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Sing a Little Closer {Leaping Lessons}

{Thoughts on falling and jumping I read here inspired this post}

We’ve all awakened from a “falling” dream.

They scare us. Our hearts rush to a wild beat while we lay on sheets and wonder: what was so frightening? We shift heavy bodies on soft beds grateful we didn’t land and shatter in the dreamscape, uncertain who or what might have saved us from ending the fatal fall.

I can’t remember once waking, trembling from a jumping dream.

When standing on a cliff or open airplane door, the danger–inevitable and uncharted–is the same whether one jumps or falls. But jumping requires preparation, posture, a bit of a plan. Falling requires two things: you and the open air.

Jumping requires adrenaline. Falling requires something more akin to clumsiness.

Jumping requires analysis. A decision, forced, hurried or flawed, but a decision nonetheless made in response to a situation that requires an answer now to the question, “Should I stay or should I go?” Falling requires little more than stumbling.

Jumping requires courage, the kind that’s mustered up and bound together like a package of firecrackers in the soul, ready for a spark. Falling requires desperate grasping at air on the way down, eyes shot through, white and wide, hands reaching for anything to hold.

Jumping requires one to let go, turn and leap. Falling requires losing hold, losing sight, losing it.

I tend to be a faller. Fallen. Falling.

Falling is more my style; jumping requires too much of me and promises far more in the way of danger, excitement, reward than I can handle. I safely stave off the adrenaline rush and stay seated on the sidelines.

I remember trying to cliff jump into Medical Lake when I was twelve. My new royal blue one-piece was a size too big, so my self-conscious arms wrapped round my knees as I sat on a flat, warm rock in rigid terror. I was younger, smaller, less experienced in myriad ways than my companions of the day. I had tried to be brave, older, sexier, interesting, but my desire to be desirable or even teenaged became crimped by overwhelming fear. I would have turned over my new training bra in an instant to see my mom’s metallic brown 1978 Thunderbird drive by slowing enough for me to grab my towel and jump into the safety of its plush upholstery. I glanced back toward the road several times. No luck. My friend, and fellow-fearer, took my hand and whispered, “Let’s get this over with.”

Hand-in-hand we jumped together until the flying separated our flailing hands. Honestly, it felt more like falling. The water met us with a cold, unyielding slap, a dark rush of wet, black, overwhelming fear. Finally, I opened my eyes and saw sunlight through the algae-green murk. Then air. Then the freedom to walk home.

I was a little proud I’d done the deed, but mostly relieved that I didn’t smash my head on a rock in the process. Jumping isn’t my thing. I don’t dream about it.

I might daydream of leaping, both for the security and for the design.

Leaping, jumping’s graceful word-cousin, involves skill, grace, joy.

Leaping is less of a free-fall-bungee-cord-rush and more of an awe-inspiring dance, an athletic long-jump. Gazelles leap over rushing African grasses that shimmer gold as they ebb and flow under wind and sky, evading earth-bound lions panting in hot pursuit. Flying-fish leap out of sea-green waves, like creatures soaring from the pages of science fiction, using fin as wing and air as water.

Might I leap? Might I leap toward a goal, away from danger, simply because I was designed to leap? Might I leap for the pure joy of leaping?

Leaping is praise. A physical rejoicing of emotional fulness or spiritual delight. Leaping is an uncontainable bounce from solid earth and all its gravity, into sky, sunshine, expanse. Leaping is the soul’s dance unleashed. Unlatched, unkempt, uninhibited happiness.

Leaping is abandoning doubt with face upturned. Leaping is partaking. Leaping is participating and powerful and purposeful. Leaping is jumping for joy.

King David danced, leaping before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:16)

A lame man who resided daily outside the Gate called Beautiful, bound to the dirt by crippling disease at once responded to a healing touch with unfettered jumping, leaping, praising God.(Acts 3:8)

How might we leap in praise today? Why do we try to physically contain praises to God when he’s saved us, guided us, healed us, lavished love on our dry souls?

If you aren’t required to jump today, to risk it all in faith or fear (or both), will you leap with love and joy? Do you dare defy gravity for a moment so your heart can sing a little closer to its Savior?

“Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.” (Philippians 2:18)

Yes, you should leap…and I’ll leap with you.

This post is linked up with Ann’s Walk With Him Wednesdays, too, where we’re considering humility. How are praise and humility connected? Do these seemingly opposing postures — knee bent humility and jumping for joy praise work in conjunction in my life?

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8 Comments

  1. Alyssa,
    You have an awesome blog here! I stopped by after reading your comment over at LifeOverseas. And, I am really touched by your take on ‘leaping.’ The notion that leaping is abandoning doubt with face upturned is extremely inspiring. I will be carrying that description with me in my heart and mind today.
    Thank you, Alyssa.

    Kelley Leigh

    • Oh, thank you Kelley. I would have absolutely loved being at the conference in Portland! Thank you for sharing some of your thoughts and experiences that came from that time. Thanks, too, for popping over here. You’re welcome anytime! Blessings.

  2. Nice job. I spent a great deal of my life leaping toward the wrong things with reckless abandon. This is a great reminder that if we can leap for insignificant worldly things, we most certainly should not restrain our soul’s emotion for the joy we have or should have in Him. I do tend to let life choke the joy out of my life, we all need to let loose and rejoice it the Lord.
    Another inspiring post thanks. By the way, that’s a good looking crew you got there.

    • Why do we do that, let life choke the joy out? Our sin condition? One of the hazards of faith without seeing? I don’t know, but I think we all struggle with that…We really need to whoop it up, though 🙂

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