Living life on the edge
2012 was probably the most difficult season of my life, when it comes to living life on the edge. Or in another words, getting out of my comfort zone or overcoming fear! It was a season of preparation for moving to Australia, where I would be living and studying at Leadership College, all in another language.
You might think this isn’t a big deal, right? Well I would agree with you until you consider someone with a background and circumstances like mine.
At that point, I’d been chronically ill for 24 years. I needed Dialysis treatments three times a week for a half day at a time; and had over 75% hearing loss in both ears, making it a real challenge to learn another language. And these were just my medical challenges!
I’d lived in a small town of 3500 people all my life, and was now moving to a City with millions of inhabitants. Can you see the cultural difference? 🙂
On top of those challenges, I didn`t even know if I could enrol into the particular college that I wanted to. I didn’t speak English at the time, so this was another “edge” that I had to overcome.
Until 2012 I had been living in my home town, and had built a lifestyle that existed mostly of working, eating and sleeping, fitting these in round my on going health challenges.
I was very aware that I do not want to live an average life like that. I realised that if I wanted to live a big life, I needed to start living on the edge, leave my comfort zone and overcome my fear of doing new things by stepping out from the everyday ordinary things!
I don`t know what comes to mind when you think about “living life on the edge”. Maybe this is a taboo subject for you to talk about, or maybe you too realise that living a big life is about living on the edge. Whatever it is, I would like to challenge you to constantly live life on the edge!
If we are really honest with ourselves, no one wants to live life on the edge! It`s risky, takes a lot of faith, brings insecurity, fear will rise, worrying is common, the unknown becomes your best friend and there is no such thing as security! But at the same time, no one wants to live a small life. I have never heard someone say: “If only I had a small life, I would be happy.”
Furthermore, if we are really honest, we also wouldn`t want to be asked on the last day of our lives, “What would you have loved to achieve that you never did?” We would probably need to answer that question with a big list – because we didn’t live life on the edge!
Personally I want to live life on the edge everyday if possible! I don`t want to be the guy who lives an average life. I want to achieve more in life than I could ever imagine. And I want to leave a legacy that goes beyond my time here on earth!
I`m blessed because I’ve had many situations so far that brought me to live life on the edge. Most of them, especially the ones with my health, were things that I did not choose but rather I had to embrace. In the last few years, as my health stabilised, and even improved in some ways, I realised that if I didn`t choose to live life on the edge, I would probably sooner or later end up living an average life!
In our Western culture we have almost lost the sense to live life on the edge. We want security in whatever we do or wherever we are. We want to know exactly what and how things will happen, and as soon risks arise we become fearful, worried and insecure!
Living a big life is completely the opposite to this. Living on the edge means having faith and faith is all we need to live a big life – because faith leads to the one who can give us a big life, God.
1. Have faith
I don`t know about you but I love living in faith, even though it`s always uncomfortable! I often imagine what it would have been like to have been Moses, Abraham, Paul or any other biblical character that had a lot of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith this way: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.“ (NLT)
Faith is not about knowing what`s happening tomorrow. It`s about believing what will or can happen tomorrow. It`s about hoping for things we cannot see.
I am a highly visual learner. For example, if somebody gives me directions just in words, I`m always the guy who says, “Yes I got that” or “I know the way.” But as soon as I make my way, I`m like, “What did s/he say again? Where do I need to go?” and then I`m completely lost and often freaking out! Do you know the feeling?
This was an illustration of how we often react in our faith-life. We want to know exactly what`s happening next and if we don`t know we might freak out or are lost for a moment.
Faith is not limited to knowledge, in fact faith doesn`t need knowledge at all. It just says: “I don`t know (knowledge) what or how it will happen, but I have the hope (faith) that what I believe for can and will happen!
Don`t get me wrong, we all need knowledge and I`m a big believer that it`s important to improve our knowledge on a daily basis. But often we take knowledge over faith and I believe this can lead to a wrong “faith”.
2. Fear is a liar
Another part that hinders us from living life on the edge is fear. Fear is seen in many areas of our lives. Some of our fears are fears that we are aware about while other fears are unknown.
Fear always says “Don`t go a step further – it could be uncomfortable, dangerous or even deadly”. While faith says: “Let`s try it, go for it, make the most out of it”.
But the problem of fear is that it`s not true at all! It`s a liar and it works the other way around, the negative way! Fear is like someone standing in a dark hole saying: “I`m not going to move because it could be dangerous” not realising that staying in the dark hole won’t make any difference to the situation. Whereas faith would say: “I`m going to find a way out even it`s dangerous, at least then I’ll have tried it”.
When living a big life, fear will be common. But we still can make a choice what we are going to do with fear. Either we use it as teacher or we use it as something that paralyzes us.
The biggest fear we probably have when it comes to living a big life and stepping out is the fear of failure. But failure gives you a great opportunity to learn something!
John C. Maxwell once said: 1“You only fail forward.”
Every time you fail you have a lesson that teaches you what you can do better next time. Living a big life is all about getting better and being changed in every sphere of your life!
I hope I have inspired you to be intentional about living life on the edge! It’s about not being influenced by fear, failures, cynicism and negativity, but rather living a life of faith. A faith that stirs mountains, and a faith that constantly has the hope that whatever edge you are walking on in your life will work out for the good.
Let`s head in to the big lives that God has destined for us to have. Having a big God equals having a big life! 🙂
John C Maxwell, JMT Live Event, Orlando, Notes, March 2017