Reflections of a ditch jumper…

ImageBe brave. Do not be afraid. Be brave. Holy Spirit has been prompting me with those phrases and speaking to me about fears in my life and constantly encouraging me to live a fearless and risk full lifestyle with the Lord. While talking to the Lord about some fears I had, He brought me to two verses:

John 14:27 “let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control

Again… Do not be afraid…I, God, am with you… Do not be afraid. Give everything to me, your fears, your doubt, your troubles, not understanding, your control… And trust Me… Trust Me…trust Me…keep moving forward and you’ll see I am there before you…I haven’t left you behind…you are brave … Trust Me … Trust Me.. Trust me

Overcoming fear and trusting reminded me of a little story. One Friday evening, a friend and I ended up exploring a near by monastery/vineyard after a fun trip to Chico (because we wanted to be a monk for an hour and check out of the vineyards). As we began to explore the monastery grounds we notice a vineyard off in the distance and decided to go walk around in it (take in mind it was dark). When we got closer to the vineyard we found an obstacle in our way and the hopes of exploring the vineyard were crushed (well…not really). My friend took his iphone out to assess the situation and it was a ditch, about 5 ft wide (maybe..) and full of water! Now, in my mind, I was done, obstacle in the way = not crossing and joy of frolicking in a vineyard at 10pm at night… vanished. While I was looking down the ditch to “see” (it was dark) if the ditch narrowed down the way, I turn back to say something to my friend and he had already hopped over the ditch to the other side!

Darn…now I have to…well I want to…can I do it? No I can’t…I’m scared…but he just hopped over…why can’t I just hop over…come on Sarah, be brave…it will be fun…but what if I don’t make it…what if my legs aren’t strong enough… what if my foot slips and I fall in the water…what if I totally eat it…that would be embarrassing…oh man…is there another way around…nope..aaaahhh…I can do this…look at the vineyard…it’s calling our names…it wants us to hang out with it…I can’t let my friend hang out by himself…I don’t want to be the party killer…my legs are strong…I can do this…wait….

The voice inside my head stops as I hear my friend is saying, “You got this, you can make it” and other very encouraging words. He reaches out his hand to help me. I begin to step across and He says, “Sarah, you have to jump”. OOOH YEAH!…at this point, I was shaking. I have NO idea why all this fear and doubt came over me. I knew I was physically strong enough to jump across…it was only 5 feet! I had this mental block and the connection between my mind and physical body was not connecting or agreeing very well. After a little pacing back and forth, my very very affirming, encouraging friend not giving up on me and me making declarations (in my head) over myself, that I can conquer my fears, I am a good jumper, my body is strong enough, etc. So, I went for it, took a risk and jumped. If I get wet and scratched up…it will make for a good story and I will have conquered the obstacle that was in my way from “my desire” and my goal of getting to the vineyard.

Now, I know some of you probably read all that and need to go take a nap because you are exhausted from my indecisiveness and probably thought, “Girl, just jump! It’s only 5 feet!”. OH I wish it was that easy for me in the moment. Honestly, I think it took me five minutes to push aside my fear and doubt and believe that what my friend was saying was true, that I could make it and believe in myself (Thank You Joe for being so patient).

After this excursion, I began to realize a few things about myself:

#1 – I take forever to make decisions! I thought I was a spontanous-decision-making person but looked back at other decisions I have had to make and saw that I stop…assess (for far to long)…and usually end up not crossing the obstacle that’s in my way because of fear and doubt.

#2 – Risk-taker, that I am not when I do not know the outcome. If I can see the big-picture and am familiar with the steps then I’ll risk…but is that really risking? If I risk…once I take a step, I have no control of what happens next…

#3 – Sometimes it takes me awhile to warm up to ideas. Ask my roommates, we will make a change in decorations in the house and at first…I do not like them…but then slowly I warm up to the layout/decorations and I am ok.

#4 – I still live with some fear and want to live with more freedom and trust!

Well, you may be wondering, did I actually make it across safely. The answer is YES! Once I put my mind to it, made the commitment, risked, I jumped and my friend was patiently waiting for me and grabbed my hand as I “hopped” over. Honestly it was exhilarating. I felt like I had conquered the world as I conquered jumping over the ditch! I looked back at the ditch and thought “hmm, eventually we have to cross back over,” but I stopped my thoughts before I started to assess again…I didn’t let my mind go there. I had already won. I wanted to move forward, towards our goal… to hanging out in the vineyard.

This has just been part of a journey the Lord has had me on with Him in trusting and not fearing. He is showing me what it means to risk with Him. How to not be afraid when there is an obstacle in the way as I pursue my dreams, my passions, my desires. I found that my thought pattern was, if their is an obstacle in the way of my dream/goal then it must not be God’s desire for me. Or if a situation didn’t play out as I thought it must not be from God. Or if my life didn’t follow the agenda I thought it should then it’s defiantly not from God. In the Bible there were a lot people who had obstacles, that seemed bigger then themselves, in the way as they pursued dreams and passions. Jonah lived in whale. Abraham had to leave home. Paul was put in prison. David had to fight Goliath. None of them let their obstacle get in the way of pursing what God had before them.

Tonight I heard a phrase, “If you want to see change…Get out of your comfort zone.” I had to get out of my comfort zone to change from one side of the ditch to the other. I had to believe truths about myself and not letting fear tell me who I was. “Perfect love casts out all fear”. God’s agape love, His perfect love, casts out all fear.

When you know what you want or where you are heading, yes, obstacles while come your way. You have to ask yourself, are you going to let the obstacles keep you from pursuing, even if it seems hard to over come the obstacle or will you risk and “jump” over the obstacle and let perfect love cast out all the fear? It may not be easy for all (you may take time to assess the situation), but also in the process surround yourself with amazing friends who believe in you and won’t let a “ditch” keep you from living your life.

I choose love. I choose trust. I choose risk.