“Step Off the Edge” – Choosing Courage Over Doubt

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Friends, May, for me, encompassed new experiences that stretched beyond my wildest dreams.

From the incredible opportunity to attend Northwest Christian Writer’s Renewal Conference as the only student among numerous adults to planning my future to starting to drive places on my own, the Lord has shown the importance of this month’s theme in my life.

Taking courage even when we have no clue what the ramifications of doing so may be is incredibly difficult. Trusting God to provide and stepping into the unknown even when we fear faltering is always a test of faith. But I’ve learned it’s worth it.

As you all have probably gathered, my musings are inspiring heavily by my time steeping in the Bible. Here’s what I read this month:

  1. Psalms 52-86

Here’s what the Lord has been teaching me.

***

5/1: “Help, Lord, as I feel so incompetent. Lead me in increasing wisdom, discernment and courage. You are enough, and regardless of my actions, You reign above. Direction will come. For now, I choose to thank You, live to glorify You in faithfulness, and courageously love – all with You carrying me, of course, because without You I am incapable of any Christ-caliber love or compassion, let alone service.

5/2: “I am feeling nervous again about the future. But thank You, regardless, for the now.”

5/3: “Your love chases me down. And I can entrust my purpose to You. Help me do so.”

*Pre Writer’s Conference*

5/5: “Woo!!! I am so terrified. Yet I know this must be from You. This is such a big opportunity. Lord God, I don’t want to squander a single moment of it. And that’s what I’m scared of. That I’ll waste this opportunity You’ve given me. Equip me, Lord God. Help me seize every moment I can these next few weeks to prepare so I can glorify You.

‘Courage, dear heart [1],’ You whisper. ‘Walk through the narrow door.’ And that means stepping out before the giants without fear – walking off the edge into Your grace not because I am strong, but because You are.

You have been to me a fortress all of my life, and thus, I will trust You as You draw ever nearer throughout the days. Work in my humble offerings, Sovereign God.”

5/6: “I feel so powerless. Helpless. Tempted to stay within comfort. My offering too humble. But it was never about me and my feelings, was it? It is about Your love for us and Your power in showing it. With You I can be valiant. WIth You I can face anything.

Hallelujah, Awesome God! You sound a battle cry of aid for the broken.”

5/9: “Lead me, Father, and bridge my gaps. Ease my nerves as I grapple with change. May I be satisfied in You and rest under the shadow of Your wings, steadfast God, even as my world quakes. Help me cling to You, because You are the One who upholds me. You will make a way in my frazzled brain.”

5/11: “As much as my mind reels, I know You will guide me wherever I must go, and help me do whatever I must do.”

5/12: “I will tell what You have done for my soul – I am raised to new life.”

5/13: “This whole ‘conference’ thing is totally out of my league. But it isn’t impossible. As intimidated as I feel, I know You have plans that I cannot mess up.

You have brought me out of the fire into a place of abundance. I will be glad and joyful because of that.”

5/14: “Lord, help me rest in the fact that You don’t expect me to do everything, but what I do do, with excellence, grace, courage and dignity – all of which You bought for me through Your son. None of this is possible without You. You have given me this opportunity. I will do all I can to prepare, but ultimately, You will lead me where I need to be.

I can have joy in the new things, unknowns, hard things, struggles, sin fights… because You are the source of courage.

No stumbling of words, deed, or conduct can stand in the way of Your will.”

5/15: “You paint pictures of who You are in the world around me. You are worth praising, no matter what response the world has to me. No matter what is around the bend. My heart can revive. My heart can return to You full force with passion ripping through my veins and saturating my soul.

Lord Jesus, be magnified in me. That is all I ask.”

5/17: “Even in my doubts, You promise the opposite of a curse. You lift up my head, not cast it down. You give me wisdom, not confusion. You run towards me, not turn me away. You show me honor and ache at my pain, though I am so undeserving. Thank You, gracious God.”

5/18: “May I remember that nothing is too big to accomplish with You within and beside me.”

*During and Post Writer’s Conference*

5/19: “This experience, thus far, has been a lot about me. You call us, though, to love one another selflessly. Help me to keep my eyes open to the needs of others.

Guide me where You want me to be rather than where I feel I should be. For You do wondrous things, Lord. Even in the meek, humble, and woefully afraid and intimidated.”

5/20: “I trust You. I will wait upon You. Do the tasks You’ve given me to do with faithfulness, and trust You with the rest. You are the source of all guidance and discernment.

My task may seem wearisome, but with You, all is revealed. All is simplified. All is possible.”

5/22: “I feel like a baby bird on the edge of a cliff, just one nudge into falling.

But with You I don’t fall – I fly.”

5/26: “So often I forget what You have done in my search for what I don’t have. Thank You for atoning for our sins. That is the point of it all. Thank You for Your provision. I trust You, though I am so undeserving of such aid, to provide what I need for the coming days. Help me be thankful, loving, faithful and perserverant.”

5/29: “I want to make those who love me proud. I want to be someone who sits with the lonely kid – whether in reality or through my writing. And to do that, I need to put in the work. Lord God, help me. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them, by grace, through my work – as feeble as it is in the grand scheme of events. Guide me with Your Spirit.”

5/30: “I pray, Lord, that You would not keep silence in me. This month has been a whirlwind of new experiences. Thank You for helping me take courage. Continue opening my eyes, heart and mouth – always listening to You first, of course.”

5/31: “Time is flying. Am I going with it? Will I look back on the other side and be amazed at all You’ve done in and through me?

I believe so.

I doubt at times, but I believe so. Your strength is enough. Your peace is enough. Your courage is enough. And this month, that courage helped me step off the edges in my life again and again like a brimming pool of rainbow ink, splattering my life with the most beautiful color and light.

After all, what is life without taking chances?

Help me honor You, because You know all too well that I can’t do anything without You – yet with You, all things are possible.”

[1] C.S Lewis

***

Truly, we so often tend to conflate our ability with our own capacity.

The sky tonight has a haze of pink hanging in the air. I saw a rainbow earlier. A glimmer of hope. A whisper of grace.

There’s so much I want to do, yet I often feel so powerless in doing so. I have a feeling many of you feel the same way. And because of that, when we have the opportunity to do something outside of our comfort zones, outside of our circles, outside of our normal… we so often reject it. We reject the glimmer of hope. The glimmer that may just lead us right where God wants us to be.

Then it fades. The haze of pink darkens to a dense twilight. The rainbow bleeds into the expanse of blue sky. And it’s gone.

Fear won.

Doubt won.

Death won.

Pain gained the upper hand.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can declare, in the name of Jesus, Not today.

Someone can be the most prepared, educated person in the world, yet forget what is most important. Someone can nail the art of timing and scheduling, yet miss divine appointments. Someone can be the most fearless person people have ever met… yet be shaking like a chihuahua on a cold winter day when their time comes to step out in courage.

Our ability does not determine our capacity. We are capable of so much more than we believe because of the power of Christ.

Time is flying.

Will we go with it?

This world is bent on destroying empathy. Safety. Hope. Grace. Pure love. True belonging. And it’s easy to be bogged down by evil. I have been in so many ways lately.

But we must remember that the battle belongs to God.

He has been teaching me a lot about victory through the Psalms lately. Our God is powerful. Our God is incomparable. Uncontainable.

So what excuse do we have for cowering?

What are you afraid to do today? What has God put on your heart that you’re ignoring?

Change comes. We often feel unprepared. God often doesn’t work within the lies. When we’re on the cliff, surveying the beautiful view of the life we’ve built, we leave the broken behind. Sure, we must celebrate our personal victories, but it is only when we step off the edge and enter the valley to commune with the broken and shattered people of the world – fostering empathy, compassion and hope in the hearts of the grieving and enslaved – that we begin to discover the depth and importance of those victories.

Stepping off the edge is a process. And while the act of stepping off often is a single decision, a single choice to pursue or act, the process of falling is a complete paradigm shift. A complete change in the way we think and structure our lives. A complete change in the way we trust God.

But though the change is hard, it is possible. It is worth it. And we don’t have to fear losing the fight. Recessing. Falling the wrong direction. Because our God is a God of victory. A God of light. A God of beauty and hope. A God of love. And He will always catch you.

So, friend… please do it. Step off the edge into His arms.

Because with Christ you never really fall.

You fly.

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Published by Emma Haglund

I'm here for the strong ones. The perfect ones. The ones who have built walls. I believe in choosing kindness, because everyone is fighting a battle that nobody else knows about. There is hope for us. In Christ, we can all learn how to be gracefully genuine and authentic.

2 thoughts on ““Step Off the Edge” – Choosing Courage Over Doubt

  1. A DAY AND A HALF

    I went begrudgingly to my first writer’s conference without any expectations whatsoever. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Expectations change everything.” I believe that, but I also think managing expectations can be a change agent, too.

    You might be wondering why I spent a day and half at a networking symposium reluctantly and without presuppositions. That’s really a very simple question to answer on the one hand, but it’s also a quite complicated one on the other hand.

    The expectation issue is a simple rejoinder because it’s largely an extensional one; namely, I desire sincerely to experience the mystical and majestic hand of God on my writing journey without any expectations on my part. In other words, I want to my mange my expectations. I want Him, not me, to navigate my mind and hands when I write. Said differently, I long to pen words absent any preconceived notions on my part. The means at this stage of my life, writing is more about, “let thy will be done, not mine” and less about my abilities.

    And that leads me to why I didn’t want to go the conference in the first place. Why? Because I am a self made man — accomplished, successful, and very confident. It’s hard for a guy like me to sit in a writer’s conference learning and networking who has experienced success largely because of my unique abilities. But if you are a lover of the Lord, that’s the rub — that’s the conundrum because in our Gods’ economy, my will and the Lord’s will is largely mutually exclusive; ministry by penmanship has to mean less of me and more of Him. Paul leaned that lesson, too.

    Lewis was right; expectations change everything. In my season of life, I’m learning to surrender to the Lord’s will in my life, which is why despite my unenthusiastic attitude about attending a writer’s conference, God blessed me over that day and half.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MY HIDING PLACE

    When boys in a neighborhood played hide-and-go-seek and little girls entertained themselves at the game of hopscotch, there was a boy in Garden Grove, California who played without any friends under his bed. It was his hiding place. He hid there because every time the big bad wolf came home, he felt a chill deep in his soul. Fear and despair clawed at him, his throat caught, heart thumped with fear.

    When this boy fantasized about what he would do to the wolf, his heart ached and guilt sliced through his soul, the same brutal guilt he saw reflected in his night-darkened eyes. When he hid underneath his bed and dreamed what life would be like living with a family who loved him, or who would play sports with him, or who would say, “I love you, son,” he usually fought the big bad wolf in his nightmares.

    As the boy grew older and bigger, his hiding place got smaller, but it would always be the place where his fear and anxiety lived, and the familiar and comforting smells of safety would find rest in his troubled soul. Then one night — a Christmas night in fact — the boy slid out from underneath his bed, took the screw driver he sharpened into a deadly weapon, and waited for the inebriated and wicked wolf to come home. His face had contorted with such hatred so intense, he had actually sprayed the door with spittle as he shook uncontrollably. Tears threatening his brown eyes were as hot and fresh as they’d been for nearly a week, but he refused the overwhelming desire to cry because big boys don’t cry.

    But the big bad wolf never came home that night, so the boy crawled himself back underneath his bed then cried himself to sleep. Duh-duh-ding-ding-ding-ding-DING DING — the doorbell playing, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and woke the boy who just remembered he was invited to church just the other day by one of the boys on the block who never played with him. The ten-year old boy got dressed, brushed his teeth, searched the home for the big bad wolf, inspected the Christmas tree empty of gifts, then followed his friend into his mother’s car.

    The boy’s voice was raspy, heart tripping expectantly as he listened to the Lamb’s voice in church. The lump in his throat made speech difficult. At his seat, he muttered, “Is that you, Lord?”

    “Yes, my son, it is the Lord.”

    That started the boy. A strangled cry erupted from the boy’s throat before he managed to pull himself together. He plowed anxious fingers through his hair then said, “Lord, I am afraid of the big bad wolf.”

    “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Follow me, my son,” said the Lord.

    The boy let out his breath and heard something — a muffled footstep? What? Heart thundering in his ears,….calm down, he told himself, but couldn’t stop the sweet smile from spreading all over his young face.

    Resolutely, the boy stepped out of the pew, walked down the short pathway before hesitating slightly at the pastor who was standing in the front of the church saying to the boy, “The Lord loves you, son. Do you want to follow Him?”

    His silly heart ka-phlumphed painfully, and he had fought another burn of unleashed tears before he said, “I do.”

    The boy (David)

    Liked by 1 person

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