“Your belief in love wasn’t strong enough to overcome your fear of rejection.”
“Yea. Greatest regret of my life.”
– Exchange between two characters on Once Upon a Time
My mom gives great advice and usually, because she’s very southern and very New Orleans, it comes in the form of old sage sayings that sound funny at first, but make a whole lot of sense later. Such is the case with one saying she’s fond of repeating to me when I’m trying to make a hard decision (after she’s given me a great Bible verse too, of course) — she’ll say to me, “Now, whatever you do — don’t jump from the pot to the frying pan.”
Sounds funny, but I get it. It means don’t move without purpose and find yourself leaving something you thought was bad and then ending up in something even worse.
Great advice. Really.
But somehow, I internalized this as simply “don’t jump.” And so typically, I am very cautious and methodical in the things that I do. I follow specific steps and observe and analyze and dissect almost all of my decisions and then at the very last possible minute, I finally stick my toe out there into the wading pool of whatever scary idea it is that I’ve concocted. And when nothing but my toe gets wet, even though – ugh, I put myself out there! – it sends another “don’t jump” signal straight to my brain.
But, here’s the crazy part — I never (or rather, very rarely) ever actually tried leaping into something passionately, full throttle, no life jacket on to protect me, so I couldn’t say for sure that jumping hurt as much as I thought it did.
In my brain, dipping my toe in and not getting what I wanted hurt so much that leaping was unimaginable. And I’ve missed out on things because of this.
The truth, though, is that leaping (passionately, full throttle, with no life jacket on) is what those big dreams thrive on. It’s what faith (in God and the promises He’s made to you) is all about. I’m learning that these days.
This lesson started as a lot of my lessons have this year, with me almost losing a very dear friend of mine in January. With being inspired by her faith and the leap it took for her to hold on when all odds were against her. With the jump it took for me and a significant amount of her friends and family to refuse to believe God’s plan for her life was complete. And with the passion that I still see her take on everything in her life to this day, even when her days are not so good.
When a friend of yours almost dies and still struggles, but has the faith to jump into the things that make her happy, it makes you start to see things more clearly in your own life. At least it did for me. It made me realize that I needed to stop running from… everything, that I needed to make sure I was allowing myself to be happy even while I pursued my big dreams, that it was high time I lived life fully, and oh so many more revelations.
Now, I have to admit that this leaping thing is still scary as shit sometimes. Being open. Vulnerable. Really truly going for what and who you want – whew! – it’s not for the faint of heart. It feels like (to keep this metaphor going) you’re getting ready to dive into the deepest part of the ocean when you haven’t swam in 20 years. It can make you hesitate sometimes. It can make you think about just putting a toe in to check out the waters first.
But then, thankfully, I remember that as purely frightening as leaping can be, I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier than when I’m doing it. And so some part of me screams back to those doubts — “That ain’t no ocean! It’s a 6ft pool; it just seems bigger because it’s unfamiliar. But girl, you got this. JUMP!”
And so I do. I constantly find myself jumping these days… leaping… refusing to have the regret of not moving for fear of rejection. All I know is that damn frying pan better get out of my way.