Friday, September 10, 2010

Skydiving- a spiritual exercise

Some of you may remember that back in January, I had the opportunity to speak in chapel. At the end, I challenged everyone to jump off a cliff. Well this past weekend, I didn’t jump off a cliff, but I did have the opportunity to go skydiving, which, is probably higher than a cliff anyway, right??? Leading up to it, people kept asking if I was excited. My simple response was, “Let’s not talk about. I’m trying to not think about it.” And as I told my best friend, “I’m looking at this not as something fun and exciting, but as a spiritual exercise. That honestly was my mindset the whole time, even as I was flying up in the plane before I jumped. I want to elaborate on my experience and how this perfectly correlates into my “Cliff jumping” (now skydiving) chapel speech:

Throughout our lives as Christians, we tell ourselves (and God too) that we are being faithful to Him. We tell Him that we’ll do anything He wants us to and go anywhere He takes us (but in our heads we’re thinking, “But I really do prefer where I’m at right now, and look at all the ministry needs right here! God, it’s probably best for me to stay here.”). So, we walk the walk and we talk the talk.

But what happens when we suddenly realize that God has taken us to the edge of a cliff (or opened up the airplane door) and He says, “Thank you for submitting yourself to Me and telling Me how faithful you are. But now I want you to show Me. Now, if your faith is in Me, I want you to jump.” Is it possible to turn back and not jump? Yeah, we can always say no to God because He gives us the freedom to choose; to say yes or no; to be obedient or disobedient; to be faithful or not; to choose His ways or our ways. But we want to choose His ways, and in our hearts, we really do want to be faithful. So we look out the plane door and realize, the only thing left to do is jump, trusting that God won’t let us fall to our death, but instead, that He’ll give us new life we’ve never experienced before!

But then we start to think again: “But if I really jump, I’m going to have to sacrifice so much. Up until this point, I’ve been able to carry my securities in my luggage- family, support, money, practicality, a job, familiar territory- but now I’m there, inches from falling out of the plane, and I can’t take any of that with me, I have to drop it all, leave it, and jump. All I have is God’s faithfulness to me.” But in the midst of all our fear and doubt, we know that God’s faithfulness is all we need. And while we’re waiting there, feeling the cold gust of wind in our faces, seeing the clouds below without a window in between, the thousands of feet below us, and everything inside of us screaming how insane, dumb, and crazy this is, we get this little sense of peace. We know that not only will the Lord of lords catch us, but He is going to be strapped onto our backs jumping with us. In fact, He’s the one with the parachute. Even if we forget everything we’ve learned along the way and we do everything wrong, His grace for us can’t stop the chute from opening. And so, He says, “Are you ready?”

And we say, “Is it time?”

And He says, “It’s time.” And we go; we jump. We jump! We’re freefalling and it’s CRAZY! But after a couple short seconds, we realize that even though we’re freefalling, it’s not scary anymore. It’s exhilarating! It’s freeing! Our screaming has turned to uncontrollable laughter in the freedom we feel in falling, knowing that everything is going to be fine. And then, after a short time, He pulls the chute. And we stop falling so fast; now we’re just joyously floating down. And we look around at the beautiful view, and are just overwhelmed with goodness at what just happened and what is happening. Just for fun, He soars us around a little; because he’s in control, and He can steer us too.

As soon as we touch the ground, we can’t help but think, “I can’t wait to do that again! I’m ready this second to go back up and jump again!” We realize that the scariest part was the few minutes leading up to it. The jump itself was awesome (after the first couple seconds in which we’re still realizing what we actually did). It was the buildup, the hype, the thoughts that almost made us turn back. But, we did it. And we have no regrets.

When God takes you to the edge, the questions and doubt will come (I’m not old enough, I can’t do it alone, I don’t have enough money and I have students loans, everyone will think I’m crazy and foolish, I don’t have a backup plan, let alone a plan…). But if God clearly takes you up and opens the door to the plane, will you jump? Will I jump? I dare us to, because I’m pretty sure once we land, we’ll have no regrets and want to do it all over again.


  1. How right you are. So often, concerning matters of faith, the hardest part is the first step. Once you've done that though, you're committed. You have to keep moving forward (or downward;-)), that's the only option. Moving on with it quickly becomes more freeing and safe feeling than staying in the plane, or in the comfortable job, or sitting quietly in the pew had previously been. Yes, there is risk involved, but with great risk comes (potentially) great reward. Is that biblical? Oh how I wish I would jump out of the plane more often and live with more reckless, faithful abandon.

    Great thoughts.

  2. Hi Sarah! This is so inspirational! =)