A few years ago I went to the Empire State Building. My sister and I, both the polar opposite of trapeze artists, decided to go out to the observation deck on the 86th floor. Aside from the fact that it was freezing up there, the view was paralyzing.
On that 360 degree observation deck, the only thing that keeps you from plunging to your death is a wall of concrete about 2 feet thick and a wireframe fence. To say that we weren’t exactly comfortable up there would be the understatement of the year.
It was difficult to fully appreciate the spectacular view because we were more worried about the little boy that jumped up on the wall and stuck his head through the gate to get a better view of the street. If I wasn’t so terrified for my own safety, I would have pulled him back to the ground and called child advocacy on his parents!
After a few minutes of feigning bravery, we had enough and scurried back inside for safety and warmth.
Safety Net Faith
Since resigning from my day job to take a dream job doing communications and IT at my church, I’ve had an opportunity to make the risk much safer.
I was offered an opportunity to stay on at my current job for an unspecified amount of time to help with the transition. They were asking for me to be available at least 3 days per week and to come into the office at least twice per week.
I initially asked for a bunch of money (because hey, why not?). They declined and offered half of my current salary. I was disappointed at first but then I thought, “We could really use the money”. It’s always better to have a bigger cushion if anything should happen.
The next few days I thought through what my schedule would look like balancing about 25 hours at each job. I knew I could make it work. Plus, I would make a few thousand dollars in the next few weeks which puts us in an even better position.
Then it hit me. All the faith it took to make the decision in the first place was waning.
I started worrying about money. Then I started worrying if things would work out. As I shared with co-workers what I was doing, I heard this more than once, “If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back.” I started agreeing with it too.
I heard myself questioning the wisdom of having such a small amount of savings. I HAD to stay on for a few more months because what happens if there is an emergency and we use all our savings immediately?
I was methodically constructing my safety net.
Minimized Risk or Minimized Faith?
There is a difference between risky and reckless. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two. The same people who encourage you to take a risk might be the same ones wondering why you didn’t take the proper precautions.
How do you know if you are reckless or faithful? How do you know if you are cautious or fearful?
There is no formula to answering this question. That’s the beautiful intricacy of faith. My faith carried me to this decision because I prayed about it and began to see opportunities open up. As soon as I focused too much on minimizing risk, I saw that it minimized my faith and I began to question my decision.
If I make every precaution to prevent failure, where does faith come in? How can I give God the glory if I make all the preparations myself?
I wonder if by being too practical, I lose sight of the miraculous. How many times in my life did I miss out on God’s miracles because I didn’t believe and made my own plans? More times than I can count. I decided that I don’t want to miss out on seeing God work any longer.
I rejected the offer to stay on at my job. I’m going into this new season fully committed without taking anymore precautions. I’m rejecting safe faith and taking a leap without a safety net.
I don’t want to miss out on the view from up high because of a fear of what’s below.