Jumping on Trampoline
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?

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  1. 1

    Deidre,
    I love the image of me jumping with God on the trampoline of life. That’s truly what it feels like stepping out into the unknown…but I need to remember He is jumping WITH me! Stepping into the world of writing has called me out of my comfort zone of being “unknown” to being “known” and by complete strangers. But, what better joy than stepping outside my comfort zone for all to be to God’s glory! Thanks for a wonderfully encouraging post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 2

      I think that makes all the difference — knowing it’s God’s trampoline, and that He started jumping first, and will stay right there with me, holding my hand into the stratosphere.

      Jump on, girlfriend! Jump on!

  2. 3

    “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!” I love this thought!! Yes, he often asks us to do what scares us most. I love and hate that! ;)

    • 4

      Oh, I so understand that love/hate relationship. And then, I think about how very much He has shown His love to me. Every. Single. Time. SO much love!

  3. 5

    Hello Deidra,

    The palpable nervousness that you were feeling is so well expressed, I felt my own stomach do a bit of a tilt reading that! I am at that moment in life right now, knowing that what I have been asked to do absolutely makes me feel like I am going to pass out, but the joy in it is knowing God is seeing the result of it before I even enter in. I trust Him…and yet you are so right, He does leave you feeling a bit breathless as you take on what He has commissioned. Keep reaching, and keep stepping…He is with you.

    Many Blessings to you in Christ Jesus,
    Brandi

    • 6

      Yes. Right back at you, Brandi! Keep reaching. Keep stepping. And jumping! In the big picture, passing out is a small thing. Right?

  4. 7

    Yes…God is asking me to participate in my life right now….my own God sized dream. I laid awake last night and repeated asking, “God, am I ready for this?”…and I feel so scared. I understand the dizzying, upside down throwing, jump He’s asking me to make. I’m not sure I can do it. I’ve been on this precipice a few times before…and each time, I’ve run the other way to my comfort zone…far away from my dreams and my own personal goal. But, He keeps bringing me back to this crossroads….So, I’m guessing I’m going to take His hand and start jumping. Thanks for this reminder.

    B

    • 8

      I don’t know if we’re ever really ready for what God has in store, you know? If we were ready, it would be less about God, and more about us. I praying, praying, praying, you take the leap this time, Brook. As my mom told me, “You never know what God can do, until you say ‘Yes’ to Him.”

  5. 9

    You seemed so relaxed. I mean, yeah, you were excited, wound up that it was finally happening, a bit astonished; but really, you seemed utterly at home up there talking.

    Thanks for jumping, and giving the rest of us a platform to leap from.

  6. 11

    uh, yes. This is totally happening with me right now. “a God-sized dream will push you to the very edge of your comfort zone. And it won’t always stop there.” Oh my goodness, yes!
    Can I really do this God? The dreamy part is fun, but this!? this is scary!!
    Seriously, you all can’t hear my heart thumping over here?
    You expressed the way it feels so well, Dee.
    I’m so glad you stepped out of your comfort zone and jumped on the trampoline with God on some things because it’s what many of us needed to get us to hop on too.
    Love you friend!

  7. 13

    I was just rereading my own post about the Jumping Tandem Retreat this morning. I am so very grateful that God placed the dream in you Deidra, because He knew you could be trusted with it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being pushed up on that trampoline…by God, by you, and by all the others whose hearts were synchronized with the possibility that a God-Sized dream is possible!

    • 14

      I think that’s such an important point — God-sized dreams are possible! Sometimes, I talk myself right out of the very thing God has set aside for me, simply because I don’t think it’s the right fit for me. It’s too big. Too small. Too itchy. But if it’s God’s dream, it’s most definitely possible. More than possible!

  8. 15

    “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.”

    I so needed this reminder! Thank you for this post!

  9. 17

    Love, love, love this Deidra!

    What’s so cool is that when God leads us outside our comfort zones, He’s not only ahead of us preparing the way, He’s also with us…ready to pick us up when we pass out, and hand us a wash cloth after we throw up. And when we’re all good again, He cheers us on and says, Let’s go!

  10. 19

    Oh, honey = you so NAILED that entire event. But then, that really has nothing whatever to do with your nerves/questions/concerns except that those are really part of the package when we follow God way out onto that limb. You are so right. You may lie on the floor and deep breathe, you may throw up, you may make multiple trips to the bathroom (my particular nervous reaction) for DAYS before the jump-off place (for me, before each and every sermon). . . but somehow, that stuff is a reminder that we don’t do this dreaming stuff in our own power, do we? Well done, Deidra. Well done, God.

    • 20

      And here, you get right to the heart of what is often most surprising: all of that anxiety, all of those questions, all of the concerns and uneasiness are part of the package when we follow God. It has taken me a while to understand this, Diana, and I’m not saying I do understand it fully. But, I think we often believe if we follow God, it’s smooth sailing. After all, this is GOD we’re talking about, right? So, when we find ourselves folloiwng God, and inching out onto that limb, it throws us for a loop when the wind starts to blow and that limb starts lurching and swaying in the gusts. Right then we have a choice. On the one hand, there’s our own strength and ability. On the other hand, there’s God’s strength and ability. And that, I do believe, is what He wanted us to understand all along.

      • 21

        Amen. And yes, you’re right — it’s GOD, right? Yes, right. But. . . it’s also US, right? And the nerves and all accompanying physical symptoms are part of being human creatures. (Also? they help remind us of our limits. . . which are oh-so-real, aren’t they?)

  11. 23
    Beth Williams says:

    Deidra,

    Wow@ Such poetic words!

    “We talk about God-sized dreams and sometimes I get lost in the dreamy prospects of the thing.” I, too get lost in the dreamy prospects of the thing. One of my God-sized dreams is to find a different job that pays well and that I enjoy. My other dream is to get a ton of house projects started and completed.

  12. 25

    Yes, yes, and yes! So looking forward to chatting over coffee soon :)

  13. 27
    vicki bell says:

    God sized dreams.please lord help me be open.still miss my ex help please.pressing on in my community,prayer,reaching out via book little book of great hope i have just written.

    lord i want to put you at the centre again afresh tonight,trusting and love you more than anything and any other blessings come from that.

    but o boy it is so hard as i love my ex still,god has been so faithful but there’s a part of me that still can;t let go of the dream for so long i have had to be married to share my life and faith and blessings to others with someone

    i’m rambling,tired,ahead of a busy weekend of prayer,i trust god draws me close,helps me,also helps me reach out to other people in prayer,i can’t do it, god can do it through me

    stey special ladies,stay close to christ, love vickixx

  14. 29

    I suppose. I’m brain injured. A trial regarding this is Tuesday. And today, in great fear, I had to see another doctor and its been five years…and I was scared. I cried. But what God is showing me in your post is Gwen I’ve not forgotten you in all your trials and hardships and snickers about you behind your back. I’ve sent you new people from your childhood this past week who protectively gather you in arms of pure Christian love. Ill be with You. You’re not in trouble. I’ve got you covered. And so I do not know as I’ve lived below poverty as my medical care well you don’t need all that. But just to know. He is comforting me in these days before Tuesday. A trial? Yes. Way out of my comfort zone. He will fight for me. Just stay calm. (Based on Exodua 14:14

    • 30

      He will fight for you. Yes. He will. And we will pray. These words of comfort you’ve shared are Truth. You are His, and He has got you covered. Completely. I’m praying you find rest in the comfort God is already raising up around you. Be blessed, Gwen.

  15. 31
    Deanne Badall says:

    DEIDRA ,

    This is inspiration for all. I needed to here this. In my busy busy life where I just want to give up when I have to come out of my comfort zone.

    I teach Public Speaking and Drama to teens at my church. So I am going to print a copy for each and have it a discussion. So thank you for covering what I am going to teach.

    And thank you for your lovely writings. Outside of my busy schedule your writings are calming and inspiring and a laugh.

    Thanks a Mil.
    Deanne from Trinidad and Tobago (the beautiful caribbean)

    • 32

      Wow! What a great job you have! I’m glad you feel these words will be helpful. After your class discussion, I’d love to hear more!

  16. 33
    Martha says:

    Really wondering what you spoke about that day… jumping tandem… ??? well I’m not sure if I’m glad I read this post or not. Made me think of something that happened when I was 16 (I’m about to turn 62!) and my PE teacher told me I was going to get on that trampoline or else… I chose the “or else” and went straight to my doctor and got an excuse out of PE for the next 2 years! I never got on that trampoline, and never looked back… until today. Your post arrived with another one about God asking you to do the impossible. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Jumping tandem, trampolines and the impossible… God? Are you trying to tell me something? :)

    • 34

      Sounds like God is up to something. Isn’t that just like Him? Just when we think we can settle in and prop our feet up on the coffee table, He invites us to something brand new; and in some cases, something He’s been trying for years to get us to try. I hope you jump this time!

  17. 35

    Wow, Deidre! That was awesome. I have been in a difficult place for me this summer – unemployed and not knowing where I was heading. I can so relate to what you wrote about. I tried getting back into the same school system that I left in March of 2013, but I believe that someone in the system is putting up roadblocks for me; so I am venturing in another directions – a different school system- and it really makes me nervous. I am trying so hard to let go and let God be in control. I am a math teacher and have just begun blogging at http://nalday729.wordpress.com/. My God-sized dream is to write for God. I first began in March of this year as I began writing about my faith and His Word in a local town paper and now blogging. I am new to writing, but it is so therapeutic. Thank you for sharing. I shared what you wrote on FB so my friends can benefit from it, as I did.

  18. 36

    The “in between” is a scary, uncertain, unsettling place to live. But, for some uncanny reason, God works really well right there. It probably has something to do with the fact that we are scared, uncertain, and unsettled. I am confident God has great plans for you, Natalie. Keep writing. Keep trusting. Keep following Him out into the center of that trampoline!

  19. 37

    Love seeing you in the water brave and happy as I now stand looking over the edge. You make me braver girl. Wish I could have been there.

    • 38

      Here I am, treading water in the deep end, watching with giddiness as you approach the edge of the high dive platform, getting ready for your triple flip dive! Can’t wait! It’ll be a perfect 10!

  20. 39

    Thank you for this post. I know those feelings. I must often repeat, “It’s all about God, not about me!” Are you planning a 2nd annual retreat? I did not know you hosted such a thing so close to the capitol city. Would love to attend one!!!

  21. 41

    And, sometimes, He does flips on that trampoline. Amazing, aerobatic feats that leave you in complete awe and speechless.

    Your gift of taking the every day and transforming it into words that we print out to read and share over and over is truly inspiring to us all.

    • 42

      Yes. Those flips of His are incredible!

      Dina, thanks so much for your kinds words, and for your friendship across the miles.

  22. 43

    Your thoughts on being brave, embracing trust, and just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other as we each make our way toward that calling – they are so needed right now. I can not tell you how comforting your words were, Deidra. Maybe it was the way you shared a calming strategy or the admission that you, yourself, were scared enough to want to upheave, but the words you wrote felt like they leapt right out of my own heart. I love how this community is united through words, that way. And encouraged by them, too. Thank you, Deidra. Thank you for writing.

    • 44

      I think it’s a big surprise to learn we can still be afraid, even when we know we’re doing what God wants us to do. I know it surprised me. I’ve read those stories about Moses and Elijah and Gideon and all the rest who were terrified as they walked into what God laid out before them. Someone, I gloss over their fear and zero in on their success. But God uses all of it to make me trust Him more. For the next thing (which turn out to be equally terrifying).

  23. 45

    The Jumping Tandem Retreat was one of many recent jumping off places. I have felt like a new believer lately – so fired up, And now, the peace is setting in and worship is more tender than ever.

    I love this post, and the sweet memories that comes with it.

  24. 47

    this. yes. I’m so glad for this. Your journey of being scared and where it’s brought you . . . I’m so glad for your sharing this.

  25. 49

    Yes. I have to move to a neighborhood where its dangerous, live with a family thats totally different then mine. It has taken every ounce to say yes bc i truly truly dont want to go. Im trying to see things from His persecpective but all i see is Him not understanding me or caring and its totally unfair. But im trying to have a good attitude but life does t make any sense and im pretty u happy trying to see the benefit after the cross bc right now it feels like my dreams have died

    • 50

      Alli, I hear you. When we moved to this town eight years ago, I was absolutely certain God had forgotten me. That God didn’t care about me at all. That God was mean. I remember actually waving my arms toward the sky and saying, “Hellooooo! Do you even SEE me here?” I don’t know all of the circumstances surrounding your move, but what I can tell you for sure is that God does see you. God loves you. God is with you. Always, and everywhere.

  26. 51

    Did you know God was putting a HUGE task in front of me, and I could feel my stomach flipping? Oh how I needed these words right now. Thank you so much.

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