Hello, Cougar Family!
What is something you’ve always wanted to do but never tried? What is the reason why you’ve never tried it? Was it because you haven’t had the time? Maybe you didn’t have the resources? Or, maybe you were scared?
I hope everyone has something they want to try stowed away in the back of their mind. Whether others know about it or not, keep believing that one day you will have the chance. Maybe you should share with your family today what you’ve always wanted to do. You never know who in your family may have the same desire...you could try it together!
What’s something I currently want to do, you ask? This is going to sound super silly, but it’s true...I want to learn how to breakdance!
(I’ll pause while you are laughing...it’s pretty funny even to me! You good?)
This is something new to laugh about for the students who thought it was hilarious that I used to clog! Anything I can do to brighten your day while in quarantine!
Yes, I want to learn how to breakdance, but this isn’t about breakdancing. This is about something in the past I wanted to do and finally had the chance to do it!
SKYDIVING! Yep, skydiving!
I always wanted to go skydiving while I was in college and seminary. I would think about how fun it looked and hope that one day I could afford the $200 price tag to take the leap...pun intended! My opportunity finally came in the form of my bachelor party...the day before my wedding! You want to know what’s more nerve-wracking than getting married...skydiving before the rehearsal dinner!
We pull up to a little airport in Mulberry, Florida. We walk into the plane hangar to meet the guy who I’ll be jumping with. I was the first jumper of the day, so he told me that I didn’t have to wear the jumpsuit skydivers normally wear! Really? “Nah, you're cool,” the instructor responded when I questioned his decision. Oh boy, what have I got myself into?!?!
Then a car comes speeding down the dirt drive, doors frantically open, and a man runs into the hangar carrying his son. The instructor and camera lady fling everything off a table in the corner and lay the boy on top. The camera lady starts working on the boy's TEETH! WHAT.IS.GOING.ON??? The instructor comes over and says, “It’ll just be another minute...she’s a dental hygienist, and there’s an emergency.”
I’m questioning my decision at this point! I’ve already paid, but maybe I can get the money back! And by the way, what kind of tooth emergency can’t wait for a sterilized dentist office?? Oh my!
Then, the plane pulls up! The tiniest little plane you’ve ever seen pulls in front of the hangar and A CHILD steps out! WHAT?? I’m talking teenager for sure! Upon closer inspection of the plane, we noticed it was covered in stickers! And to top it off, there were no seats except for the one for the middle school pilot to fly the Lego-sized plane to my certain death!
But you know what, I was so nervous about getting married that I wasn’t able to make a rational decision...I was going skydiving! I put on a backpack-style harness and got into the plane. It was baby boy pilot, on-call hygienist camera lady, laid back instructor dude, and me.
We take off, and here is my prayer, ”Lord, if I’m not supposed to marry Sarah, then I know how you're going to reveal it to me!” Horrible right...but y’all, I couldn’t make this up if I tried!
As we ascend in the noisy plane, I ask the instructor how long the kid up front has been flying. “Oh, he just got his license a few weeks ago!” the crazy-haired, wide-eyed instructor said laughing! Yep...God has a better man intended for Sarah, and He’s taking me out to give her a fair shot at things!
Then, you aren’t going to believe this, the instructor passed gas in the miniature aircraft! He laughed hysterically, and I almost threw up. Talk about a nervous stomach filled with the nastiest smell on God’s green earth...I wanted to jump right then! The solution...they opened the sliding door on the plane to let in the fresh air. Jesus, I’m coming home!
It’s time to jump! With a wave, the camera lady jumps out saying, “See you in a minute.” The instructor looks at me and says, “Alright, let’s do this!” He pulls me up to him, connects our harnesses, tells me not to put my head forward, and leans toward the green pastures below tumbling us out of the microplane. We free fall for a few minutes...the loudest sound you could imagine...and then camera lady flies over beside us! She films for a moment and then zooms away and the instructor pulls the cord. Then, the quietest, most beautiful experience I had ever experienced. I could see for miles and miles. It was amazing! And just like that, it all had been worth the crazy roller coaster experience...smells and all!
I’ll never forget the experience I had jumping out of that airplane, but to be honest, the story leading up to the jump was the most memorable. I can remember almost every detail about the hangar, the “professionals” involved, the feelings I was experiencing, and one particularly scandalous picture stuck to the plane!
The journey was just as important as the main event. I can look back on that particular journey and have sour feelings because of the craziness, or I can laugh at the obstacles it took to accomplish the goal. So, therefore, it’s not just the journey that is important, but how you perceive the journey and how you let it shape your mindset.
Mindset was the topic of our elementary visit from The Ned Show in chapel early in the school year. We learned “The Power of Yet” and why it’s important to say “I haven’t been able to do it yet” instead of “I can’t do it!"
It was such an amazing message of persistence that would resonate with anyone of any age. Students left with a feeling that they could accomplish anything if they put the effort into it. They also learned that they’re going to experience trials and obstacles as they work toward goals because it’s part of the journey. When one of my kids says, “I can’t do that,” I immediately remind them of this message and their attitude changes. I pray they grow up always believing this truth and never give up on something they value accomplishing.
So, I ask this question? What is something you’ve always wanted to do spiritually? What is something you would like to know, or do, or a way you’d like to grow?
Maybe it’s a certain Bible study you’ve wanted to do, or a prayer journal you’ve wanted to start, or a devotion series with your kids, or a prayer chain with your friends. Maybe you’ve been wanting to find a new church, or start attending church, or start tithing, or start praying. Maybe you want to take a Bible class, or learn Hebrew, or do a fast. Maybe you want to start a relationship with Jesus because you’ve never really committed your life to Him. It’s different for each of us. What is it for you?
Maybe you haven’t done that thing you’ve always wanted to do, but you can’t give up. Never think it’s too late, or impossible, or not accomplishable, or too hard, or too dumb. Never be afraid to desire to learn a new skill, or try a new sport, or experience a new culture, or challenge yourself with a new extreme adventure. Never think you are alone when you want to remember scripture, pray harder, love more, and know Jesus more. We must all have goals to try new things, especially in our walk with Jesus. You have to try new things so you have a story wrapped around the journey leading to the main event.
As Jesus' followers, life is the journey and heaven is the main event. We can either enjoy the ride, as bumpy as it may be or let the craziness of life stop us from moving forward and taking the leap. Your mindset of faith in Jesus will help you through all obstacles in life, but you have to know where you’re headed to begin the journey. Do you know the location of your ultimate destination or are you stuck in the hangar second-guessing your decisions?
So if you want to sew, or learn to ride a horse, or travel through Europe, or learn the art of breakdancing, or maybe you want to do an in-depth study on Revelation, or start a non-profit, or learn Latin, or lead a Bible study. Whatever you want to do, don’t let the words “I can’t” stop you. Don’t let this crazy world give you a sour taste that keeps you from moving forward. Know you can always learn, grow, and make a difference! Don’t find an excuse, find a way! You can do it because Jesus isn’t done with you yet! He never gave up and neither should you!
1 Peter 1:18-21,"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God."