Are you living on The EDGE?? In late June, I was humbly blessed with the opportunity to give the Keynote Address for the LWML National Convention in Peoria, Illinois, with the theme, “Being with Jesus ~ Living on the EDGE”. Before nearly five thousand people (gulp!), I stepped onto stage in a floral sundress, a plastic frog floatie (yes, you read that correctly!), and bare feet. The convention crew accommodated my crazy request that a diving board grace the stage, as well.
In this post, and in a few that will follow, I share portions of this message with you. I pray the Lord will move you to the EDGE, as you live your life for Him! (By the way, I really am terrified of standing on the EDGE of a diving board…)
I stare at the diving board in front of me, determining that this time will be different. Yes, this time, I will finally face my fears, unfasten my feet from the ground where they stubbornly stand, and propel them forward, in my attempt to conquer my fear - my phobia - of that EDGE up there, once and for all. In your mind’s eye, you see it, too, don’t you?! That EDGE up there that dangles over the deepest depths of the pool. The wet, slippery EDGE that wobbles and wiggles underneath my timid tootsies when they inch slowly closer toward it. That’s the EDGE.
Though my phobia of that EDGE would have me prefer the feel of safe cement beneath my bare feet over the wild and wobbly, slick and slippery diving board, the EDGE somehow beckons me now to come toward it. Yes, this time will be different. Alright feet: MOVE! Propel forward, step up, shimmy out…a little further…further…that’s it. Oh...my. A wave of nausea is washing over me as I look down… Facing my fears – moving to the EDGE of this platform – was more difficult than a dive could ever be. (After all, I have some ability to swim, or at least bob on the surface, clad in my froggy floaty.) Yes, once I’ve actually jumped, it’s a done deal. But it is on the EDGE where fears overwhelm me and second-thoughts creep into my brain. Thoughts like, “What do you think you are doing out here on this wild-and-wobbly, slick-and-slippery EDGE? Get back, get back! It’s safer back there on solid cement. It’s not worth the risk. Someone is going to make fun of you, laugh in your face, or even push you off. Worse yet, you could slip and hit your head on that very EDGE as you fall.” But the EDGE is also where my adrenaline flows and where my pulse races; it is where courage is tested and fears are conquered. Yes, it’s a gutsy thing, moving toward the EDGE. Oh, wow! What if a scary place like this EDGE is where I have been called to live?
Guess what? Jesus has given me courage to live my life for Him. He has moved me to a life on the EDGE! Being with Jesus ~ Living on the EDGE! Not on the edge of a diving board, mind you, on the EDGE of so much more! Just as the first disciples had been with Jesus, I have been with Jesus, and so have you!
As we remember our baptism, when God claimed us as His own dear daughters in Christ, forgiving our sins through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, and filling us with His faith-giving Spirit, we have been with Jesus, and WE ARE CHANGED! Forgiven! Made new! As we live continually in His presence, through the power and the work of the Holy Spirit, who persistently nudges us to walk in the Word – to live a life with the Word Made Flesh – with Jesus! Being with Jesus, WE ARE CHANGED! As we walk beside Him and learn from Him. As He opens our eyes to see how He is at work and where He is at work, drawing people to Himself today. Our once-timid tootsies become bold and courageous. Our feet are unfastened; the Holy Spirit propels us forward, enabling and empowering us to live life on the EDGE with Jesus!
Maybe you are thinking, "Yes! I want to live on the EDGE! But who am I to get out there?! To balance my clumsy self without falling off or tripping up? I can barely stand up straight on solid cement, where everything is safe and predictable and certain. I’m supposed to take a risk and go out there on the EDGE? I could get hurt; others could laugh in my face.”
Jesus says to us, “Follow me…” He leads us to the EDGE, where we would dare not tread alone! But we need not fear because Jesus is there already, extending His hand. He provides balance, and He will make us stand up straight.
To live courageously on the EDGE is to live securely in the center of God’s will, centered on the solid foundation of Christ. Not to be confused with the seemingly safe cement foundation behind us. The EDGE may feel wild and wobbly at times; it will be slick and slippery at others. Living securely in the center of God’s will is at the same time, the edgiest - the scariest - place we can live because living on the EDGE may mean stepping out of everything that is comfortable, convenient, or common to us. Maybe even out of everything familiar and safe, as we are called by God to be missionaries in His service.
Yes, being with Jesus moves us to the EDGE… Are you on the edge of your seat, with baited breath, in anticipation of what He has in store for you? May our hearts burn within us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we leap toward the EDGE with the love of Christ to a world that needs to hear His saving message, confident that He is right there beside us!