture our youth leader took of me huddled at the top of the cliff refusing to jump…but, alas, somehow that incriminating evidence was erased before it was uploaded to the church computer…pity.) 🙂