A few weeks ago my best friend, sister and I went to Gainesville to visit our twin friends who go to school at University of Florida. It was so much fun going to visit them and being able to experience a college town again! There were tons of new food places to try, so many brick buildings (what I miss most about FSU) and lots of bikes…and scooters too! At FSU I was always way to afraid to ride a bike around campus, I just took the bus instead. At UF its a completely different story- everyone has cool, colorful bikes and scooters to ride around campus.
While we were there, they took us to the most adorable coffee shop, a vegan restaurant (where I had the best quinoa bowl), The Hyppo (the cutest gourmet popsicle shop ever, AND they have a location in St. Augustine!) and Blue Springs. On Saturday, we spent the day at Blue Springs and played in the pretty blue water all day. The crazy thing about springs and Florida is that the water is numbing cold. Not like cold pool water after a fresh thunderstorm but like real, up North, cold kind of water. It’s amazing and so refreshing. At the springs, they have this 20ft or so dock to jump off of. I’m pretty sure I was more excited than all of the kids at the park to go and jump off the dock.
We spent the majority of the afternoon jumping off of that dock. Taking a million pictures along the way. We might of had to fight off a few kids every time we wanted to jump.
I didn’t realize that from a simple jump off the dock, God would speak to me in such a powerful and visual way. While we were driving home, I was talking to my best friend about our fun day and life in general. During our conversation, God put an image into my head and helped me put two-and-two together by showing me this analogy.
The association between a jump and taking a leap of faith:
In a moment where I had complete freedom, I was stricken with fear. The fear to jump backward into the unknown.
You see, for most of us it’s easy to jump forward. We can see what is right in front of us. The 20ft drop, the water that will catch our fall, the people eagerly watching your every move just waiting for you to jump (or fail), the green trees in front of you. You have a small glimpse into the future and a pretty good idea of what will happen next: Bent knees, arms swing, faithful jump, freefall, plunge into the water, big splash.
But backwards. You have no idea what is behind you. You eyes are facing the past (your hurts, mistakes, desires, dreams). You can see where you’ve been and how you got to the spot your standing now. Backwards is fear of the unknown, fear of the future.
Inevitably the future will happen, it’s how we embrace it that matters.
I walk up to the ledge facing forward, wide eyed and ready. I have a glimpse into the future, and for a split second I can see what is right in front of me. I slowly turn around and face backwards. The fear is real but the future is now and I must embrace it.
I position my feet onto the ledge ready to take a leap of faith into the unknown. Paralyzed in fear, I doubt if I can really do this. Half of my foot is gripping on the ledge for dear life, the other half is hanging loose in midair. My body is ready, my mind is not, but I make a conscious decision to jump.
This is it. I get set, bend my knees, swing my arms and go for it. The moment your feet release from the floor, your body is jolted into the air. First upward, and then a free-fall downward. My body is spinning. At this point I have no control. Only to trust.
During that freefall, it feels like forever, trusting….falling….trusting….falling….then SPLASH. You hit the water. First your feet enter, then your whole body, until your head is completely emerged. Your body sinks quickly, eventually you reach a point where it can’t go any deeper. Then you feel your body start to rise. This time, it’s slow, peaceful and more relaxed. Less fearful than the jump.
You are patiently awaiting the freedom. It feels slow but you have faith you will reach the top. You sense that it is near, then WOOSH, your head breaks through. You take a deep breath. Your alive, your free. The fear is no longer behind you. There is a sense of freedom. You overcame the fear.
You realize that leap of faith wasn’t so bad, it was kind of fun, exhilarating….freeing! It fact it was so fun, you swim back to the stairs, only to do it all over again.
To trust God. To take a leap of faith into the unknown.