This summer, my church had a slew of guest speakers who shared about living a full life; an unconventional life; a risky life. One of the messages was an interview with Kay Warren, who challenged us as Christ followers to be identified as “Reckless Ones” who are willing to sacrifice everything for cause, for the Kingdom, for Jesus. She explains it better in her interview (24 minutes worth your watching), that the early Christians were willing to expose themselves to grave diseases in order to care for the weak, without regard for their own health. They were called the Reckless Ones because of that. She encouraged us to be reckless enough to follow Jesus wherever He calls us. She said that the only way to live the life of faith is to jump off the precipice.
Upon hearing that message, I experienced an odd reaction.
It wasn’t the kind I often had as a kid, who, after hearing a missionary speak, nearly ran up to the altar of the church as the organist played “All to Jesus I Surrender.” And it wasn’t the kind I had in college when I stayed up half the night crying and pouring out my soul to my roommate after a mission trip. It was just an odd reaction of peace.
The truth is, just about a year ago, Adam and I jumped off the precipice into a big scary unknown. I’d love to say we took a big old cannon ball jump off the diving board with a wide-eyed confident grin, but it was more like a tiptoe to the edge of the diving board, a lot of deep breathing, and a closed-eyed half jump/half fall in. Irregardless of our technique we jumped…
…into support raising
… into a new city
…into job insecurity
…into a significant paycut
…into temporarily shacking up with family
And what no one tells you in their compelling sermons about taking risks, is that it gets even scarier after you take a leap of faith. We thought it was scary as we tiptoed to the edge of the diving board, but that was nothing compared to the post-plunge fear.
You know the feeling in your stomach when you leave the end of a water slide before you hit the water?
Or the feeling in your gut when the roller coaster leaves the top of the hill and is picking up momentum but hasn’t yet hit the first loop?
That’s what happens after you take risks to follow Jesus into a risky and radical life. There’s a wait between leaping off the precipice and landing, and it takes your breath away. Even though it’s often a short time between the jump and the landing, the time between feels like an eternity. Somehow, you have time to think, and it causes you to question why you jumped in the first place. It leads you to create worst case scenarios. It can give way to doubt and fear if you let it. Because let’s be honest, jumping into the unknown is terrifying.
But it’s worth it.
You know that elation you feel when you finally splash into the water or finish the roller coaster ride? The rush that compells you to jump right back in line for another go-around?
It’s even better with Jesus.
There’s inexplainable joy that comes with obedience.
I know that I don’t have the book written on precipice jumping and I know that I’m not done with precipice jumping. I’m sure it won’t be long before I’ll feel that urge that it’s time again to take a big fat risky leap of faith. And I hope that next time, there’s a little less fear and trembling because every time I jump, and I hit the water, and I find joy in obedience, I have a deeper understanding of how good God is.
And who wouldn’t want to jump at the opportunity to respond to a good God?