There comes a point for many of us when everything seems to go from a sharp black and white to a dozen shades of grey. All of the things we once were so sure about in life now become up for grabs. All of our desires, beliefs, and convictions begin to seem a lot less resolute, and we begin to feel like the ground beneath us is beginning to crumble. We try to grasp on to something to give us that familiar sense of security, but it all seems to fall through our hands like grains of sand. Waves of emotion flow over us- fear and doubt are what we often first experience, but at the same time there seems to be hope and a nagging sense of joy.
In this moment we have a choice. A choice to close our eyes to the world around us that is bending and morphing and calling in to question everything we once thought we knew. We can resist the change and continue to dwell on things as they once were. This may give us solace for a time, but the reality of what we have seen, and known, and experienced will continue to call to us, gently pulling away our hands from our eyes and inviting us to gaze at our new reality. Our other option in this moment of transformation is to jump. To leap off the cliff that we once called home and drop into the raging river of our new reality.
The leap is always terrifying at first. Uncertainty plagues our minds with all of the worst possible scenarios. But eventually, terror gives way to exhilaration and exhilaration to joy and joy to peace. Because we begin to understand that no matter where we are going, this journey, this free fall, is worth it. To live life in this reality, where honesty, grace, and truth flow freely- this is all that really matters. We begin to understand that we may never again have certainty, but suddenly that feels okay. Certainty has given way to this strange sensation called faith- trusting that even though we have no clue where we are going, we have an odd sense that God is gently directing our paths and guiding us nearer and nearer towards home.
This is my life. This has been my life for a number of years and continues to be my reality. For some, what I have just described will signal that I have wandered away from the “foundation” of truth. Surrendering certainty seems like a sprint away from a God, who they believe is more concerned with us thinking “rightly” about him than about our relational experience of him in our everyday lives. For others, what I have described is exactly what you are experiencing. This surrendering of our answers and diving into the ocean of questions is the very place that you find yourself. And with me, you feel the constant clashing of anxiety and serenity, hope and fear.
In this time of transformation, change, questions, and searching, faith has been born anew in my heart. Faith has become my only way of life. Trusting completely on God’s gracious Spirit to be my guide, my source, and my sustenance through the valleys, forests, and deserts of life. And as I have been forced to surrender much of my certainty, God’s Spirit has continually guided me deeper in to relationship and trust in him.
Though everything about my life and my faith looks differently than it once did, I feel more filled with faith, hope, and love than I ever have before. And in this ever shifting world of grey, I am beginning to discover that it was never about getting all of the answers right and defending a set of propositions, but instead, it has always been about listening for the still small voice of God, pressing us gently in the breeze to take our next step. Make our next move. Say our next word. This is the life that God desires for us. Letting go of our certainty and trusting only in the reality that God is with us, guiding us, and beckoning us to know him more deeply through surrender, through taking the leap, and free falling in to the depths of the mystery that is our amazing God.
Are you with me?
This originally appeared on Patheos November 2014.