Photo by JMacPherson
There is a bay window in a conference room at a certain retreat center on the Nebraska plains. If you lie on your back on the floor of this room, with the soles of your tall boots pressed against the baseboard, you can peek through the window pane. Chances are, you’ll see a jet plane fly across the clear blue sky.
You will wish you were sitting 35,000 feet in the air, with your seat belt securely fastened around your waist. You will wish you were anywhere other than getting ready to face a room of women who left their people, pets, and plants behind and saved their pennies and worried about whether or not they were packing the right clothes and would anybody talk to them and would they fit in and does Jesus really love them just the way they are?
You will wonder how a heart could beat so hard and fast, and yet no one in the hallway on the other side of the door peeks in and says from the crack in the door, “Ummm…is that your heart I hear beating out here?”
You will try to hold your breath. Then, you’ll decide deep breaths are better.
So, you’ll try to remember what you learned three decades before in that one drama class you took in college. You’ll try to make your body feel like butter melting into the carpet and you’ll listen for the sound of your own breathing as you count to four in silence — once to breathe in, and then again to breathe out, while you press your belly toward your spine. You’ll remember you’re supposed to pretend the air is filling all the spaces between all the cells all the square inches of your body, and you’ll try to smooth the skin between your eyebrows without lifting your hand from the floor. You will exhale slowly enough to calm the whirling dervish in your belly.
You know how sometimes God asks you to do the very thing that scares you most? You know how we sometimes say stuff like, “I want to let God be in control, really, I do. But what if God makes me move to [you fill in the blank] or something?”
Then, realizing what we’ve done, we look up to the sky, or wherever it is we think God is listening and we say, “Just kidding, God,” because we know the minute we tell God what we don’t want to do, it’s as if God takes special note of that and somehow works it into our lifetime schedule of events.
We talk about God-sized dreams and sometimes I get lost in the dreamy prospects of the thing. But if I’m honest, I have to tell you that a God-sized dream will push you to the very edge of your comfort zone. And it won’t always stop there.
Here’s the thing about the terrifying parts of following God and those God-sized dreams: Even though you’re so afraid, you think you might pass out and throw up at the same time, right where you stand, God is good, and God is in control.
God has a plan, and God invites us to join Him on the journey of seeing that plan come to pass. God wants us to be part of making it happen. I think, sometimes, it’s as if God is jumping on a galactic trampoline. He’s having so much fun, he wants to share the joy, so God reaches out a hand and says, “Come join me!”
Some of us climb up next to God right away; others calculate the risk and hang back a little. Then there are some of us who have to be pushed up onto the trampoline from behind — our friends cheering us on as we take unsteady steps across the trampoline’s bouncy bed. No matter how we get there, there comes a point where passing out and throwing up seem to be the only options.
That’s how I felt as I lay on the floor of that conference center last April, trying to get up the courage to begin the first session of JumpingTandem: The Retreat. The retreat was God’s dream come true, and someone needed to get it started.
So, I found my way to my feet, down the hall, into the gathering space, and out of my comfort zone, where 100 women waited to see what God had in store for them. All I can tell you, with absolute clarity, is that God is faithful. What God begins, God will see through to the end. God’s dreams and invitations are spectacular. They catapult you beyond your wildest imagination, and leave you trying to catch your breath.
You might pass out. You might throw up. You might find yourself staring up the sky, looking for a way out. But hang in there. Keep pressing on. God isn’t finished, yet.
Is God asking you to give up your comfort zone for a God-sized dream today?