When I was younger, I used to get so wrapped up in my schoolwork that I would be sick with anxiety before a test, a project, or a huge paper was due. My dad would have to come up to my room, make me put my books down, and sit me down with him and mom, a bowl of popcorn, and a soda, and force me to take a step back and chill. My homework felt like such a big deal to me, and I was so scared of disappointing anyone should I fail (now that I look back, I was most afraid of disappointing myself, I am sure).
I am beginning to remember what those days were like. I have a big accreditation test today at work, and it has kind of been consuming me. It’s one of those tests where it doesn’t seem like there’s ever a limit to how much you could really put into studying for it. It has to do with design and engineering and construction…and my mind just does not function that way. I will paint you a picture, I will write you a little story, I will even make you dinner…but don’t ask me to memorize and and solve formulas. For me, solving formulas is much like enduring some kind of very ridiculous and painful torture (say, like maybe poking my eyes out with a hot poker).
This weekend, I was stressed out to the point of bursting into tears at lunch with some of our friends (sorry, Ron and Marty….). But Sunday afternoon, I sat down and made a concious decision to do what I could and not let this test get in the way of my sanity. I asked God to help me absorb this overwhelming amount of information, and to give me peace over the idea of possibly failing (or passing, of course). So I lay it down and finished my last couple days of studying.
And I’ve had a lot of peace about it. It feels really good not to worry. I don’t know why I do it so much. I honestly think I have forgotten how to jump. And by jump, I mean taking a leap of faith (not to sound cliche). I have begun to revert inward to my own abilities and my own strength to get through the tough stuff lately. Sometimes it works, but mostly it’s the mentality of, Well, I don’t have the time/energy/resources to do that so either I won’t or I will just stress about it until it’s over.
I think Cody and I are ready to leap again. We talked last night about how we have refrained from doing at least a couple mission trips over the past year because of circumstances or things we felt committed to here for the time being. And to a point, sometimes that’s ok. But we are beginning to feel maybe that’s not a healthy thing. There will always be something to keep us from taking that leap. And the pattern is starting to feel really old. It is time to really walk by faith, and not by sight.
It’s kind of like Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail. When Indiana goes to cross that canyon and it doesn’t look like there’s a path, he throws those rocks out and ALAS! There’s a path! I feel like I’ve been walking up to the edges of all these cliffs, and immediately shaking my head and walking away, assuming I can’t make the jump. The problem is, I never even checked to see if there was a way across. I just peered over the edge and let my flesh tell me it wasn’t possible. With God, all things are possible, but that won’t be the case if I don’t believe it. I won’t find a path if I don’t test it first, throw some rocks out there, or even just jump right off.
That’s the beauty of God and trust and faith. It’s not having faith that nothing bad will ever happen, or that I’ll never make a bad decision, or that I’ll never fail. It’s trusting that He will either teach me how to fly, catch me before I hit the bottom, or put me back together should I become broken in the process.
1Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.