Reflections

Learning to Jump

When my daughter was a little over a year old, she decided that it was time to learn to jump.  She had been walking – and doing something that vaguely resembled running – for a couple of months, but she had never taken the leap, per se, to begin jumping.  One day she decided it was time.  She was enthusiastic about this new skill….but the trouble was that she couldn’t quite get her feet to leave the ground.

She would squat, hovering over the ground, and then thrust her legs into a straightened position (much like someone playing a Wii ski jump game).  Squat….stand….squat….stand….squat….stand….  Over and over she would repeat the same routine, grinning and applauding herself every time she returned to the full standing position.  It was endearing to watch, and we enjoyed more than a few giggles at her expense while she tried to figure out the launching part of jumping.  Leg strength or skill or instinct…something was lacking to take her from standing to jumping; until she gained whatever it was, she was destined to remain firmly planted on the ground.

For a toddler that’s a pretty normal state of being.  At that age, everything in life is still in the learning stages.  Everything is new, and everything is an adventure.  Everything is something to discover and figure out.  From the most basic to more complicated elements of life, toddlers exist in a state of perpetual experimentation, discovery, and defeat.  What’s more, they’re okay with that, celebrating even the smallest triumphs and try, try, trying again as many times as it takes to master something.

Adults, though, aren’t accustomed to that kind of struggle.  There comes a point when we, as adults, are just supposed to know what to do next.  We’re supposed to have things pretty much figured out, and popular opinion is that there just shouldn’t be any more of that awkward trial and error of childhood.  Adulthood is, apparently, supposed to be more about dreams fulfilled than about floundering and struggling to make a new dream come true.  When adults are faced with a challenge, we dig deep into our resource pool of experience and research and who we know to speed up the painful process of accomplishment.  More often than not, though, if it’s too hard, we will quit before pressing on.  Somewhere along the way, in the process of growing up, we lose that acceptance of trial and error…discovery and failure…frustration and triumph.

While adults are less often in a places of trial and error like that, it does happen.  I would bet that there are adults among us – right around you – who have only just discovered a dream that has long been dormant within their souls.  There are adults who are trying to figure out new paths for themselves, whether because of dramatic shifts in circumstances that require it, or because there is simply a path that beckons and will not tolerate being ignored any longer.  It does happen.  Adults do, sometimes, find themselves every bit as confused as a child about how life works and what to do next and how to get their feet off the ground.

I can say that with certainty because I am there.  I am so there.  My husband asked me the other night what I am hoping to get out of my upcoming weekend in Nebraska.  (I’m attending what promises to be a life-changing conference for God-sized dreamers.)  I thought for a second before answering, “I need to figure out how to get my feet off the ground.  I’m poised and ready to jump, but I just don’t know how to get my feet up and off the ground.”

There are a few things that I could say are holding me back from seeing the fulfillment of my dream of speaking and writing for a career.  There are different things that I could consider obstacles in my path….but willingness to go and do it is not one of them.  Some people feel resistance in their spirit when they feel a calling to an uncertain path; I feel only excitement.  I want to do this.  I have had glimpses of what life in God’s will would look like for me.  I know how good it feels to be exactly where God wants me to be, doing exactly what He has asked me to do.  I want more and more and more of that, not because it feels good but because I know it’s the thing for which I was created.  It feels good for a reason.  It’s why I was made.

Like my daughter, though, I just don’t know how to get my feet to leave the ground.  I just can’t quite figure this out on my own.  This is an uncertain path, to be sure, and it’s one that is different for every person.  What I hope to gain from my time away this weekend is simply how to be obedient to what I feel God has asked me to do.

Would you pray for me, please?  Please pray that I will be brave.  There are people I need to talk to and situations I need to be open to, and my introvert nature is more likely to want to take a solo hike around the campgrounds.  Please pray that I will be sensitive to the Spirit.  I don’t want to miss anything He has for me, and I think this time away is going to reveal a lot to me about my next steps.  Please pray that I will keep my eyes focused on Him, who He says I am, and the dream He has placed in my heart.  I fall victim to the comparison trap all too easily, and I know that when I am surrounded by beautiful, talented women my inferiority complex will come knocking.  Please pray, too, for safe and smooth travel (I’m traveling by myself for the first time in years) and good roommates (I’ll have three strangers for roommates, and that has me a little wound up).

Friends, I appreciate your support as I pursue this dream, and I covet your prayers this weekend and always.  I’m excited to see where this journey will take all of us as we go together wherever God wants to take us.  None of this is for me – it’s for God and His Kingdom – and I consider my greatest act of worship to be able to do this with my life.  I consider it one of the greatest privileges I’ll ever know to be able to have you with me on the journey.

And since we’re in this together….how can I pray for you? 

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4 replies »

  1. Oh, it’s going to be so very good to have you here with us. We are all shaking in our boots for one reason or another, aren’t we? I love that you’ve just put it out there. Can’t wait to meet you, Jessica. Can’t. Wait.

    And also? Your roommate (just one) rocks!

  2. Jessica, so proud of you for following God’s call. The Jessica I see will have no problem with each challenge she faces on this journey. I also understand your introvert nature. It is hard to quiet that inner self. You can do! I will be watching vicariously. I think I would enjoy doing the same thing.

  3. I am with you….I am praying for the Jumping Tandem group and I just know God is already working in the lives of everyone involved. I would be right beside you on the solo hike around the campgrounds btw. God is with you…..

  4. Oh girl. I am praying for you and WITH you. Every word. I understand. I do. I have a hand raised here. Yes. The comparing, the worry, the fear, the obstacles. I’m trying to figure it all out, even how to get my shaky self to the podium. … Shall we jump together, good sister? Two Jesus-sisters, along with so many others? We can do it. I believe it. Because I believe in you, and I believe in Jesus IN you! Two more days, Jessica. Love you.

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