Have you ever made a brave leap off of a 30 foot cliff into a cool, fresh lake? If you have, you know how liberating it is, but you also know the frustrating time of mental preparation that you go through before you make the jump, trying to muster up the courage to follow through. This time can be a matter of a few seconds, minutes, or as I have seen, hours. In this time you have firmly decided that you want to make the jump, but you are just trying to convince the rest of your mind and your fearfully tentative body to follow through with it. You might even get a running start and head right for the cliff, only to skid to a halt with your toes hanging over the edge.
All this time, all this waiting, builds up to a point and climaxes in a single moment. This moment lasts for less than a second, yet it’s the moment where your heart seems to pause, where the world seems to rush around you. The split second when you finally jump and you realize that it’s done, there’s no turning back, the free-fall is coming.
I am currently residing in this moment, dangling over a finite future that has been decided but has yet to envelope me. I find myself almost wishing I could defy the laws of gravity, rewind, and keep my feet firmly planted where my world is constant and certain. Yet, as I rapidly approach a new environment, I’m happy I made the long-anticipated decision. Adrenaline overtakes fear as I begin to see a new direction unfolding. Suddenly I realize that I had to forsake the solidarity of the land, no matter how faithful it had been to me, to truly embrace the adventure of the free-fall.
I’ve been wrestling with how to view this season of in-betweens, of hellos and goodbyes, of anticipation and doubt. I’m launching out of a season where I have had a vital role, where I have seen great fruit, and where I have had the privilege of doing things that I’m zealous about. I’m diving into something that is obscure, unknown, new territory; but I know it is God who beckons me there.
For a while, I viewed this decision to move to Thailand with Go To Nations as a sacrifice. I considered all the things I would be losing: the comfort of my home, close connection with friends and family, involvement with Illuminate Nations, the ability to be at birthdays, weddings, and Christmases, the option of being in Nepal, independence in ministry. I knew I would have to say good-bye to these things in a way and I weighed the value of this against the direction of the Lord to join the Go To Nations family. Until words spoken by a dear friend resonated with me, their reverb shaking my mindset and putting it into alignment with God’s will: “Shawna, you’re not losing something, you’re gaining everything.” Divid Livingston puts it this way:
“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”
The momentary decision to release ourselves from a place that lures us with comfort, and wholeheartedly accept a calling that makes our knees shake from fear, is something that many of us face in life; although some don’t even consider leaving their comfort zone as an option. Some don’t even approach the edge of the cliff, blinded to their potential by a mask of fear, content to stay where the ground will remain firm beneath them. Others stand with their toes on the edge their whole lives, longing to know true freedom and have their world turned upside down, but never actually conquering their fear. Still some hear their Savior beckon and just barely hesitate, counting the cost and evaluating the risks, but make the jump knowing that the victory they would experience far outstretches the danger of jumping.
So I don’t regret the leap and I lean into the fall.
God’s will is the best place for me to be. Period. I can trust that He is replacing my “good” with “better”. Every time. I know that when He asks me to obey Him and I take the risk and say “yes” to His call, I’m never losing. On the contrary, I am gaining everything.