The summer I was twelve, I decided it was time to learn to dive off the high dive. I’d been jumping off the high dive for some time, but I’d never had the guts to hurl myself face-first from such a height.
I’m not sure what inspired me that particular summer, because truth be told, I’m four parts scaredy-cat and only a small part daredevil. But I’d made up my mind. And in any case, I’d told my little brother my plan, so there was no backing out now.
One hot August day, at the church picnic, I decided it was now or never. So right after polishing off a plate heaped with fried chicken and Jell-O salad (oh twelve-year-old stomach of steel, I miss you!), I found myself making the wobbly trek up the ladder.
As I stood with my toes curled around the edge of the diving board, looking down at the pool below, I had three nearly simultaneous thoughts:
- How come the board is so much higher from up here?
- I want to do this big, scary thing.
- I don’t want to regret not doing this big, scary thing.
And then I dove in before I could change my mind.
It was, in equal parts, thrilling and terrifying. (I’m sure it was pretty ugly too, but thankfully these were the days before Facebook and Instagram, so no one has any proof.) To my happy surprise, none of my body parts broke or detached on impact. When I got to the surface, I was still my old self.
Only I wasn’t. I wasn’t really any stronger or better or older than I’d been before I jumped. But I’d learned something about myself. I could do scary things. I could jump and not break. And that was worth more than the dive itself.
I just turned in my manuscript for a book (a real book! which will allegedly have pages and a cover and everything!), and it felt for all the world like a dive off the high dive. It is thrilling and terrifying in equal measure.
I know I’m not the only one with knocking knees right now, and I wonder: What big, scary diving-board adventure is awaiting you? Are you trying to get the courage to take that first step up the ladder? Or are you right at the edge of the diving board, trying to muster up the courage to jump in?
I want to encourage you today: Whatever you’ve been called to do, dive in. Don’t let your fear stop you. Yes, there will be times when your stomach is queasy and you’re wishing you’d passed on the second helping of fried chicken. But there is no thrill quite like plunging into the God-sized adventure you’ve been made for. You were made for this. Dive in!
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
– Jill Briscoe
In case you want details, here you go! The book is called I Was Blind (Dating) But Now I See: My Misadventures in Dating, Waiting, and Stumbling into Love. It’s due out February 2016. If you want to find out more, you can visit me at www.stephanierische.com.
Stephanie Rische is a senior editor of nonfiction books at Tyndale House Publishers, as well as a freelance writer for various publications, including Today’s Christian Woman, Today’s Christian Living magazine, Marriage Partnership, and her.meneutics. She and her husband, Daniel, live in the Chicago area, where they enjoy riding their bikes, making homemade ice cream, and swapping bad puns. She has several little princesses in her life, including her much-loved nieces. She blogs at stephanierische.com.
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