My bare feet made their way up the ladder, mortified to back out now.
A jump from the high diving board. Could I pull it off with this quiet, secret fear of heights? A public embarrassment to turn around and go the same way I’d arrived—down the ladder. Past the people waiting in line. As pool-siders gawked behind sunglasses, I would look like a scaredy cat.
My sister and I went to the local swimming pool during the summer. We were middle school age (yes, younger kids jump off high dives). I had conjured up enough courage to make jumps (oodles of them) off the low dive. It was low.
Mind you, I wasn’t planning a crowd-pleasing-eyebrow-raising dive or backwards flip. I wasn’t a good diver. I kind of fell into the water from the sidelines, hands in proper position to go in first and head following after. My body wasn’t perfectly straight, bent legs gave me away. (Judges score cards read 3.0.)
I wasn’t olympic material. So why all the fretting, sweating, and heart dropping to my stomach to jump? That’s all. Jump.
Because it was a first. A new experience. A place I had never been. A defining moment in life. Fear and anxiety gripped my heart. Can you relate?
You want to know what happened?
Friends coaxed us, the Clarkston twins, into executing this feat. We had a “good name” to protect. We were considered hip. At the bottom of the high-dive ladder, we had a going first tug-of-war. “You go first.” “No, you go first.” I reluctantly agreed to go first.
I gave myself a pep talk, Karen, get a grip on yourself. You are only jumping off the end of this long board into nice, soft, sparkling water. You can do this. Stay straight and vertical, feet go in first. Oh, and don’t bust the water on entry, it will hurt. Absolutely no pressure for the first jump.
This high diving board story ends with a sigh and an “inside” celebration to remain impressively cool (Hurray, I did it!).
Again. And again. We both jumped multiple times. Honestly, I’ve always preferred the low-dive. I’m a low-dive, low-altitude kind of girl.
But I accomplished something that day. I moved ahead into new territory and overcame a fear.
Power to Jump
There’s another who went first. Again. And again. Someone we never have to implore to go first. No begging, “Please, with sugar on top…and whipped topping…and a cherry! Pretty please?” No, none of that.
This is where going first started:
“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19 ESV.
Jesus went first.
He went first. Our example. To love as He first loved us. To make peace by forgiving, as He forgave first. To die to our wants and desires as we carry a cross daily, as He died unselfishly bearing a cross.
To live sold-out for our heavenly Father and accomplishing His will on this earth as Jesus lived. And because Jesus went first, we have the power, in and through Him, to move forward in life. To face new adventures and experiences. To face our fears and defining moments.
Jump in with both feet. From the sidelines. From the low diving board or high diving board. Ease in from the pool-side ladder or come slip-sliding down the slide.
But, by all means, get into the water. Live life to the fullest.
Make a big splash in a large way for the One who went first.