Why do we settle for things man created when there is a world out there that the Creator of the heavens and earth made to be seen? I can’t help but think of this when I see that in most cities lists the words “ shopping mall”. WHAT!!!!! I can’t believe this. What has happened to the great outdoors? Are we that wrapped up in material things? Do we need air conditioner that bad? I am certain there are legit reasons for this. Are we willing to step out and do the work that its going to take to see something that no man can make? Not the hands of millions of people could make some of the things we are so honored to see. It is much like life with Christ. Many times we would rather see someone else’s journey with the lord and not leap off the cliff to experience it for ourselves. As I wrote this I am reminded that there have been plenty of times that I didn’t want to venture into the unknown of faith. There have been multiple times I would just feast from others stories and wild adventures, all the while knowing deep down in my heart that I was created to fully leap off this cliff and just embrace life for all the it is worth. It has taken and is taking many years still to come to the point that when I come to a cliff in life.. that instead of walking up to it with timid questioning thoughts. I yell from the top of my lungs WHHHHHHHY NOOOOOOT?!?!? Now, as I run yes yes yes I think ohhh dear God what am I doing? It never gets easier though I get quicker to say yes, the only thing that changes is the amount of peace that I feel along side the freedom I experience. Often times we can relate to the man in the parable that Jesus tells him to come follow me leave everything behind and come follow me. He has excuses. He says I would… but. I can only truly speak for myself in saying PICK me I have often found myself here. The what if’s are there quickly yelling out loud what about this or that..? That is where I would often get snagged. Asking and questioning who I call God… for my own thoughts and ideas. Not quick to say yes but man I could say “maybe later” with the best of them! Quick to go the mall for a fun day versus stepping out and accepting the adventure that could be had. I am not against malls by any means, though I’m not an avid shopper.  I have had my fair share of mall shinanigans and many are filled with funny memories of people watching or counting how many people pick their noses as they walk (thanks to my uncle) I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I am just saying out there is a world to be seen and experieced not just heard about. Just like there is a lifestyle lived with the lord to be experienced and not just heard about through others. I was pondering this quote the other day “ It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are”-E.E. Cummings. It takes great amount of risk to step out of the comfort of our normal lives. It takes time. It takes work. It takes faith. I am reminded of the time I went cliff jumping in texas with friend and new friends to be made that day. I started off with the 2nd to lowest jump. I was so timid and I would walk to the edge to peer into the depths of the dark waters of a lake. I was so pumped on the way there, talking like I was the boldest person in the car. In getting there and seeing the cliff I was quick to succumb to the fears and nerves of leaping off this cliff. The do not trespass sign def. did not help either. After many pep talks from friends and many male friends attempting to “leap” with me, I just had to embrace the fact that I wasn’t ready. I made up every excuse in the book. All wrapped up in legit excuses, I stepped away and let others go before me. As I stood watching people jump off time and time again. I remember thinking I really dont care about the jumping part but I would like to leave this place and have a great story. I don’t want to leave and not have a story. I don’t want to leave more bound than free. I took the guys hand (not knowing him) and began to run towards the edge and he was all in as well. Well quickly I checked out and I hit the brakes. He continued to leap and I stopped with everything within me. Everyone laughing I looked around me and I had this moment of forget this I can’t do this… with someone. I must leap for myself. I must leap and embrace what it feels like to jump alone. I must embrace the unknown. So there I was slowly stepping back and then I made eye contact with a dear friend of mine and he winked. I knew what that meant. A secret hug was given to me by the simplicty of a wink. I knew it was going to alright and better yet I knew that when I go out of that water he was going to be there and I was going to want to do it again. I quickly began to run toward that cliff that felt like the edge of the world. I leap with all my might. Partially because I didn’t want to just leap and land on rocks on the side and the other part because this was my moment I was going to be free from this unknown feeling.  I can remember the feeling to this day, what felt like days for me to hit the water and many thoughts and feelings on the way down, only lasted a few seconds. As I went into the dark abyss of water and came up I opened my eyes to see the twinkle of light jumping off the water. I knew I had survived to tell this story. Beyond the coolness of jumping off cliffs and yes I pluralized that because once I did it I was off to the races jumping over and over again, I had experienced freedom. This feeling is not bought at stores, in vending machines, or even at church. This feeling cannot be bought. It can only be experienced. There isn’t some magical potion you can use. There isn’t some “click your shoes twice” method. Freedom is contagious and you can see it all around you. You can hear about peoples freedom stories. You can see a person completely different and desire it but you can’t just talk about it you must do it, This is what is hard for us as a culture. We can read about people and long to have what they have. Freedom is free but costly. You can settle for hearing stories about people’s freedom and adventures with the Lord. This isn’t bad I continually hear amazing stories about peoples adventures with the Lord. This only spurs me to go deeper in my freedom walk with Papa. It is contagious. To hear of peoples stories is to stir you to keep going in your own. Embrace your story and don’t just settle to telling people about other peoples stories. Don’t just settle for what others have made or done in life. Get out and adventure for yourself and experience all the great wonders the Lord has to offer in this world for you!!!!