Early last year, Wendy and I attended a leadership workshop in California. It was a remarkable week that challenged us on pretty much every level. It was during that week that I took the long hard look into my soul and asked if I would continue to pursue wedding photography as a career. If you know me, you already know that I stopped booking new weddings that week, and began this pilgrimage into a strange and wonderful journey of seeking the things in life that hold the greatest value and eternal significance.
One of the exercises that we ‘endured’ that fateful week involved climbing up onto a rickety scaffolding and then perching ourselves precariously on the edge with only about four of our five toes clinging to the board with such strain that I’m pretty sure that my own toes underwent some kind of werewolf transformation slitting my shoes and growing fierce talon like claws that embedded deep into the wood and thus securing my safety. (or not) It wasn’t entirely a death defying feat though because we knew that our team stood on the ground behind us with a net ready to catch us when we finally made the decision to let go. So in reality, that’s all there was to it. Stand in a ridiculously dangerous place that really wasn’t dangerous at all because your friends were going to catch you and then close your eyes and fall. Sounds easy, right?
It’s funny though. When you can’t see where you’re going to be landing, and when you can’t see the people who are going to be catching you, other thoughts seem to start entering your mind and placing little tiny cracks into the granite wall of resolve you had prior to ascending the heights. Most of us like to play it safe. Even if we enjoy taking risks, they’re still typically calculated risks. We don’t often blindly jump off of cliffs just assuming that someone is going to be at the bottom to catch us. Even knowing that they were there, thoughts like, are they paying attention… I’m not a big guy, but can the little ladies that are also on my team hold my weight?… What’s the worst that can happen?
Ultimately, the crazy kid that used to go cliff jumping in Iowa decided that: 1.) more than likely if it wasn’t safe, the hosts would get sued – that wasn’t happening, so it must be safe. and… 2.) My head was, in reality, only about 10 feet off of the ground, and if they even almost caught me – I’m agile and athletic enough that I could handle the fall. So I closed my eyes and fell. Not a life changing moment for me, but pretty exhilarating for sure.
Sometimes in life though we find ourselves in a slightly similar position. We look around and find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations that have us clinging desperately to an inadequate footing on a cliff face of one of life’s more overwhelming moments. We feel the muscles in our legs begin to quiver, and our feet become frozen with fear at the thought of losing the slightest footing that is keeping us from plunging into the gray darkness beneath. Our hands and eyes search with careful desperation for something to grab onto. We long for that branch, that rock, or that rope that will bring us the hope we need to climb to a safer place.
It is also in those moments that God often whispers into the quiet realm of our hearts and says in a voice filled with gentle strength, “Let go.” Our knee jerk reaction is to cling even harder to the feeble grip we have on the circumstance and wait for another option. We begin to think of how we might improve the situation on our own without God’s absurd suggestion. Maybe if I work a few more hours… Maybe if I make a few phone calls… Maybe if I lose a few more pounds… Maybe if I just ignore it long enough… Maybe if I just had a little more money… Maybe if I try harder this time… Maybe if I pray an extra 20 minutes or so… Maybe… maybe… perhaps… if I just do more this time, I’ll be able to fix my life on my own. We are terrified of letting go of our own abilities. Even when they have left us in such miserable conditions, we lean into our own weaknesses even harder.
Too often, we prefer the problems that we can see to the possibilities that we can’t see. – -Jeremy
Too often, we prefer the problems that we can see to the possibilities that we can’t see. We’ve experienced let down plenty of times. We’ve been disappointed by others so many times that we learn to put boundaries on our trust. We’ve even learned that we can’t trust ourselves past a certain point. We frequently look at the person greeting us in the mirror each morning with a cynical and skeptical glare and a knowledge that they’ve been wrong before. They’ve tried and failed before. We’ve let ourselves down as much as anyone else.
And yet we cling.
For just a minute though, I’d like you to just imagine what it’s like to let go. What’s it like to let the air expand your lungs to capacity as you breath in the life surrounding you? What’s it like to stop frantically searching for the rope, and instead taking a moment and enjoying the view? What’s it like to see the white knuckles relax, and feel the tension leave your mind and body? And what’s it like to close your eyes, and simply… let… go?
What would it be like to fall into the hands of a God who has promised with an oath that cannot be broken that He would always be there? What would it be like to fall into the vast expanse of God’s unfailing love? What would it be like to feel the scars on His powerful hands as He placed them in yours, that for the first time were not clinging to something else?
If you can close your eyes for a moment, and just breathe in the life and love of God and you let go and simply fall ‘grace’-fully into Him. If you can embrace the complete peace that is entirely independent from all that you can see with natural eyes. If you can rest in the understanding that God, who is all-powerful and sovereign, is also the same God who was willing to give up everything to be in relationship with you…
Then you can be one of the few who find out what it’s like to see the invisible, do the impossible, and attain the unattainable.
“God can’t break His word. And because His word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us” Hebrews 6:18-20
~ Here’s a song that really blessed me tonight. There’s a little talking first, but it’s worth hearing too. :)