Jump Out of the Plane (We Can't Go Back)
Look, I get it. I have lived the plane life before. It's comfortable, it’s convenient, and you even get a nice view every now and again too—but what if I told you there was more to life than that? What if I told you the plain, ordinary life you have been living could be radically flipped upside down—fish thrown out of the bowl and into the ocean, bird released from its cage, phoenix rising from the ashes—in an instant? Would you take that leap? Would you step into that transformation?
At the conclusion of the summer before my senior year of college, I was presented with that opportunity and I took it. I jumped out of the plane—literally. We went skydiving over Sebastian, Florida, and, wow, was it breathtaking to say the least. My words cannot even do it justice so I will be posting the video so that you can experience it for yourself. Sure, the plane ride up to the clouds was beautiful, but it was nothing compared to touching them, to feeling the wind on my face, and witnessing God's miraculous creation in a similar manner to the way He does every single day without the hindrance of a window to distort His view. Once you have touched the clouds and realized the sky is no longer the limit, you can never go back to your previous way of thinking or living again. A realization like that changes you.
Once you have touched the clouds and realized the sky is no longer the limit, you can never go back to your previous way of thinking or living again. A realization like that changes you.
Jesus' disciples had that realization after watching him skydive in reverse following their final moments with him on the Mount of Olives near Bethany and Jerusalem (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-12). After experiencing all that they had with Jesus, how could they ever return to their normal lives again? They couldn't! Jesus had only given them a few instructions about what to do next back in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20), but his followers followed them. He simply told them to "go" (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV), so they went. They jumped out of the plane and embarked on a journey into the new, working to take along as many people with them for the adventure as they could because that was the final part of the instructions Jesus had given to them.
I just graduated from college. At this moment in my life, everything is changing around me. I thought that moving from Indiana to Florida almost four years ago was my first attempt at leaping out of the plane, but I was so wrong. It was only my ascent up to something new, a season of preparation for what was still to come. Along the way, I witnessed many beautiful places from my window seat, met some incredible friends who were preparing to embark on adventures of their own, and learned so much more about this crazy ride we are all on together called life.
Sure, there was some turbulence along the way—isn't there always in life—but I found my people in the process, my tribe. They were the ones who calmed me down in the midst of the wind and the rain, grabbing my hand and reminding me that all storms eventually pass in this life. We do not get to choose our trials and tragedies on this side of eternity, but God somehow always finds a way to use them to shape us into the best versions of ourselves.
We do not get to choose our trials and tragedies on this side of eternity, but God somehow always finds a way to use them to shape us into the best versions of ourselves.
Without the trial, I don't know if I would have ever been brave enough to jump out of this plane that I have been riding for the last four years. I don't know if I would have had the courage to "go" if I had not first faced the tragedy in my story that was frequently in the back of my mind, telling me I was not worthy to go. But here we are now, standing together at this open door in the side of a plane, gazing down at the unknown and wondering what might come next, what it all might feel like, whether or not the people who made the ride up here with us are going to make the jump, too, or just stay in the plane. All I know is, once we make this jump, there is no going back. Why would anyone ever want to go back to living the plane life after experiencing a jump like that?
For myself, this jump means diving into a new season of life in the country of South Korea. God has been leading me to this moment for quite some time, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to go and love so many people on the other side of the globe. I will be working as a cultural ambassador through the Fulbright program, teaching English and working with North Korean refugees with the hope that they will be able to share their stories with the world one day.
This jump is different for all of us, my friends. For some, it is a jump that will take you across the world. For others, it is a jump that will take you across town, down the street, or even next door to say hi to your neighbor who you have never met before. What matters is that you take the jump. Leave the plane behind and dive into a life that is characterized by faith, hope, and love. God never intended for our lives to be plain and ordinary. Jesus told us to "go" and he made one last promise to his followers before finally touching the clouds for himself, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 NIV, italics added). Jump out of the plane, my friends. You are not jumping alone.