Friday, February 8, 2013

A Leap of Faith

**Disclaimer** Blogger is having some technical difficulties formatting this post properly. Sorry for all the little quirks and snafus.

In order to counteract the wild cravings for carbs and cheese that I instilled with my pizza post I thought I'd broach a topic that couldn't be more unappetizing.

I'm thinking something extreme like, dare I say it . . . dirty diapers.

Okay, so now that we are all safely back on track with our New Year's resolutions let me explain why I have been thinking about diapers.

I have two little boys and we are currently on the very messy journey called potty training. Each morning when I am about to commence the rather undesirable ritual of the day's first diaper change my youngest son, Rafe, issues me a warning.
"Mommy," he says with a gleam of mischief in his cobalt blue eyes, points at fresh load he just emptied beneath his jammies. "Tinky, poo poo. Issa big one!"

**Sighs** Is there any other kind?

Though I can appreciate the heads up, it is obvious what my next step will be, and that it will be unquestionably unsavory. Sometimes we can anticipate exactly what’s ahead. Whether from previous experience, or from some general street smarts, the stepping stones are marked, expectations and consequences are clear.

 Though life can dish out its fair share of, um . . . poop, it's often the unknown that causes the most stink.

We've all heard the ago old adage "Look before you leap." Problem is, even when you look, sometimes you can't see anything. The next step might very well be firm and sturdy, but how can we know that? And without visual confirmation, how can we even be sure it's there? 

What if we misstep? What if we garner our courage, crest the edge of comfort, and fall?  So much in life is uncertain. Our dreams, our future, our calling. Though the Bible gives a great blueprint to build a life, we simply cannot know what plans He has drafted.

For me, writing was one of those unexpected additions to the building plan. I'd never taken a creative writing class. In fact, I'm fairly certain I hadn't even read a book cover to cover until college. I didn't grow up with fanciful visions of holding my own story in my hands--didn't know I had one to tell.

And when that light flicked on and exposed the frame work for a new addition--a new dream God was practically etching on my heart so I couldn't resist--I was scared. What if I step out, take a run at this thing and land flat on my keester? What if my heart gets wrapped up in the hopes and dreams that the next step could lead to, but I'm not good enough, my steps falter, my foot slips through and I fall headlong into disappointment and failure?

Sometimes God calls us to leap, trust, fling ourselves out into the dark scary void without knowledge of what's to come. 

For us writers, sometimes that means putting pen to paper, not knowing exactly where the story will go but forging ahead to form, shape, sculpt, dream what it could become.
Sometimes that means exposing the stories of your heart to criticism like contests or critiques. These are an 
unknown step, a shot in the dark--an opportunity to learn or even get the encouragement needed to boost you on toward your goal.

For me, that step is now called submission. Funny that it is called that. Appropriate, because with all the clamoring energy stripping your nerves bare, the weight of the unknown tossing your dreams on tumultuous doubts and what-ifs. I feel I am called to submit. Submit my fears, my hopes, the fragile thing that God is building within me. 
It may not be poured of impenetrable concrete or triple enforced with rebar. And your knees might wobble when you stand on the edge, but sometimes, God's not willing to give your dream wings until you prove you are brave enough to take that leap and risk the possibility of the fall before you can soar to new heights.
How do you know when you are ready to leap? What 
helps you step out into the unknown? And what things are holding you back?
Just remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don't see. 
Be strong and courageous. 
Don't let the enemy rob you of the beautiful hope of the 


Karen Schravemade said...

Amy, you made me laugh and then ponder. I loved your thoughts on submission. And that last line is still ringing in my spirit. "Don't let the enemy rob you of the beautiful hope of the unseen."

I needed this! I'll be reading it again.

Pepper said...

Oh wow!
From a load of ______ to God's plan for our writing?
How on EARTH did you do that, Amy?

This was a fantastic post. Faith. Trust. Hope. All the things God has planned for us, and all the things we must use to step out into His Call for our lives.

As Karen said, my spirit is still ringing with the thought of the word 'submission'. Boy, does that change my perspective about what's happening with my novel right now. It also helps console my quivering heart with the possibility of 'not now'.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Great thoughts today, girl. I find myself afraid and excited all at once for the future...but the unknown is still so scary. Thank goodness we have a God who knows the future and has it handled, right?

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

:)Karen and Pepper, I knew this subject might be a little heavy so I wanted to infuse some comedy where I could, and well, it was an oddly smooth segue!

I was thinking about where I was at on this journey and knew I needed this encouragement too. Who knew God could use my own words to encourage myself?

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I hear ya, Linds! Stepping out, taking that risky step can be truly terrifying sometimes. Plus, as we are human and fragile, so often we are driven by emotions. A lot of those emotions like worry and fear are not in God's plan for us, and yet, we fall prey to them anyway.

So glad you came by!

Ruth Douthitt said...

Cute post!

Yes, submitting a manuscript is my leap of faith, too. It is so scary to have a professional in the business read your work. But we must put ourselves out there...or no one will ever read our work!

As Christians, I think telling strangers or family members about Christ is scary at times. Taking that leap of faith is worth it in the end. It can lead to a person's salvation!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I agree Ruth! There are so many times when we are called to leap. But God is strong and faithful to always catch us! Thanks for coming by the alley!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanne T said...

Amy, you and I have walked part of the same road. :) I never thought I would one day tell people, "I'm writing a novel." I didn't grow up with hopes of holding my own story in my hands either. ;)

But, when God gave me a story to write, and He brought a friend alongside to encourage me to step out in faith and do it, well, who was I to say no? Okay, we have the boy-thing in common too. :)

I loved your words on submission. They stopped me and got me thinking about the truth of what you said. I'm so glad you shared your heart today. Now, when I get to the point of sending out my SUBMISSION, please remind me of them. ;) I'm praying for you today.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Jeanne, I am actually relieved to find another writer who hasn't been nursing the dream from infancy. ;) We are an odd breed!

And you can bet when God calls you to submission, that I'll be there to pray and cheer you on!

Anonymous said...

I know that I am ready to leap when I feel it's possible, but it is a bit of a stretch. It feels within reach. . . almost. Great post!