Life on the Edge: Risky Business

In today’s podcast, I talk about what it actually means to live on the edge.  It’s certainly risky, but it’s worth it, especially when you consider the alternative: a life plagued with mediocrity and regret.  I hope my words inspire you to soar to new heights.

Previous episodes can be downloaded on iTunes.  🙂

Life on the Edge: Risky Business

Life on the Edge…(Chapter 29-Risky Business)

So what does it mean to live on the edge? It means getting to that point where you’re totally at the end of yourself, have exhausted all your inner reserves, and there is nothing left in front of you except this big, open void where gravity rules and faith propels. Yeah, that’s risky business.  You could always turn back and go where the safety net is, where you can see and touch the ground beneath you. But if you do that, you’ll never learn to soar and reach new heights in your life and in your faith.

Living on the edge means sitting in a place of peace, confidently trusting, leaning, and relying totally on God and His provision for you, even when you can’t see what’s in front of you. God led me to the top of Half Dome not only to show me His beautiful creation, but to show me who He really is and to remind me that apart from Him, I am nothing and can do nothing. I rediscovered life and purpose sitting on the edge of Half Dome swinging my legs.

I’ve been living on the edge since July 26, 2008, the day that my mother went to be with the Lord. My mother was my safety net. She was the one that I looked to for provision and safety when things didn’t work out according to my plans. I never feared stepping out and taking risks because I was comforted by the fact that my mom was going to be there with open arms and words of encouragement if I ever failed. It was normal for me to step out on faith and do things back then. But when she died, I was forced to adapt to a new normal. And it was uncomfortable. It was uncertain. It was lonely. It was hell.

My mom, Janice, and I (1998)

My mother was everything to me and the day she passed away, I lost my everything, my best friend. I was on the edge where I had to make the choice to either trust God and continue moving forward, or stay in a place of stunted growth. I have been living on the edge ever since. It hasn’t been easy and I miss my mom like crazy, but it gets better every day because I know that God is with me and I am never alone.

I believe there’s someone reading this that needed me to share that. I usually find it quite difficult to be this open and candid about personal subject matter. But when I committed to writing this, I knew that I was also committing to a standard of honesty and truthfulness.

My prayer for you is that no matter what religion, denomination, culture, or background you come from, you have been encouraged by my story to live a more abundant life, love yourself and others, and be victorious in every circumstance, even through the death of a loved one.

Remember, when you’re going through something that looks like it might take you down and destroy you, things are not always what they seem. You have to say to yourself that you can and will make it to the mountaintop. You will not always dwell in the valley.  May you find your place of renewal and rest on the edge.

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)

This is the final installment in the “Life on the Edge…” series.  I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts. Perhaps I will add more stories to the series later on because much of my story is still unwritten. However, at this time, the series has concluded.  I will be posting current material, chronicling stories from my hikes, as well as other tales of the trails.  Occasionally, I may spotlight a particular hiker and share his or her personal stories from the trails as well.

Beginning next week, I will be sharing the story of a man that I will refer to as Mike.  His story will be chronicled in the next series of posts titled, “Suicide Notes on a Napkin.”  Be forewarned, Mike’s story is dark, but remember, out of the darkness comes a great light.  That is all I will share for now.  Be on the lookout for the series. You certainly don’t want to miss it.  Thanks for reading!

Life on the Edge…(Chapter 27-Into the Deep)

The next great adventure I went on after conquering Half Dome was whitewater rafting on the Lower Kern River.  I had never rafted before and was thrilled about the opportunity to go.  I went with one of the hiking groups I’m involved with.

After the Half Dome conquest, I was like, bring on the adventures!  I wasn’t afraid of anything.  That is, until we reached a place along the river where our guides parked the rafts and allowed people to get out, hike up to the top of this big rock that stood about 30 feet up from the swiftly flowing river, and (you guessed it) jump.

At first, I was dead set against jumping off of that rock.  After watching several people jump, I got curious enough to make the short hike up there and get in line.  When it was my turn to jump, fear socked me in the gut.  I walked over to the edge and peered over.

The distance between me and the swift current below frightened me.  People near the rafts who had already jumped, as well as the ones behind me who had yet to jump, cheered me on.  I couldn’t do it.  I stepped aside to allow someone else to go.  I yearned for further motivation.

After the guy jumped, I went to the edge again and looked down at the water.  My heart was beating so fast that I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I heard the people below cheering for me again, but I still couldn’t do it.  I backed away from the edge and one more person jumped.

I was the last person and the guide told me that we had to start heading down the river in a few minutes.  I either had to jump or take the walk of shame back down to the rafts.  I went to the edge one more time and heard Karen, from our group, say that she was going to count to three.  She began the countdown.

I started to back away, but then decided to make the jump and go against my fears.  I stood right at the edge with my heart beating ever so fast, took a deep breath, and literally stepped off the rock into nothing.  I was no longer in control of anything that happened after that.  Nothing was beneath my feet.  Nothing was near me to grab onto to.  I had completely surrendered my will to the unknown.

Yes, there was water, but how deep was it?  Yes, I wore a life vest, but would it really hold up if I went too deep?  Were there rocks beneath the surface on which I could have hit my head or broken a bone?  I didn’t have the answers to any of those questions.  I just jumped.