Does New = Scary? How to step out in faith with confidence

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Have you ever tried to do something new where the consequences of things going wrong would hurt?

One of my friends posted a video on Facebook this morning of her daughter jumping off the 10m diving platform for the very first time and she added the caption “My crazy baby jumped off the 10m platform tonight – Mummy recorded with her eyes closed”.

As a parent, I totally understand, because learning new skills, or doing things for the first time, or even watching our children do things for the first time can be absolutely terrifying.

Even when the environment is reasonably controlled – because my friend’s daughter has been taking diving lessons for quite a while and she’s quite good at it, and she had been advised by her diving coach beforehand, and the dive occurred in a swimming facility with a diving tower designed for that purpose and not at some rock pool at the beach – at the same time we know that there can be real consequences of falling, of making a mistake, or of slightly misjudging things.

And the bigger the leap that’s involved, the higher the stakes get.

This may seem like the way things are – the way our world works.

Change is a scary thing for lots of people.

For me, even the process of starting this YouTube channel has been scary – because while I’ve made plenty of videos for YouTube in the past, they have all been tutorial videos with voice overs.

This has been my first experience in recording video footage of myself, and of including faith-based content under my own name in the public domain.

It’s a whole different level to preaching a sermon in a church on a Sunday morning, because once you put something online – it’s potentially going to be out there forever, even if I delete it from my own channel.

I’m very aware that my online audience is from all over the world – so things that might be funny here in Australia might not translate very well in other places. I’m also a fairly private sort of person – I don’t share every minute of my day on social media.

My friends will tell you that I’m lucky to post anything on my private profiles in any given month. My own default way of learning how to do things is to practice like mad in private before I let anyone else see what I’m up to – and to have the final result be as close to perfect as it possibly can – and let me tell you,

I think I look and sound weird on camera. And there’s the ever looming possibility that people will disagree with what I’m saying, or that trolls will be vicious in their comments. But I’ve had to get over all of that and ‘dive in’ – because if I didn’t – I’d never have posted anything.

And if I didn’t post anything – or in the case of Thrive overall – if I’d never planned and hosted that very first bible study – there is a guarantee of failure.

I’ve got a sign on the pin board in my office that says “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”.

But what happens if my videos fall flat?

What happens if nobody watches them?

What happens if this has all been a waste of time?

If my friend’s daughter hadn’t been brave enough to climb the diving tower, she would never have experienced what it was like to jump off.

And if I hadn’t been able to get over myself and just post that first video – I would never have experienced the improvement that has come in the short space of a few weeks.

And you wouldn’t be watching this video – which would be a shame because what I’m about to share is BIG.

And you wouldn’t be watching this video – which would be a shame because the realization I’m about to share is BIG, or at least it was for me.

The world tells us that the only two results of jumping in the deep end are that we will either sink or swim – but that leaves us with a dilemma – because in order to learn a new skill, we need to go through a process of learning how to do it, and also of practicing that new skill many many times, before it becomes automatic and effortless.

So how do we learn a new skill in the circumstances where success isn’t guaranteed the first time we try things, but failure could be potentially dangerous?

Yesterday morning I had one of those mornings where everywhere I looked I noticed eagles.

There was an eagle in my bible reading, and I watched a few YouTube videos posted by different friends and there were multiple references to eagles.

So I decided to do a bit of googling about eagles and their behavior, and then I came across this eyewitness account from a birds of prey bulletin that was published way back in 1937.

It said

“Last summer while my father and I were extracting honey at the apiary about a mile southeast of Tliacher School, Ojai, California, we noticed a golden eagle teaching its young one to fly. It was about ten o’clock. The mother started from the nest in the crags, and roughly handling the young one, she allowed him to drop, I should say, about ninety feet, then she would swoop down under him, wings spread, and he would alight on her back. She would soar to the top of the range with him and repeat the process. One time she waited perhaps fifteen minutes between flights. I should say the farthest she let him fall was 150 feet. My father and I watched this, spellbound, for over an hour. I do not know whether the young one gained confidence by this method or not. A few days later father and I rode to the Cliff and out on Overhanging Rock. The eagle’s nest was empty.”

Now it might be an eyewitness account from a long time ago, but this story reveals an interesting truth.

The bible passage I was reading that started the whole eagle thing off – Isaiah Chapter 40, verse 31 – tells us that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

But I want you to notice something in this passage that’s highlighted by the behavior of the golden eagle – this promise of God doesn’t just say that we will soar like eagles. It says we will soar on wings like eagles.

The young golden eagle was learning a new skill – it was learning to fly – which, when you’re an eagle is a pretty important life skill.

I can only imagine how terrified this young bird would have been the first time it fell, a mess of flapping fluttering wings, dropping like a stone through the air – and the overwhelming sense of relief to be caught, unharmed, on the steady wings of its mother.

And notice this also – once caught up in the wings of it’s mother – the young bird gets to soar, not because it has mastered the art of flight itself (at least not yet!) but because it’s now soaring on the wings of it’s protector, of it’s savior.

So while the world might say it’s either sink or swim – God says step out … I’ll catch you if you fall and we’ll soar together.

So what is it that you’re stepping out into today?

What’s the new skill that God has been prompting you to try?

Whether you know what that is, and you’ve been avoiding it because of potential consequences, or whether you’re still waiting for that next step to be revealed – God wants you to know that he’s got you covered, and even if you do fall – he’s waiting in the wings to catch you, so that you can soar together.

But the whole process can only happen if you step out – if you start taking some action.

Until next time, blue skies!

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P.P.S. If you have a friend who might benefit from this message, make sure you take the time right now to share this with them!

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