"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
Random header image... Refresh for more!

We Plan, God Laughs: Letting Go of Fear

I was planning on skydiving again today. I am still petrified, even though I had my first tandem jump last week. (I encourage you to check out my post-jump video on overcoming fear.) In fact, I was wondering whether it might even be worse because I already knew how it would feel to fall out of the plane into mid air. But, I am being called to step up to the challenge that God has placed before me — to push past fear and show others that we can be brave even when we feel broken. So, I made a reservation and spent most of yesterday wringing my hands and worrying about jumping this morning. Then, my husband Craig spoke a powerful word of truth into my life, which is that I should not let my concerns about tomorrow distract from the joys of today. I was so wrapped up in fear about what the morning would bring that I was missing being fully present during a wonderful dinner with friends and an evening at home with my husband.

When we drove out to the drop zone at Skydive Dallas this morning, God underscored the point. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning and looked like perfect jumping weather — except that it turned out the winds at altitude were 100+ mph, WAY too high for safe jumping. Nobody was going up, not even the most seasoned old timers. There would be no jumps today.

Energy Conservation
If you are wrapped up in fear about what tomorrow might bring, pack it up and put it away. Concerned about rumors of layoffs at your company? Anxious about an upcoming test in school? Worried that your kids will do something stupid or your spouse will make a mistake? Afraid of an upcoming court date? Put it away. You have no control over tomorrow, and you have no idea what God already has planned — who He might bring into your life, what doors He might open, or what schedule changes He may cause to happen. Trust in Him, and focus on the present. Extract every bit of joy from today, because you are right here, right now.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)

Addendum: God’s Back Pocket
There is a saying that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. One of my constant prayers in recent weeks has been that He equip me to be bold and courageous, because in my flesh I feel far from brave. I have been amazed at the ways in which He continues to provide exactly what I need, when I need it. For my first skydive, it was the company and encouragement of my friend Robin, whom I had met just 8 weeks ago. She came along last Sunday morning when I thought that I was only going to watch Craig jump, then she suggested that she and I both sign up for a tandem. For years I had said “never,” but God equipped me with exactly what I needed: perfect weather, a great instructor, the financial provision, and an enthusiastic and courageous female friend whose energy and faith were just enough to push me from “never” to “now.”

Robin_Before_Tandem

This morning, He filled in more of the gaps to equip me for my second jump, which has been rescheduled for tomorrow. Since we were already at the drop zone, I spoke with my instructor and spent several minutes looking closely at the tandem harness so I could understand exactly how it worked. I was able to examine each strap and buckle, and to clearly see that there was no way I could escape the harness in mid-air (something I had feared while we were under canopy last week). This was important information that really helped put my mind at ease.

The man who taught my tandem class last week also recognized me and came over to say hello. Actually, his first words were, “Weren’t you here last week? And didn’t you cry after your jump? What are you doing here again?” I explained my purpose and commitment, and he offered wonderful words of encouragement. He told me that he really disliked skydiving and grappled with fear and frustration for his first five jumps. He was on the verge of quitting, but then he knew that in the long run, he would always regret the decision. So, he went back up for a sixth jump, and that’s when everything changed. His fear went away, and he discovered the joy of skydiving. He has been jumping now for several years and teaches the tandem class on the weekends.

Before we left, I also spoke with the videographer, Jimmy, who will be filming me tomorrow. I learned about his colorful history (he has been a scuba dive master as well as a professional kick boxer), and his crazy style of skydiving. (He flies on his back during free fall, instead of on his belly.) If today’s jump had not been cancelled, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know him, and to develop a level of trust to help further prepare me for tomorrow.

The next time you are worried about what tomorrow might bring, remember that God loves you. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Trust that His timing is perfect, and look for all the ways in which He is equipping you for your calling. You may feel weak and afraid, but we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Be present today, be grateful, and be a blessing to someone else!

 

January 25, 2015   No Comments

Falling Forward: Why Failure Is Your Friend

Have you ever watched a baby learning to walk? It is both a magical and comical thing to behold. Three tentative steps and then…face plant. But that’s cool. More often than not, the baby will be stunned but unphased. He’ll stand back up and try again. Maybe he’ll take five steps this time–gaining momentum–and then land squarely on his butt.

We watch, we chuckle, and we don’t panic. Instead, we look on in joyful anticipation. We know that eventually, the child will get it. He’ll figure out how to balance and propel himself forward, his muscles will get stronger, and he will be walking. We don’t try to catch the baby every time it topples over. We don’t carry the child from place to place until it’s a teenager. We let the child learn. Failure is learning.

As adults, we have to give ourselves permission to fail. Failure is how we learn what NOT to do, so we can focus on what we SHOULD do, until ultimately, we achieve success. Trying to learn to cook? You’re going to botch a few recipes before you make a stellar meal. Trying to start a business? You’re going to make some bad choices before you get all the right people and systems in place. Are you on the cusp of a new relationship? You are learning to walk in a new environment, with different dynamics. Odds are, you’re going to fall on your butt at least once. And that’s okay.

Failure is part of life, it’s part of learning, and failure can be your friend when you embrace it as a tool for growth and self improvement. Instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed when you fail, focus on what you learned, and what you can do better next time. Instead of surrounding yourself with people who mock your efforts or shame you when you fall, be with the ones who cheer you on and encourage your growth.

The process works the same for little things and for big ones. Did you try to back up your smartphone and accidentally erase all your apps? Take a deep breath and regroup. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not stupid. You just need to make sure you research the proper steps next time so it doesn’t happen again.

Did you have a conflict with your spouse or a coworker that didn’t end well? The conversation may have failed, but the relationship doesn’t have to. Think about what you could have done differently to achieve a different outcome. Then, just like that baby after a face plant, stand up, brush yourself off, and try again with a heart full of enthusiasm and joy.

January 26, 2014   No Comments