When You're Scared to Jump

She stood on the top rung of the ladder at the deep end of the pool with her little life jacket on, working up the courage to jump in. I stood on my tip toes in the water just feet from her with my arms up, ready to catch her. But I wasn’t close enough. In fact I’m sure that in her 4-year-old perspective I might as well have been standing on the other side of the pool.

“Auntie, come closer.”

“You’ll be fine. I’ll catch you and you have your life jacket on.”

“Come closer.”

And so I inched forward, not wanting her to change her mind about jumping in. I knew she’d have fun if she just tried it. I counted to three and she flew toward me with a clunky splash. She loved it. So we went back to the side of the pool so she could jump again. And for the next few jumps she didn’t realize that I was inching away from her each time, encouraging her to jump a little farther. Eventually she noticed.

“Auntie you need to come closer.”

“You’ve been fine this whole time. Come on, jump. I’ll catch you.”

“Come closer.”

And so I moved closer again for a few more jumps until she moved on to a new activity (or my arms got tired, I don’t remember which came first).

It can be pretty scary to take a leap of faith. I can be so much like my little niece being nervous to jump in the pool, and I can see God kind of like the one in the water gently coaxing me to jump. It’s like this: God asks me to take a leap of faith. He equips me with His Word, loving people in my life, His own presence in the Spirit, and He tells me to jump. Instead of jumping I ask Him to come closer – remind me why I can trust Him, remind Him why I know better, tell me exactly what’s going to happen if I jump. (Please tell me you ask God these questions too.) God holds out His hand and promises I’ll be fine. He reminds me that He loves me and knows what’s best for me. I hesitate. He lovingly encourages. He points me to His Word. He brings people into my life to encourage and guide me. He gives me forgiveness and grace. And eventually, hopefully, I jump…

And I realize that as scary as the unknown of what’s ahead can be, it’s not so bad knowing that my Jesus is right there ready to catch me. Unlike how I slowly backed away from my niece in the pool, God doesn’t back away from me when I’m scared. The beauty of taking a step of faith as a child of God is knowing that we don’t have to ask God to come closer – He’s already right there. God gives us challenges, but He doesn’t back away to let us fend for ourselves. Somehow, in His own mysterious and amazing way, He is our life jacket and the arms reached out to catch us.

I’ve had a bunch of instances in my life where God asked me to trust Him, to follow Him. Maybe you’re in the middle of one right now. Are you standing on the side of the pool, unsure of what will happen if you jump? Maybe it’s a move, a job change, an exciting opportunity, a career shift, a relationship – whatever it is for you, know that God is there with His arms up and ready to catch you. Here are three verses that have helped me remember God’s promises when I’m about to take a leap of faith – I pray they can help you too.

(God placed Joshua as leader of the Israelites after Moses died. He was charged with going into battle and claiming the Promised Land that God promised would be theirs. God promised to be with Joshua, and commanded him to follow God’s laws super closely.)

(David wrote this Psalm. God called him a man after His own heart. If anyone understood the highs and lows of life, it was David – and he still thanked God!)

(I love the imagery of the safety of a fortress in battle. We have that strength in the name of Jesus. We are safe with Him.)

Are you ready to take your leap of faith? God is ready to catch you!

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