Taking a leap of faith can sound fun and exciting, but when we face the fear of trying something new, leaping can be very difficult.
The 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair was a teenager’s dream come true. It was filled with history, delicious food and fun attractions from around the globe. I bought a season pass and spent most of the spring and summer exploring and wandering through the fair’s exhibits with friends. One night while enjoying dinner at one of the fair’s patio restaurants, a typical summer storm rolled in; a deluge that soaked the sky and showed no sign of subsiding.
As we watched the rain pour like a waterfall on the landscape, we had to decide how to return to our car. One of my friends suddenly suggested…”Let’s just go for it and run in the rain!”
Making the Decision to Take a Leap of Faith
Each of us quickly analyzed our options and made a decision. We glanced at each other and one by one flung ourselves out from the safe shelter and into the rainstorm.
We had the courage to run in the rain that night for different reasons—some for adventure, some to fit in and others to not be left behind. But we all courageously took a leap.
After the initial shock of the cold moisture hitting us, we ran, danced and laughed with only the dark sky and pouring rain surrounding us. People watched us from a distance as we paraded by drenched. It felt awkward at first but then we felt free, empowered and exhilarated.
It quickly became clear that before “Going for it” we had not realized some potential problems with our spontaneous decision. Most notably, my friend’s dad would not be thrilled with soggy, wet car seats. We never regretted our experience, as we removed a layer of wet clothes, found a few towels to sit on and drove home.
In my life, a “Just go for it” mentality has been rare which is probably a good thing, but taking a leap of faith requires us to be thoughtfully decisive and not be paralyzed by indecisiveness.
I still remember the feeling of deciding to run in the rain instead of standing on the sidelines that hot, summer night in New Orleans.
Trying Something New
What holds us back when we feel God calling us to take a leap of faith? What holds us back from saying something, from trying something, or from being something that is new and uncomfortable?
It is usually fear mixed in with a lack of confidence, misplaced expectations, discomfort, and procrastination. Just like the initial shock of cold rain touching our skin, the anticipated challenges and uneasiness deter us.
Fear can Prevent Us from Taking a Leap of Faith
Since fear is at the root of these obstacles, let’s address three big ones:
Fear of Failure
We limit ourselves and don’t pursue callings or changes in our lives because the fear of failure is greater than the benefits of trying. We think it is better to not try at all than to fail. If we feel called to a new venture, if we have prayed, analyzed the cost and sought counsel, it may be fear that is holding us back.
Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Fear of Judgement
We feel others won’t like us or what we are pursuing. We worry that people will criticize or simply ignore our efforts. That night when we ran through the rain so many years ago, onlookers watched us dance along the way – it seemed others wanted to join in but may have thought, “What will people think?” If others’ criticism is our greatest barrier, remember God calls us to rise above judgement of ourselves and of others.
Romans 14:12-13: “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
Fear of Missing Out
We feel there may be something better that we will miss if we are involved in our current pursuit. This fear sounds frivolous to some, but “FOMO” can be a real hindrance to experiencing God’s best in the here and now. We should be led by a confidence in the best decision for us and not by looking around at the best decision for others.
Mark 11:23-24: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large.”
We need to recognize our fears and tell them to “go jump in the lake” so we can fulfill our purpose.
I believed for a long time that the mountains Jesus referenced in the book of Mark were literal mountains, but now I believe the mountains are challenges in our spirit that hold us back from walking by faith. Fear is the Mount Everest of all mountains.
It is never too late to take a leap of faith and discover what we are called to accomplish!
Related reading Overcoming Obstacles
“For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.”Proverbs 2:6-8
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write about inspiring faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she developed ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.