“This is a fatal activity.” That’s what the video told us as we prepared to jump out of a plane on that mild August day in 2015. We had already signed the waivers, but just in case we wanted to turn back the man on the video wanted us to know we could die from skydiving. But at this point, nothing would hold me back from living out the adventure of this dream. For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of going skydiving. Something about free-falling through the sky and flying like a bird through the clouds left me in utter awe and desirous to jump and fall.
Just two days earlier, I handed in my letter of resignation to the executive director of the organization I was working at as a lawyer. A decision that did not come easily or lightly. A decision that I wrestled with and fasted over. But a decision that ultimately would set in motion a season of wonder and absolute dependence on God. I had no clue what would come next in my life. I know that God had called me into full-time ministry, but I had no idea what that would look like. But I was being obedient to the call of God. Being obedient to God’s radical invitation to surrender everything. Being obedient to taking up my cross and walking the death walk with him. Being obedient to this fatal activity of following Christ into the unknown.
Here’s what a lot of people don’t say when they talk about following Christ: “This is a fatal activity.” It’s not fatal because we die a physical death. In fact, physical death has no sting for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, because he overcame the sting of physical death when he went to the grave and rose from the dead. But it is a fatal death in the sense that we do have to die to ourselves. We have to die to our dreams, our goals, and our hopes. We have to die to our education, our titles, and our positions. And in all honesty, that kind of death is painful. Walking the death walk is painful. But our light momentary afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17) and in this fatal activity we free-fall into what’s eternal.
While the plane elevated higher and higher into sky, I watched as the trees, houses, and cars became smaller and smaller. I replayed Hillsong United’s “Touch the Sky” in my mind and allowed myself to get lost in thoughts of how gracious God is towards me. The moment came. 10,000 feet above sea level. I was so lost in thought that the instructions to hold onto a bar at the front of the plane were lost on me and I accidentally grabbed the steering wheel the pilot was holding to fly the plane, titling the plane a little bit. And then just like that, the weight of the professional skydiver who was flying tandem with me caused us to free-fall out of the plane. This is the ultimate trust fall and it’s with a complete stranger.
The fatal part of the activity is the tension of the free-fall. I wasn’t just falling. Free-falling through the winds takes skill. And even though they taught us a few key positions that we needed to know for the sky dive, free-falling required me to rely on the skill of the person I flew tandem with, because he knew how to navigate the winds.
In my own story, I’ve had to learn to trust that the professional skydiver I’m falling with, whose name is Jesus, is navigating the winds of this free-fall. I’ve had to learn to trust that I know the positions and can hold them steady, so that he can guide us through the winds, through the clouds, through my uncertainty about when it will be the right moment to lift the parachute.
The most fatal thing we can do is trust Jesus.
I’m not talking about trusting him with one thing here and one thing there while we hold on tightly to other areas of our lives. I’m talking about trusting him completely. Dying to everything that we are (and everything we think we are) and trusting him with everything. I’m talking about not just singing about surrender on Sundays, but actually living surrender in every area of our lives.
I’m not all the way there yet. There are moments when I can’t even sing the songs about surrender, because I understand the death blow those words inflict on my desire for control. (In fact, “I Surrender” just randomly popped up while I’m writing this and I needed to pause writing to really let those words sink into my soul.) But I have learned and am learning to trust that I’m free-falling with a professional skydiver, that I know my positions, and that He knows the exact moment to lift the parachute.
There’s a reason they call it free-falling. It’s because if you allow yourself to feel it, you feel so free. The wind pushing against my face. The spit from my open-mouthed laughter wetting my face. The 60-seconds that felt like time was suspended. The pure wonder of it all. Free-falling.
One of the parts of my personal vision statement is building people up to become the God-designed version of themselves and to fulfill their specific calling. As I mentioned in my first post, I’m writing a book and in line with this part of my vision statement, the book is designed to stand alongside you in a practical way towards finding your voice. At the end of each chapter, there are practical questions and activities that serve to help you in the process of self-discovery. I figured I’d continue making that vision a reality here on the blog as well, so that this can really be a journey that we do together.
Color You _____ Moments
- What is a radical invitation that you feel the Lord has extended to you? How are you responding?
- What is the hardest part about trusting God for you?
- What areas of your life do you feel like you’re free-falling? How can you choose to enjoy the free-fall instead of flailing through it?
In the tension together,