There my little girl stood… on the very edge. I was waiting in anticipation for a moment of triumph, iPad in hand, recording and ready to show the world the newfound courage of my little girl. The suspense built as she looked down into the deep expanse of the pool, infinitely deep in her young mind and infinitely dangerous. She appeared to be ready to jump, then she hesitated. She continued to look down. 30 seconds later…1 minute…2 minutes…I could almost hear the data clogging up my iPad. No level of encouragement was talking her off the edge now, not the instructor’s or the line of swim class students waiting on her. Defeated, she walked back to the ladder and climbed down.
As a parent I thought, “All it would take is one jump, just one, and she would be free of her fear. She would permanently be braver just moments after a singular decision. She could live in the joy of that courage.” My heart hurt for her. On the drive home I asked her about why she was afraid. Even at 6 years old, she became immediately defensive. She knew, or more accurately sensed, that something about that moment defined her and she didn’t like it.
During our Lent services we are focusing services on sharing our message of hope in Jesus Christ with others. No doubt, there are some who would rather go off the high-dive into a baby pool. Before we even attempt to have these conversations, we can turn our message of hope into high-pressure moments of anxiety. It’s as if we stare so long into the deep abyss of fear that we forget about the power of God’s message, the movement of His Spirit, and the glory of His victory. Instead of living in the freedom of bravery and courage, we turn to the ladder and climb down knowing the truth- that we are defined by that decision.
I get the sense that God’s heart hurts for us. That on the other side of one decision, just one, the decision to share the message that we’ve been given, we would live in the joy and courage of that decision. We would be defined by it and love every minute of it. It would feel like freedom and victory, but only if we make the decision to get on the board and go.
Just before her next practice Eowyn looked at me and with confidence said, “I’m going off the diving board today.” I responded, “When you get up there, don’t hesitate. Get on the board and walk right off the end. Don’t stop. Don’t let the fear get to you. Go right off the edge.” That’s exactly what she did. She didn’t stop jumping off of that board until the instructors told her she had to. That night she returned home as someone new and she felt it. She was courageous and victorious.
Come to the edge with us. Jump off. Live in the knowledge of victory and courage that defines you.