THE BOUNDARY OF BEYOND

45200794455_ca0becb4eb_kSo what exactly is a leap of faith?

For me, it is the ledge on the boundary of beyond. It’s that ledge that defines the boundary beyond where we are, to where we want to be. It’s beyond playing it safe on our way to authentic living. It’s the place beyond wishful thinking, where aspiration meets reality. It’s beyond vision and passion to where we take purposeful action. It’s the place where; who we were designed to be, who we are, and who we want to become, converge. It’s a place of uncertainty and potential, hope and actualization. It is terrifying and inspiring in equal parts. Most of all it is a place of risk.

The leap of faith is that ledge we step off of when we risk doing something we aren’t sure we can do but want to do more than anything else in the world. It’s where we step out of the safe anonymity of the crowd and risk standing up for what we believe in. Even if it isn’t fashionable or popular. Even if it could cost us everything. It’s the risk we take when we leave the quiet shadows of mediocrity to be or become all God designed us to be. It’s where we decide, terrified or not, we will jump into the uncertain and unknown, because what lies beyond is worth the risk.

Take a moment. Close your eyes and picture that thing that stirs your soul to seek the boundary of beyond. Picture every detail you can, the sights, sounds, smells. Can you see it?

Perhaps you don’t know what your boundary of beyond is. What then? Maybe you have found yourself on the ledge but you’re not sure if it’s THE ledge, the one worth risking for. Are you on the ledge, caught in uncertainties grip? Should you look elsewhere? Should you backup and reevaluate?

For most of us the swirl of turmoil on the boundary of beyond causes anxiety. We worry over all the potential outcomes of taking a particular action. Past failures may lurk threateningly at the edge of our vision causing hesitation. We find ourselves immobilized by questions. Do I have the resources is need? Am I adequately prepared? Is there a backup plan? Is NOW the right time? Is this the right ledge?

How do we respond to all this uncertainty? After all we shouldn’t be taking a leap of faith for just anything, right?

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life and He will provide for you what you desire most.” (Psalm 37:4 TPT)

It is in God we find an anchor in the storm of uncertainty. Take His hand and the chaos of the uncertain will be stilled. When we make God the center of our focus, our souls soften to His leading. When we give God the right to direct our lives, He can reveal the tapestry of our heart’s desire. His Spirit will guide us to glimpse the vistas of purpose He has prepared for us from the foundation of creation. These are the vistas that will bring authentic fulfillment to our souls. If we delight in Him, the boundary of beyond goes from a place of uncertainty and risk, to the place where God introduces us to our hearts desire!

© Tamella White 2019

FACING FEAR

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It’s interesting to me how often events in the physical realm exemplify principals in the spiritual realm. My journey on the path of the Leap of Faith started on a canoe trip with my husband. The beauty of the White River and the countryside it flows through combine to make it a perfect setting for a float trip. About half way down the designated route, there is a large sand bar that serves as a picnic spot. We put in, found a spot among the throng of about forty people gathered there, and ate our lunch.

At this spot there is an old truss bridge that spans a deep section of the river. It’s a canoe trip rite of passage for those who float the White River to jump off the bridge into the river below. We watched as, one after another, people climbed over the railing and successfully jumped off the bridge into the water 25 feet below. I am not afraid of much, however, heights is one of my BIG fears.

I DON’T like being afraid. No decision I have ever made or action I have taken from fear has ever been a good one. So I take every opportunity I can to face my fears. A 25 foot drop is a good challenge, so we decided to give it a go. My husband jumped enthusiastically. I climbed tentatively over the railing, perched myself on the outside ledge of the bridge and prepared myself to jump. Unfortunately, I looked down. Instantly fear took over!

Try as I might, I could not move. I was stuck like a butterfly pinned to a display board. I couldn’t go forward and I couldn’t go back. The only thing my fear addled brain could determine for certain, was that I couldn’t stand there riveted to the railing forever. I either had to jump or climb back to safety. If I remained riveted there, I would eventually fall asleep and fall off the bridge. Admittedly not every leap is worth making; and I won’t argue the wisdom of getting up there. It does however illustrate what often happens when we step out on the Ledge of Faith.

Maybe you’re risking going for your dream job or giving up a secure job to pursue a calling with less pay but more purpose. Perhaps you’re going back to school at 50 to get or finish a college degree. It could be saying yes to a proposal even though you have failed at marriage in the past. It could be, being vulnerable enough to be seen without your protective facade and carefully crafted image, to risk being known and loved just as you are.

Whatever your ledge is, know that it will not come without fear. Remember the truly deep, inspirational question is NOT: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It is: “What would you risk doing even though you know you could fail?” Risk, by nature, involves the possibility of failure. Fear is a natural part of the equation. The key is in how you handle it. Do you let fear rule you, or do you allow faith to master fear? As for what happened on the bridge, that is a story for another day.

© Tamella White 2019

WELCOME TO THE LEAP OF FAITH

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What would you risk doing if you knew you couldn’t fail? It sounds like the kind of question you might get asked at a leadership training retreat. It sounds deep and inspirational.

Except it’s not.

It’s really an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ kind of question. It’s pure nonsense. If we knew we couldn’t fail, it wouldn’t be a risk. It’s only risk, if failure is a possibility. Perhaps the better question is; what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Unfortunately this question is no better.

We all desire to achieve. It’s in our DNA. And yet, there is something in the core of human nature that simply doesn’t value what comes too easily. It’s as though, deep down, we believe if it comes easily and without risk, it can’t be worth striving for. It seems there is an innate drive in human nature to seek out and live up to challenges. Do we need the uncertainty of success and the difficulty of the struggle to make us value the accomplishment? Can it be that success without striving isn’t achievement? Deep down, each of us has a passion that drives us to risk failing in order to achieve.

The word passion comes from the Latin word ‘passio’. Its original meaning is “to suffer”. This is why Christians referred to Jesus’ death on the cross as the “Passion of Christ”. Passion and suffering are linked. When we have a passion for something we will do what ever it takes to achieve it, even if we suffer in the process. This isn’t suffering in a sadomasochistic sense. The link between passion and suffering is more along the lines of tempering a sword.

To temper a sword you subject it to intense heat, followed by cooling. In between heating and cooling, the steel is beaten and folded and beaten again. You repeat this cycle over and over. This repetition transforms the steel into something that is strong, flexible and able to hold a sharp edge. It’s not an easy process. But, it yields good results.

Striving to achieve our passion can be much like forging a sword. Pursuing a passion can mean facing struggle, suffering and failure over and over. This process is not an easy one. However, it does prepare us for achievement. It forges strength, endurance and character. It sharpens and hones us.

So it would seem that the REAL question, the truly deep, inspirational question is; “What would you risk doing even though you KNOW you could fail?” What would you risk doing even though you WILL suffer to achieve it? What passion calls you to step out on that ledge beyond your comfort zone, beyond the safety of the familiar, beyond what you have mastered, beyond what you can control?

What ever that passion is, it will bring you to the ledge of risk. It is on this ledge that you will encounter your greatest opportunity and embark on adventure beyond your wildest dreams. However, achieving this, will mean leaving the ledge and jumping into the uncertain and unknown. It will mean risking suffering and failure. Be assured, it is WORTH it! Welcome to the Leap of Faith!

© Tamella White 2019