I've walked past that spot dozens of times, but never really took advantage of it. At the state park nearby, there's a thin trail that follows the water's edge. As you walk, you come to a spot where a fallen tree hovers over the lake. It's thick enough, it's stable enough, and it's teasing enough to make me want to tip-toe on out. So I did. I went as far as my bravery took me, then just sat and stared and swung my toe across the water's surface. My bravery built back up then I ventured further. This process of settling in then venturing out brought me to the very tip--a place that teased me before now supported my relaxation and gave me a view.
I try to be the kind of person that lives darefully and recognizes that all my lack of bravery means is that I need to get used to the idea a little longer; I need to settle in and stare at where it is I'm trying to go. Eventually, I'll be able to head out. I think we are ready for adventure when we are brave. Little by little, fear becomes ever more clearly just cardboard I can knock down with my breath.
I don't think I would have a reason to be brave without Jesus and I definitely wouldn't have the desire to be brave. The ideas that chance and my own preparations drive my quality of life and where I'll end up are terrible companions. But thinking about the excitement and wonder which accompany Jesus wherever He goes helps me throw caution into the wind. Not only is He trustworthy, He is incredibly fun.
It's not always easy for me to see when I've outgrown my tank, but Jesus sees it and invites me into something new even a bit before I think I'm ready and way before I'm brave enough. But, that's the beauty of it; that's what makes it so relational. Responding to Jesus' calls will always require something of us. Part of that something is always bravery and always accepting adventure. By choosing Him and choosing to be brave, I've loosed fear's hold on me all the more.
Jesus isn't this polarized being. He isn't just the one that whisks us away on whimsy and growth or disciplines us when we don't steward our current task well. He helps us make the most of where we are. If that place is sadness, He is sitting there with you slowly undimming the lights so that your eyes can take it in. If that place is contentment, He is walking next to you commenting on how beautiful you're becoming. If that place is radical transformation, He is your coach cheering you on and giving you no reason to look back. I've had a pretty boring view of Jesus until recently, It's super unmotivating to see my Savior that way. So I started looking for the fun.
Here's a story that a friend of mine shared with me a few months ago. She said she was walking home from class and praying when she felt like she was supposed to go uptown. So she did. She walked into Bagel&Deli (an amazing bagel sandwich shop), and still didn't know why she was there. She begins to ask God why she's in this bagel shop in the first place. She hears God say, "I got this." She orders her food and she recognizes the worker. They chat a little and just as she's about to pay, the worker says she can just take it for free. My friend said, "God bought me a bagel today."
I don't know about you, but I believe in a God who takes His daughters on dates to Bagel&Deli just as strongly as I believe in a God who shows off resurrection power.
If Jesus is anything less than what amazes you, that's probably why it's been hard. He is easy to love when we look at Him straight in the face. And when we are in love with something or someone, it's easy to be brave and go on any adventure with them. Whether that somewhere is just a better view or to that delicious hole in the wall bagel place.
What I've learned about what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ, be reconciled to Him, myself, & others, and how to be His disciple.