Last year our family invested in a trampoline, and it’s provided a wonderful way to bond with the kids. It’s a form of exercise for us all, and when I’m tired or struggling, some ‘trampoline time’ always makes things better.
Today I was having a jump in the sunshine, and kind of flipped over near the edge. The beauty of most trampolines you buy these days is that they’re each sold with a safety net circling the perimeter, as was ours. There was no way I was going to fall off. But my reflexes kind of kicked into gear when I headed in that direction, and I stopped myself. It reminded me of my childhood, when I really did have to protect myself from jumping off the bouncy mat.
This made me think about the difference between perceived risk and actual risk. On the trampoline, I had a real-life safety net ensuring that no matter how hard and fast I jumped in the direction of the perimeter, I would not fall off. But in that moment, I still experienced an irrational fear that I would.
I wonder how many times we avoid doing things because of perceived danger? Because if there really was a safety net ensuring we’d be OK, wouldn’t that change the way we approached things?
We certainly can’t control everything that happens to us from one day to the next. But what if risking it all is really not that big a risk? What if, when we say we’re throwing caution to the wind, that ‘wind’ is a God that deeply loves us?
Because if we’re truly wrapped up in the love of Christ, in a living, eternal relationship with him… is there anything that’s truly too risky?
Now I’m not talking about being unwise, or not thinking things through. But I think it’s worth pondering whether it’s simply fear holding us back from making those big – and little – decisions in life… and whether our reasons for not taking the chances God might be asking us to are simply reflex responses to past pain or hurt or heartbreak. Perhaps you’ve fallen off a particular horse just one too many times, and the thought of getting back on is just too much…
I know that when people have let me down in a big way it’s been that much harder to trust the ‘safety’ of others. Disappointment, or trauma from abuse, can cause us to be deeply self-protective.
One thing I do know from experience is that Jesus’ relationship style is perfectly healthy. He won’t let me down, and my relationship with him is eternal. I firmly trust that he’ll lead me on the path he wants me to take throughout my life, though it certainly won’t always make sense in the here-and-now.
And ultimately, at the end of it all, he’ll bring me home to him.
On this earth, HE is my safety net. My rock. My firm foundation. My refuge in the storm, and my ultimate life guide. I have continual, around-the-clock access to his love, grace, and leading, and no matter how many times I try and do things my way, HE remains. Yes, I’ll probably continue to freak out on the occasions he asks me to do something big, or trust someone that might just let me down…
But if he’s always with me, through it all – and has a plan better than any I can imagine… then really, what have I got to lose?