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

 

Blooming After a Long Winter

I love Springtime. After months of barrenness, everywhere you look there’s evidence of new life bursting forth. Following a long, cold, hard winter, hope springs forth. New life begins to break through!

You may live in an area, as I do, where you don’t witness the dramatic seasonal changes; however, we all experience changing life seasons. Some happy, some fruitful, but other seasons will be sad, barren, dark and cold.

When our lives feel “dead” on the inside and there is no evidence of growth, no budding of life, how do we melt the frost crusting over our heart? Where do we go to find enough sunlight to help us pierce through the dark clouds shrouding around us?

Perhaps you’re currently in a wintery season, desperately hoping for brighter days and clearer skies. If so, Isaiah’s message is for you, my friend…

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!,… Isaiah 35:1-4 ESV

I love how Isaiah uses a crocus blossoming abundantly as his illustration. The crocus is among one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. In fact, crocuses are known to thrive in late winter and early spring because they’re hearty enough to break through frost and bloom even in light snow.

I want my life to resemble the heartiness, yet hopeful beauty of the crocus. A life that can endure winter and emerge to blossom without any evidence of the harsh climate it pushed through to bloom. A life that perseveres through wilderness and dryness to experience joy and singing once again.

Don’t discredit the hidden potential of winter. Buried treasures can be found there.

In fact, winter prepares the way for spring.

ON POINT

Wintery seasons will come. Seasons of loss, discouragement, fear and isolation.

But you can be sure of this – no season lasts forever. Winters will come and go, just as the fresh loveliness of spring will come and go.

When I look back at “wintery” seasons in my life, there’s something in me that wants to forget those painful seasons – to erase them from my memory, blow past them, dismiss them as a waste of my time. I don’t want to dig up the dark storms, lonely nights or relationships gone cold.

It’s easier to focus on the “happier”, more pleasant seasons – seasons of fruitfulness, warmth, clear skies and sunshine.

Yet, I’ve noticed that God has brought some of my greatest seasons of fruitfulness out of my wintery seasons.

Out of the frozen, dry ground, new life appears. On the bare trees, buds begins to bloom and once again, we begin to feel the warmth of the sunshine on our face, flowing through our bodies.

God has the power to bring beauty out of our brokenness.

Our lives have the incredible ability to flourish after a famine. New life can and will spring forth from the cold, hard lifeless ground. It’s hard to embrace the warmth and joy of spring when you’re winter has seemed unrelenting.

Perhaps you’re feeling as if your life is in a wintery season. Take heart, your life will bloom again. Spring will come and you’ll experience new life in a new season.

As Isaiah reminds us, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not!”.  Don’t lose heart. Persevere through the winter, trust God’s presence to be with you and strengthen you.

You may be asking, “How do I begin to move forward? What do I do during my wintery days?” Here are a couple of things I’ve found helpful.

  • Reach out to God. Dig into his word and allow the roots of your life to be developed in Him, not in your circumstances. Allow God to use this barren season to draw you closer to Him. It’s often in our most desperate, darkest times when God grows our faith and we learn to depend on Him.
  • Remember the promises of God. Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light. Wintery seasons aren’t absent of God’s presence and they don’t discredit God’s faithfulness in the past. This season will end. You will get through it.

He will make your life bloom again. He is faithful.

The temperature will rise, the ground will thaw and the beauty of new life will begin to bud.