“Are you going to jump?” asked my brother, as I climbed up to the top level of the platform.
“I came up to look at the view,” I told him, leaning onto the rail beside him and looking out across the lake.
My brother had already jumped from that somewhat rickety and rather high platform into the water below, which seemed even further away now that I stood on the platform with him. Like the rest of my family, I had been jumping only from the lower levels.
I did look at the view. Then, when my brother’s back was turned, I launched myself off of the platform and fell with a great splash into the water below.
Everyone was fairly impressed. I’m not exactly known as a risk taker. In fact, I’m usually the one lecturing people (usually my brother) about taking unnecessary risks. But, then again, cliff jumping isn’t actually much of a risk. Not when it’s at a spot where lots of people have jumped before. Not when there’s very little that can go wrong between jumping off and hitting the water. It merely involves screwing up enough courage to take that initial leap.
But life isn’t as simple as jumping off of a cliff – not for me anyway. Making decisions in my life that involve risk, that involve unknowns and a myriad of variables I can’t control terrifies me. My imagination runs wild as I go through everything that could go wrong, over and over and over again. It’s no surprise that I have, whenever possible, stuck to the things that I know, understand, and feel comfortable with.
A group of my friends were discussing discernment a while back and asked a wise Sister for her thoughts. She asked us: if God sent us an email telling us exactly what we were to do, such as choosing a vocation, would we choose what He said?
“Of course,” said one girl.
“Uh…I’d probably delete it thinking it was spam,” I quipped.
Sister explained that if God sent us emails like that, it really wouldn’t be a choice anymore. And God truly respects our freedom.
But I would rather that God hand me everything on a silver platter. That He would lead me with flashing neon signs and kicks to my derriere rather than quiet murmurs. Because making a choice seems like just another opportunity for failure.
It would be easier for me to trust God if everything did work on the silver-platter-neon-sign system. But it seems, instead, that sometimes trusting God means trusting the desires, instincts, talents, abilities and intelligence that God gave me. Next comes trusting that even if things don’t work out quite as I planned, that He is at work through it all. That He is in control, and all I must do is seek Him first.
Of course, it is easier said than done, as I have been learning again recently. I hope it gets easier to trust with time, but for now, I will simply place – once again – my anxious little heart in the hands of my Saviour. And for now, I will pull out that pink post-it note from my purse and read – once again – the words I have scrawled upon it:
Even though you jump into the unknown, you will always fall into the arms of He who loved you into existence.