When was the last time you jumped into a puddle?
I don’t mean walking into one, gingerly hoping your socks stay somewhat dry. I mean starting about 10 feet back so you can gain some momentum and then leaping full-bodied into the air. There are distinct feelings associated both with the moment of leap and the wet slap of your feet on the ground when landing. This reflection, however, is primarily concerned with the feeling that arises at the moment of leap.
Recently, I had to make a really big, tough decision. At the pinnacle of my angst, I called up an old friend. “I was driving today, and I thought of you.” I could tell she was smiling through the phone when she said, “Oh, yeah?” I relayed to her that I had a huge decision to make, and I remembered that she and her husband are very good at decision-making. In particular, they are very good at taking big leaps of faith. I figured a quick phone call would help some of that rub off on me.
“Well, where are you in the decision process?” she asked. “Will you be making pro and con lists and thinking about every angle all weekend?” I shook my head and said, “No, I’m more at the stage where I feel like God is about to tell me to start running. I’m at the stage right before I think God is going to ask me to leap.”
When I hung up the phone a short time later, I realized that until the exact moment I said it out loud to her, I hadn’t realized how far I was in the discernment process. Ignatian discernment has many critical steps. We are invited to get all the necessary information, have the important conversations, weigh the pros and cons. We are invited to pray all along the way. But the part that has always been the hardest and yet always the most rewarding for me is the moment I’m invited to leap.
I feel like I’ve been standing 10 feet from a lot of puddles lately. Some are inviting enough that I’m ready to jump right into the awaiting joy, but most of them have me fearing perpetually wet socks. I feel like maybe it’s better if I stand safely away from these puddles and remain eternally locked in my pros and cons. But I know I’m not meant to stand safe and dry forever. I know God wants me to leap eventually. God wants me to risk the wet socks and the discomfort and the uncertainty, because God knows that if I just trust, the joy of the leap will be indescribable.
I can’t get to that joy of catching air until I get going on that running start. None of us can.
If you are stuck on dry land right now looking at that puddle ahead, I invite you to start running with me now. Let’s have a little faith and leap into all God has waiting for us.