I stood on the safe dry land staring out at the hunk of rock rising 40 feet above the ocean. I knew I wanted to do it — actually, I wanted to do it so badly. I simply couldn’t process seriously going for it though. I knew the risks, but I also knew my capabilities were at least strong enough to match those risks. Only 100 feet of ocean separated me from conquering a feat I knew in my gut I would regret passing up. The weight of what if’s began to crush me and I felt myself slowly stepping back from the idea. It was now or never; I either committed immediately or I knew fear would take the victory. So I tore my shirt off and dove in.
As I swam to the small island of rock, the waves asserted their dominance and reminded me who was really in control. Approaching the side of the island, I had to be very careful to time my initial climb with the rolling of the waves or else I would find myself slammed into the battle sharpened and unforgiving rock. The newly opened gashes in my arms and legs winced and scolded my brain for the less than perfect timing it decided on, but I made it out of the water and began the climb to the top.
I slowly maneuvered my feet around the uneven surface and made steady progress to the summit. With each step I made I started wondering why I thought this was a good idea in the first place! Doubt started kicking in and my stomach was beginning to feel a little uneasy, but before I knew it I had arrived. There I was, standing 40ft above the ocean on the tiny surface of this patch of rock, taking in the sight of seemingly never ending ocean to my left and safe, comfortable, and, at this point, quite desirable mainland to my right. I could feel my heart beating in my chest like it was auditioning for a marching band. There was only one thing I could do at this point. I took a couple breaths, said my prayer, and I jumped.
I resurfaced triumphant, although I had taken in a small amount of water and started coughing. The swim back to the shore seemed two times longer now and I was starting to lose faith in myself. I gave it my all, just kept going, and before I knew it was on dry land again. I turned around to reflect on what I had just accomplished and felt the rushes of adrenaline, joy, and success come over me. To some, what I had accomplished was nothing, but to me it was a grand undertaking that I was proud to say I had gone through with.
Standing back on land where the idea all began, I knew it was worth every ounce of risk. It was worth every ounce of challenge. It was what I wanted to do and what I knew in my heart I needed to do. I took the plunge in the midst of a myriad of unknowns and prevailed. Often times this is exactly how God interacts with us. He gives us a glimpse of what is possible, He plants a seed of curiosity in our hearts, and He gently fans a small ember in our souls that we ultimately have to decide to engage. It is up to us to step out and start the journey.
Our greatest moments are rarely easy. We have to overcome the fear of doubt and jump into the waves. We have to finesse our way onto the rocky islands while controlled by powerful waves. We may time it well, but we may also get bloodied in the process. We have to conquer the fear of new heights and the paralysis that precedes the big jump into the unknown below. We may take some water in, but we have to keep swimming. It may not be until then that you realize you just did one of the most amazing things in your life, but if you don’t even try you’ll never ever find out.
What plunge is God asking you to take?