One hot, summer day in Austin, a group of friends and I headed out to Pace Bend Park to go cliff jumping.
We started small – taking turns leaping off the lower rocks into the cold waters of Lake Travis before gradually making our way up to the tallest cliff.
The drop was at least 75 feet. One of my friends jumped, then another, and then another. I stood back, the pit in my stomach slowly growing larger as I waited for my turn.
When it was time for me to jump, I walked up to the edge of the cliff and peered over. Palms sweating, legs shaking, I walked back a few steps and took a few deep breaths. I wanted to jump off because I didn’t want to miss out on the experience, but I was terrified of what would happen once I was in free fall.
After a few minutes, I took one final deep breath, told myself to “just do it,” ran a few steps to the edge and jumped off.
I vividly remember the feeling of being in mid-air. At first, there was a rush of relief that I’d done it. The jump was over. Then, a few seconds in, when I realized I was still in the air and hadn’t hit the water yet, a rush of panic crashed over me and I let out a startled yelp.
I landed in the water, popped up to catch my breath, and shouted to my friends, “That was a lot farther down than I expected it to be!”
One year ago, my husband and I jumped off a cliff.
And it feels like we’re nowhere near hitting the water.
We took a risk and started a business. One year in, we’ve got more questions than when we began. We still don’t know how we’re going to land. When friends ask me how it’s going, my most common answer has been:
“It’s nothing like we expected it to be.”
We expected to be on solid ground by now. We expected to have answers. We had a plan, and we expected things to go according to that plan.
We didn’t expect to battle fear, insecurity, doubt and confusion as we have. We didn’t expect to sacrifice other desires. We didn’t expect for our marriage to be challenged. We didn’t expect our trust in Jesus to be tested.
We didn’t expect for it to be this hard. For the fall to be this long.
Call it naiveté. Call it life.
For us, it’s called free fall.
The thing about free fall is this: once you’re in the air, you’re there until you reach the water.
That sounds obvious.
What I mean is this – when you jump, you’re choosing to give up all control. And when you’ve been free falling for a while, there comes a moment where all you want to do is take the control back. But, you can’t. You’re in mid-air. There’s nothing to grab on to, nothing to make the landing come quicker or softer.
Maybe you can relate?
This is where Taylor and I are. And as we’ve been processing through how to respond, two options have become clear:
Panic or Trust
Fight or Embrace.
The truth is that we can panic, and try to fight the stage we’re in. We have. Unfortunately, when you’re in mid-air, there’s not much point in trying to fight gravity.
Or, we can trust that even though we’re not in control of the free fall, we know the One who is. We can embrace all the confusion, the unanswered questions, the uncertainty and let Him lead us to a place of freedom, believing that where we are now is where we’re supposed to be. We can trust that it’s good even though it’s hard. We can choose to believe that the promises He makes to us in this time are true.
I will never leave you or forsake you.
My steadfast love for you endures forever.
Fear not, I am with you. I am the One who helps you.
There are days where I choose panic, where I jump headfirst into the lie that being in control equals freedom. But the days I choose trust? Those are the days I feel true freedom. Not because I’m in control, but because I’m trusting my Wonderful Counselor, my Father, my Mighty God with how we fall, and how we will eventually land.
It’s so tempting for me to want to go back to the way things were – back before the questions and uncertainty. But then, what reason would I have to trust Jesus? If I’m in control, I don’t need Him.
So I’m (slowly) learning to embrace the free fall, to trust that we’re in the right spot even though it feels like we’re hanging in mid-air. I’m learning that me being out of control might be the very best thing.