The smallest thing can change your life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance (or faith or intention) when you least expect it, sets you on a course you never planned into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That’s the journey of our lives, our search for the light, but sometimes finding the light means you must pass through the deepest darkness. -The Lucky One
Several years ago, I attended a leadership retreat for the purpose of team building, yet now as I look back on what I learned through that experience, I have discovered some even more important life lessons I had gained through those days in the mountains.
One of the activities we participated in was the “trust jump.” Harnessed, safety-roped and held by a fellow worker, we were instructed to climb up a pole to a small platform barely large enough to place your feet. From there we were told to leap off and grab onto a trapeze bar dangling just out of reach which would demonstrate our “trust” in the instructor, rope, apparatus and co-worker.
Even though the bar was only a couple of feet from my outstretched arms, standing precariously on that shelf twenty feet in the air seemed as if I was miles away. I can still remember the fear, doubt and indecision I had in not knowing if I would be able to jump far enough, if my hands would be able to grab hold of that cold steel bar, if I would have the strength in my arms to keep myself from falling, if the safety rope would be able to catch me should I miss or if my co-worker would let go in retaliation of some past disagreement.
These thoughts and uncertainties are not much different from those I sometimes face each day in my life and with my dreams today.
I feel like I’m on a fairly firm “ledge” in life, albeit precarious at times. I have the saving grace of God, incredible family and friends, and amazing opportunities, yet despite that foundational stability and a history of past “leaps” resulting in fruitful endeavors, I still struggle with letting go and stepping off at times.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
This verse alone should be enough for any of us to trust our desires and dreams to the Lord.
Most of us would whole-heartily acknowledge He has our best interest in mind and knows the plans He has for us. However, when it comes to jumping off of our (somewhat comfortable) perch or letting go of our (safety) rope, many of us wait until we are assured of the next step and can visibly see (or hold) that next rein before letting go, oftentimes too late (and missing that opportunity).
Our actions become based more upon calculated, self-determined moves rather than faith in His plan and taking intentional steps towards it.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).
This verse is one of the most prayed passages in the Bible. Some of us pray it at meals, sing the lyrics at church, or recite it before competition. Even many “non-believers” know the words verbatim as a result of their catechism upbringing.
However, most of the time when I hear this passage recited, it is done in a solemn, monotone, almost “Eeyore-style,” downplaying or silencing our voices on the word “thy.” It has become a verse some of us have grown to “neglect” or (unintentionally) “reinterpret” over the years.
Recently, I was challenged to “revisit” this age-old passage and consider if I honestly (and subtly) substituted “my” in place of “thy” in my heart or mind? Was I living my life concentrated on living “thy will” or am I more focused on living “my will”?
It’s easy to say I want His will for my life, but am I accepting (or jumping at) it when it comes or do I circumvent it with what I want, what I can comprehend or with what’s more “comfortable?”
I have heard it once said, “It’s not the shepherd’s job to get us home. It is ours as a lamb to follow.”
One of the biggest injustices we allow ourselves is to seek a life of total contentment. This mentality causes us to seek the wide common “my” road, not “thy” road.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14).
What I have found in my journey and witnessed in others is God does give us the desires of our heart often in a bigger way than we could have ever imagined, but we sometimes delay or derail it if we aren’t obedient to the little things along the way.
Oftentimes we don’t see how an obstacle, broken relationship, dissatisfying job, inconvenience or mistake at the time is actually something that will help us grow closer to our dreams. Instead of sticking with a situation or taking a chance just because we don’t clearly see where it’s leading, we miss out on an adventure or opportunity we were meant to experience which would have led us to where we were supposed to be.
Trusting God in “thy” will also means trusting His path to get us there and letting go of ours.
My “tiny” leap in the big picture of life doesn’t seem like much, however, many of these jumps in the course of a lifetime adds up to a life lived to the fullest taking advantage of every break, not allowing obstacles or others to deter you from where you could be.
Everyone has their own destiny, not everyone makes the choice to follow it. -The Lucky One
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.