High Dives and Discipleship

   I still remember my first time jumping off the high dive.

   In the summertime I spent a lot of afternoons at the community pool in my small town.  Most of my time was spent in the shallow end, splashing and playing with my brothers and friends.  I watched other kids jumping off the diving boards at the deep end of the pool.  It seemed fun and exciting, but too scary for me.

   As the summer progressed, I thought more and more about what it would be like to overcome my fears and worries and plunge into the deep, blue water of the deep end.  I even walked by that area of the pool a few times to calculate the possibilities.  The deep water was so inviting, yet I was so frightened to plunge in.

   Finally, I could take it no longer.  I had to abandon the shallow end and experience the depth of the other side.  I had to try something more than the kids’ side of the pool.  I make my way to the ladder that ascended to the diving board.

   I’m sure it wouldn’t seem so big now, but at the time it seemed to be monstrously tall.  As I waited for an older boy to dive in, a line began to from behind me.  There was no turning back now without the pungent odor of humiliation clinging to me ferociously throughout the next school year.

   The older boy completed his dive- something fancy that ended in a cascade of water droplets.  It was time.  I began to climb the steel rungs of the ladder one by one.  Each rung took me higher and brought greater fear and anxiety.  Finally, I reached the rough surface of the diving board.  I slowly walked toward the end and felt it bend and sway beneath my feet. 

   There would be no spectacular dive for me.  I wasn’t doing any back flips or twists- just a simple step off and a feet-first plunge.  But that step was a big one.  Finally, with a mixture of terror and exhilaration, I stepped off and plunged deeper than I had ever been.

   The pool was never the same after that.  I was no longer limited to the one side of the pool populated by moms and their children.  Plunging into the cold, clear water became a regular part of my summer, and I was officially a swimmer.

   Many of us live our spiritual lives in the shallow end when God wants us to plunge deeper into faith.  He wants us to learn and stretch and grow.  Yet we remain in the shallow end, never knowing the exhilaration of deepened discipleship.  Without plunging in, we never learn the excitement of following Christ.  Without plunging in, we never learn the astonishing joy of living the life God made us to enjoy.

-excerpt from Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith, p. 13-14.

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