I Want to Soar but I’m Afraid of Falling

There’s an attraction at Disney’s California Adventure called Soarin’ Around the World where you’re in a flight simulator that mimics a hang gliding adventure above some of the world’s most amazing wonders.

During your airborne experience, you can actually feel the wind blowing in your face and smell scents like fresh flowers while you soar over majestic places like the awe-inspiring Alaskan glaciers and the incredible Iguazu Falls in South America.

You really feel like you’re being carried by the wind. Like you’re soaring.

It’s a freeing feeling and while I was there I decided I want to live like that.

Soaring

He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. Psalm 18:10

At least for the 5 minutes I was on the ride. Then my kids dragged me over to the Tower of Terror where you’re strapped in a seat, locked in a dark room and drop free fall for 13-stories.

It’s a lot easier for me to want to soar when I’m gently floating in front of a large computer screen and aware that I’m on a ride at a theme park that will end in about 5 minutes.

Although it feels like I’m soarin’, in reality, I’m in a room, sitting in a chair that is only two feet off the ground.

While I say I want to soar, I want to live with courage, faith and freedom, if I can confide in you, I really prefer to keep my feet on solid ground where there’s more certainty and I can control my course.

Because when the bottom drops out and I start falling.

Down.

All.

Thirteen.

Stories.

Well, then I scream, panic and really embarrass my kids.

When fear creeps in, my natural impulse is to tighten my grip on what I can control – my circumstances, my kids, my schedule, etc.. Anxiety level rises, my stomach turns, my neck tightens and I start calling my kids a zillion times trying to track them down and make sure they’re okay (another story).

I’m learning, though, when facing mountains of fear, when it feels like I’m free falling and there’s no way out, if I relax, take a deep breath and step out, God is faithful to lead me through my greatest challenges.

Because I don’t soar alone. He calls me out, but He comes along with me. And in the process, He changes me, teaches me to trust Him and I get to know Him in a more wonderful way.

Not a terrifying free fall bursting with fear.

I get to soar and experience the freedom and grace that comes when I live by faith.

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

Living for a Bigger Story

 

I love using the mobile app Waze to find my way around town. The calm, computer-generated voice gives me the assurance that I’m going to arrive at my desired destination. Every turn is anticipated, mapped out and scripted for me, highlighting where the accidents and heavy traffic are. Shoots, I’m even made aware of the upcoming potholes and unexpected objects in the road! It’s comforting to drive when I know there are no surprises in store for me.

But real-life isn’t like driving with Waze. It’s not like strolling through a flowery meadow or floating gently in a pool on an air mattress with a fruity iced tea in hand (you know, the kind with the toothpick umbrella containing the pineapple and maraschino cherry)?

God doesn’t guide us through life, whispering step-by-step instructions to us.

Rather, I’ve found real-life to more closely resemble climbing a rugged mountain or traversing a forging stream. It’s full of unexpected objects in the road, detours and last minute course adjustments.

And instead of using a detailed road map to direct our every step, we’re asked to use our faith and trust God.

For a person like me who has control issues, this can be troubling – even terrifying at times.

“Just tell me what to do, Jesus, and I’ll do it. Point me in the right direction and I’ll walk.”

But what do I do in the silence?

How do I walk forward when I can’t clearly see the direction I’m supposed to go?

How do I have faith when things are uncertain?

How do I trust God when I don’t see any evidence of results?

In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, we see two kinds of people contrasted: those who lack faith and those who have great faith.

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:5, 6

Ouch! Jesus goes to his hometown – the town where He was raised, the streets where He probably played as a kid, the families and friends He grew up with – and Jesus was stunned, shocked, amazed by their lack of faith. People whom Jesus knew, loved and cared about, didn’t believe He was who He said He was and that He was able to do what He said He could do.

In Luke 7, we see another interaction Jesus has, this time with a centurion (a Roman officer who was in charge of 100 men). The centurion had a servant who was sick and dying so he sent someone to go find Jesus to help.

So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. Luke 7:6-7

This man believed the spoken words of Jesus had more than enough power to heal his servant. What a huge statement of faith, especially when you take into consideration that this man was a Roman centurion and not even Jewish!

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:9

Two different times, Jesus was amazed. He was amazed at the lack of faith from the Jewish people He knew intimately and loved deeply and He was amazed at the great faith of a stranger who He didn’t know and had never met.

If Jesus looked at your faith – the great things you’re attempting, the bold things you’re believing He will do, your expectation for God to stretch you and use you in the lives of others…

Would He be amazed by your faith?

Do

Does your life point others to the greatness of God?

Or… would He be amazed at your lack of faith – limited by a small-thinking, fear-filled, self-engrossed, adventure-less life?

I desperately want my life to resemble a life of great faith, but if I am to be completely honest, I often reduce my life to become manageable, reasonable, attainable and pretty average. I follow my map, consult my budget, plan my timeline and believe for things that don’t require much faith at all. Really, they’re things I can probably accomplish on my own strength.

Oh, but God desires to stretch us!

To enlarge our faith, for God to be made so big in our life that others want to know about the God we serve.

Consider whose amazing faith your life better resembles – the Jewish people from Jesus’ hometown or the Roman Centurion?

When our faith is small, our focus becomes small. We look for answers instead of looking to Christ. We trust in our personal road map for our life instead of trusting God. We ask for things we think we need instead of asking for more of Him in our life. Instead of partnering with God and what He is doing in the world we bask in the comfort of our own minute, selfishly-focused perspective.

Does your life tell a bigger story? When the world sees my life, I want to be a reflection, not of what Kris can do in her own power and planning, but in the greatness of what God can do through a life that is fully surrendered and possesses amazing faith in an Almighty God.

Don’t live a smaller story – a story that tells about a safe, calculated faith.

Ask God to stir your heart to take a step of faith.

Who knows? Just maybe many months (or perhaps years) from now you will look at all that God has done and you’ll be able to trace back to this moment when God inspired you to believe Him for something that could not have happened without amazing faith being partnered with His presence and power.

 

Deep Wells & Living Water

Living Water final

Sometimes I find myself putting boundaries on what God can do because I see Him as I see myself – with scarce resources, limited power and finite knowledge.

When up against a difficult situation, I think, “This is way too hard.”

I wonder, “How am I ever going to get through this?”

And I figure, “I’m just not smart enough, strong enough, capable enough, don’t have enough (or fill-in-the-blank enough) to accomplish this.”

Sometimes I try to fit God in a box to understand him better. If I can’t reasonably figure out how a problem will be resolved, I consider the situation hopeless.

I can be quick to place limitations on God – on what He can or can’t do – primarily based on the limitations I have as a human being. I forget who God really is.

I fail to remember that He’s always been so faithful.

I lose track of His abundant goodness.

I take my eyes off of Him, failing to see His almighty power consistently at work in my life.

Our circumstances don’t surprise Jesus. They aren’t too difficult for him either.

He does, however, ask that we see him with eyes of faith. Eyes that will see beyond the natural and concrete, into the vast possibilities of what God is fully capable of doing and eager to do for us!

God is so much bigger than we can ever imagine. His power is greater than anything we have ever experienced.

He can bring water out of the driest well. His living water can refresh the thirstiest soul. His life can breathe hope into the darkest, deepest well of need you have.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

So instead of staring down into the deepness of whatever well you’re facing, look up and see the greatness of God’s provision.

  • How do you walk by faith when you don’t understand what God is doing?
  • Where are you finding yourself limiting God?
  • Where do you need His living water to refresh your life?