For a long time, I felt God impressing upon my heart that a change was necessary. I kept trying to get a new job, but doors kept closing in my face. In my heart, I knew what God was calling me to do was much bigger than just getting a “new job”. God was calling me to a new start. A new chapter. A new course in life.
There is a scene, in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, where Indy has to make a leap of faith. He is on a quest and is using a book of instructions and clues to get him through each trial. Eventually, he comes to a giant chasm, across which he must somehow “leap”. He reads and rereads the clues, hoping to gain further clarification, but there is nothing. He whispers to himself “Impossible. Nobody can jump this.”
It is in that moment he realizes…It is a leap of faith and lets out a sigh of trepidation.
His father, not present, but knowing what he’s going through, says aloud: “You must believe, boy. You must believe.”
Realizing and dreading the test, he closes the book, places his hand over his heart and takes a huge step. Just when it looks like he’s going to fall, his foot abruptly lands on a solid surface. The camera pans to reveal a bridge, hidden in an optical illusion, which was only made visible once he was standing on it.
The parallels in that scene and my own experiences are uncanny, to me. We are all on a quest. We are all on a journey. Many of us use Scripture to help us navigate the trials and tribulations that come our way. But there always comes a moment when we have read and reread the Instructions and are, then, called to take that leap of faith. We will stand on the edge of our “canyon” and whisper to ourselves: “This is impossible. No human can do this. I can’t do this.”
It is in that moment we realize… this is our leap of faith. Much like Indy, a deep dread and fear seems to take root, as we come to grips with what needs to happen next. This is the moment when we have to hold tight to what we’ve learned and step out, not knowing where our feet will land believing, we will not fall. If we are quiet enough, we can even hear God whispering: “You’ve got to believe.”
Faith is an odd thing to me. Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) defines faith as:
…the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
To “comprehend as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” is one of the most difficult things to do, in my humble opinion. To override our natural abilities and understand what we physically sense and perceive is incorrect, or at best incomplete, takes sheer guts.
Some people call it foolish; I think it’s being fearless.
It’s easy to stand on the edge of the cliff and turn around, because you don’t see a way. It even makes sense to do so, particularly if you discern this is not your cavern to cross. But once the Holy Spirit reveals that you must jump, and you have read and reread the Holy Scriptures, the only thing left is to do so.
Don’t get it wrong, I am not painting myself as some fearless warrior who bravely dove into the black abyss. Nope. As a matter of fact, I think I crawled to the edge, scooted out and hung on by my fingernails, for a while, before I let go. But hey, I did it. And if I can do it, so can you.
Before you take your leap, there are few things that you should know.
1. You will fall, but only at first… Only at first.
Call me naive, but, I thought (like in the movie) when I stepped out, something would catch me right away or “just in time”. It didn’t. I struggled. I found myself fighting new battles and old battles I thought I’d won, all at the same time. I couldn’t catch my breath, before I was dealt another blow. I started falling back into old patterns of overeating and struggling with crippling anxiety. Fatigue was beginning to set in, and, I admit, it was tempting to succumb.
You, too, will undoubtedly face new demons and familiar foes. Eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, pornography, temptation, fear, anxiety, failures. Fear will tell you: “There is no bridge.” “God is not here.” “You have failed.”
This is not true.
Tell yourself: “This is just the fall. I got this.” Then, push through it.
Funny thing about falling is that it creates the updraft we need to fly. When (not if) you find yourself falling, know that it is part of the process. You are not failing. God is still very present and with you the entire way.
2. Peril will seem inevitable, but that is only an illusion.
One of my biggest fears is being hungry and homeless…again. When my ex-husband abandoned our, then, one year old daughter and me, I was left to stay in a homeless shelter. I had to drop out of college, and I lost my job. I was underweight, because I didn’t have enough food for both of us. We slept on cots in cold dank basements of generous churches. Once I got out of that situation, I swore I would never allow myself, or my loved ones, to be in that position again.
Remember earlier when I said I felt God impressing upon me to make a change? Well, it turns out that both my wife and I felt called to relocate our family. We knew it was God when we both came up with the same place even before talking to each other…Houston, Texas.
We started planning for the move and created a financial plan, which would allow us to make the transition. We were comfortably set, but then it happened; things cost substantially more than what we were originally quoted; red tape prevented access to certain accounts; we were hit with unanticipated car repairs, vet bills and fees. Next thing you know, we were in Houston, literally counting our spare change, trying to figure out how we were going to eat. I had flashbacks of the cold church floors and insufficient meals.
Fear had a vice grip on my spirit.
But I fought through it. We had just enough. Enough to pay the bills. Enough to eat. Enough to survive. It was only an illusion. The bridge was there. God was there. God is always there (Deuteronomy 31:6).
3. Your faith may get weaker before it gets stronger.
In my darkest and scariest moment, I questioned my faith. I asked (not aloud) but in my heart, “Where are You? How can you do this to me?” I doubted the sovereignty, the strength of God.
Never be ashamed, if this happens to you. I think it happens to everyone, at some point. Don’t run from it.
Instead, allow it to illuminate your areas of weakness. Be honest with God. I tend to use breath prayers in these times. They are exactly as they sound: prayers you can say in one breath. They’re meant to be repeated over the course of the day or however long you need them. Some examples, I use, are:
“Let me see You.”
“I need You.”
“Help me with my unbelief.”
These are just some of mine. Explore what naturally emanates from your spirit, and use that. Faith-testing moments can lead to a deeper, stronger, more mature trust, or they can make you lose it altogether. It is up to you.
At some point, in our lives, we will all be called upon to make a leap of faith. It will be something you know to be humanly impossible, scarier than you’ve ever imagined and more than you think you can handle. I submit to you that though this may be your biggest challenge, it can also be your biggest victory.
After all, we are not leaping just to prove a point. We are jumping toward something greater than ourselves. We are chasing our destiny, our purpose in life. Be brave enough to deny what your physical senses are telling you is impossible, and go for it. Focus on what you will gain, not what you can lose.
I’m cheering you on. You’ve got this!
Now, make the jump.