What If… We Lived Without a Safety Net?

What if we lived life all in? What if there was no way back, only forward? What if giving up meant certain death?

One of my girls was telling me about a man who was trying to climb up the side of a building, but after 3 stories he just gave up.  My first thought was “I wonder if he survived.” And then she said this, “But he had a safety harness and everything, so he didn’t get hurt.”  Aha… the safety net.

I can’t help but wonder how different this story would be if he would have been climbing without the safety harness? Would he not have been motivated to keep climbing, because giving up would have meant there was a big chance that he would not survive the fall? Would he not have gritted his teeth and reached back for extra resolve to take one more step, then one more step again?

I wonder if we live our lives in much the same way? We surround ourselves with safety nets, strap ourselves into safety harnesses, have the emergency crew standing by. We have lots and lots of well-meaning people standing around, giving all kinds of advice about all the things we have to make sure we have so that we’re sure to be safe.  And lots and lots of people who will tell us that it would just be foolishness to be climbing without a safety harness.  Anyone knows no safety net is just stupid.

But I have to wonder… if all the safety nets are stunting our vision and our progress? If we start out and if the going gets tough, well, we can just fall back into the safety net and we’re none the worse for trying. It won’t cost us much, so it’s worth a shot and if we become a star in the process so much the better. And if we don’t quickly become the star, we hop off the ride even more quickly.

I wonder… what if all the people standing around giving advice would instead be the ones cheering on their fellow man, saying “You can do it!” and being the support system we all need.

And I wonder… what if we lived out what Jesus told the rich young ruler?  “Sell all you have and give it to the poor, then come and follow me.”

Jesus did not say give it to me and then follow me.  He said give it to the poor.  When I think of giving everything to God, it seems like a formality that we go through to make us feel better – “Oh yes, I’ve given it all to God.”  But guess what, it doesn’t actually affect our lives very much, does it?  Because we can usually still sit back and enjoy all of it for ourselves.  The risk is minimal.  But when God says give it to the poor, now that changes everything.  I can’t just sit in my comfy chair of a morning and tell God “Oh yes, today I want to give you everything.”  It means that our lives will actually be very different.  Our lives might become very scary.

God has been convicting me recently about this and I think I hear Him saying “Give it all away.”  And I hear myself gasp and then argue with Him – yes, I think I might be trying to convince Him that He surely couldn’t mean to literally give away everything He has given us.  It seems like foolishness even to me.  And I know I’m holding back because I always get this picture in my mind of our house and I think, well if it’s too hard we would still have our house.  But then God says, “Hello?  I don’t think that would be giving everything away if you kept your house to fall back on.”  Ouch!

Then I realize it’s about trust.  If He asks us to give everything away, do I trust Him to take care of us?  Do I believe that HE is the safety net, not my house?  When I put it like that it seems laughable that there would even be a struggle about this.  God, house.   God, house.  How is it possible that there would even be a question?

So, what if… we lived without a safety net?

What if we had to completely trust God for every single thing we needed in life?  What if we had nothing to fall back on?  Would that be our motivation to keep going?  Would we learn some new things about God?  What if we gave God a chance to show up?

I resonate with Paul when He says “the things I want to do, I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do, those things I do.”  I want to do this, but it seems so incredibly difficult.

What is God asking of His followers?  What is He asking of you?  Is He asking you for all you are and for all you have and for all you will ever be?

I want to trust Him, and I want to believe that no matter what He asks that I will say a heartfelt “Yes!”, and I want to trust that He will increase my faith!

Jesus, help my unbelief!  Help me to trust.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”             I Corinthians 1:27


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