I’ll never forget that day. The anticipation began to build as we walked toward the ladder. My excitement rose higher as I climbed up, reaching a fever pitch when I stood in the open air. The sun’s rays warmed my skin as the seemingly perfect, gentle breeze kept me from feeling overheated.
When I slowly reached the edge, I looked down. I had watched my friends do it and couldn’t wait to take my turn… that is until it actually was my turn.
I’ve always had an irrational fear of heights. I experience this sensation that something is trying to pull me over the edge and yank me down toward certain pain. That fear gripped me in the moment, and for a brief instant, I almost panicked and retreated from the edge.
I’m not sure if it was my own stubbornness or a different fear, that of ridicule, that overrode and kept me in place, but the war in my mind was not fought between good and evil, but fear and faith.
As I advanced onto the precipice that day, it was as if time stood still—my heartbeat slowed, my breath became raspy and labored. The blood rushed to my ears, cutting off the sounds of the wind, birds and voices of all the other kids until I felt like the entire universe was paired down to my short life and impending death.
Then, the moment was shattered by my friend’s words coming from behind me.
I took a deep breath, certain it might be my last, and I jumped… Actually, since I was more afraid of being called a chicken, I dove.
As my body arched downward and gravity took over, it seemed like my involuntary actions like breathing and heartbeat came to a halt as fear took over.
My hands shattered the surface first, then my head, shoulders and the rest of my body.
Within a few seconds, I resurfaced with an exhilaration that comes from thrill-rides and other adrenalin rushes. I’d just performed my first high dive at the neighborhood pool and couldn’t wait to do it again.
What makes that day so readily available in my memory isn’t the fact that I overcame an irrational fear or that I committed my actions to being brave in the face of what seemed like certain injury or even possible death. No, what I recall most is the fun we had that summer day—a bunch of teenagers monopolizing the high dive for hours on end.
But, looking back with self-examination, I can see it was a pivotal moment in the make-up of my decision making. I’d watched kids climb up the 20-foot ladder to the diving platform, only to turn around and slink back down in shame. I’ve seen other kids since that day freeze up and have to be escorted away from the edge by parents or older siblings. For me, though, I made my mind up that I was in charge, not fear.
As I go about my job these days, I see those same kids, all grown up now. They shrink from the edge of leadership, as if stepping out to accomplish lofty goals can only lead to certain injury or death.
Sure, it’s not as obvious since they’ve learned to hide their fear and insecurities behind all sorts of facades. From scheduling excuses, to blaming family members or career responsibilities, they deflect the call on their lives in order to avoid anything not remotely safe.
In fact, I did it for years by hiding inside a bottle. As if I could avoid doing what I was created to do by blinding myself to the call with alcohol.
Maybe that’s you. Or, maybe you focus on food, or sports, or exercise, or politics or celebrity antics… this world offers all the distractions we could ever want. Maybe deep inside, you’re still that kid standing on the edge of the high dive, too afraid to jump but too ashamed to go back.If your faith is wavering, I want to encourage you today… take that leap! Click To Tweet
“We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives” (Ephesians 2:10 CEB).
Whatever it is you’re avoiding, remember that God tells us 365 times to not let fear motivate us. That’s one for every day. Let your motivation come from the Author of Love. Follow the way He created you to live your life.
Maybe there’s a friend or family member that needs your strength. Maybe your church needs some of the power God gave to you. Maybe there’s a ministry that isn’t whole without what you bring to the table. Maybe there’s a church home group filled with souls who need your leadership.We are called to a life of faith, not fear. Click To Tweet
If we don’t answer that call because we’re too busy following fear, what will happen to the world around us? To our city, neighborhood and community? By looking to the left and to the right, one thing is obvious: We can’t do it without you.
“for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power” (Philippians 4:13 TLB).
Father God, help me to live by faith, not fear. I know that through Christ, I have the strength and power I need to accomplish all that You have prepared for me. I choose to quit giving excuses. I am ready to dive into my destiny.
Is there something God is calling you to do that scares you? Are you on the edge of indecision–not willing to retreat yet still unsure to leap? Make a list of all your excuses then write the word FAITH across them. Trust God today and let your belief in His promises move you into action.
Mike Bullock is the Central Support LifeGroups Pastor for Church Unlimited, a multisite church in south Texas. He is an accomplished musician, published author and most fondly, husband to an amazing woman, father to an incredible son and child of an awesome God.