Going Out On a Limb for Joy

out on a limb

Almost 10 years ago, actually the day I closed on my house, a “wind event” blew through and twisted a tree top off taking with it the chimney and some gutters on the back. Our home is just a modest one story ranch but the yard slopes so much in the rear we can stand up in the crawl space.

Ladders were fetched and my dad and I planned to tarp the roof until repairs could be made. I bravely climbed up from the rear of the house right beside the broken chimney and when I stepped onto that low sloped pitch, a sickening floppy feeling filtered up from my stomach to my head and I couldn’t move fast enough to scramble up a few more feet to sit straddling the peak, frozen.

This weekend, I watched as one of the kittens climbed a tree outside our front window- a bit higher than I felt comfortable with her going, but somehow the distance from the ground and the diameter of the limb she was testing didn’t give her any pause.

Despite my roof top angst I’ve never minded the view from the mountain tops. Though I love plumbing the depths of the word and being involved in all the details of life, there’s something to be gained by stealing up and away for a grander view. For a while now, the mountains have been calling, inviting me to come climb, sit and observe all that’s below except I can’t quite seem to find my way back there.

How aptly timed when this came in the mailbox penned on a card from a sweet friend: “Be willing to go out on a limb with me. If that’s where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be.”

So I googled around making sure I had the origin of that lofty quote right and stumbled over this: “You are actually safer here—out on this limb with Me—than you would be on the ground. In this new, challenging environment you stay alert: communicating with Me continually, holding My hand in trusting dependence.” -Dear Jesus by Sarah Young, p. 166

Maybe I’ll have to settle for climbing a tree to satisfy my need for perspective!

stairs

Though sometimes it feels scary viewing things from up high the enhanced view sometimes keeps us from being overwrought by magnifying our molehills into mountains simply because we haven’t climbed high enough to reveal what’s on the other side yet.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. ~Psalm 8:1

Anne Ortlund cites how God’s way is “crisis before process”. And there’s no denying His ways are higher than ours. At bible study we chewed on that idea Sunday night and it’s been flitting around my head ever since. Taking it one step further, I reasoned that before you can truly become disciplined (process), you have to get your “why” worked out (crisis) .

Big decisions come first, then the follow through. The big picture, then the details. The purpose, then the plan. After all, she says, a sculptor works on the big mass first before carving out the intricate features.

And I’m reminded again of who we should be seeking first and why as well as what comes as a result…

So as I struggle to gain traction on all the disciplines and decisions I’m trying to work into my life, I have to constantly seek perspective and God’s overarching plan in it all.

A few weeks ago our praise team a.k.a the boy, a friend and I visited a nursing home and worshiped with folks there. A little lady with a large grin clapped and laughed- her joy was contagious and despite the fact that she hadn’t any legs, it wasn’t going to stop her from praising her Lord. And she made sure to share that exact sentiment with us.

That’s some higher purpose perspective right there, no doubt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And from that point, the day which had started out low for me due to missteps, misfires and missing my quiet moments with Jesus (seriously do not attempt calling customer service, packing lunches or any sort of daily decision making before you’ve set your soul and spirit straight with the Lord… and maybe had that first cup of coffee…) suddenly lifted.

It’s just not in my power to tackle life on my own living close on the ground. I need his perspective to reach for those lofty choices – one that transcends them all: joy.

May you choose the discipline of joy. ~ Suzie Larson

Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him and he will help you. ~ Psalm 37:4-5

And so a prayer:

Father we exalt you and long to be closer and more devoted to you. Lift our eyes so we can really see how the true desires of our heart all lead back to you. Fix our “whys” so we can be women who will work without a net – wholeheartedly for you. We lay down our wishes and wants. We lift up our hearts and voices choosing praise and joy above all. Let us not miss our invitation to rise up with you knowing you have us in your perfect peace and you care for us infinitely more than the sparrow. Even if you call us up on shaky branches may we continually sing your praises.

A playlist (because who can’t resist good hand raising music!-click here if it’s not showing up below)

And a pretty funny and poignant comedy routine  to bring some joy if you have some extra time and want a good laugh and maybe a cry at the end… but they’ll be happy tears…!

 


17 thoughts on “Going Out On a Limb for Joy

  1. Heather,
    Where is that photo from of the mountaintop overlooking that beautiful landscape? It’s so beautiful! I can just envision a mountaintop experience with that view, after a long arduous climb (or slog through life) and what a joy is ours when we gain a little perspective. It’s also hard to believe that a windstorm occurred the day you close on a new house — but those tests sometimes come our way, don’t they? Ever Be by Aaron Shust is one of my favorite versions of that song. Love these thoughts today to gain a new view of our lives! xo

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    1. It’s from Carter’s Mountain orchard in Chalottesville a few years ago! LOL! And yep I can’t say I saw a lot of joy in that wind event years ago, but I’m grateful that God placed me where he did in spite of it and set me on this path that led me here! And I just heard “Ever Be” a few weeks ago- I’m smitten! Hope your week has a lovely view at the end due to a holiday weekend! ♥

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  2. I love this! “before you can truly become disciplined (process), you have to get your “why” worked out (crisis)” I’ve never thought of it quite like that before, thank you for sharing that beautiful quote and a piece of your story with us. Oh, and this….more of this please! “It’s just not in my power to tackle life on my own living close on the ground. I need his perspective to reach for those lofty choices – one that transcends them all: joy.” I need more of that too….

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    1. ♥ Hi Sarah! ♥ I’m still digging into that crisis then process thought too– testing it against God’s word and character- He always leads us into truth! Thanks so much for popping over and leaving your sweet comments here. May we stretch upward for that joy today! Blessings on you girl!

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  3. Sarah Young blesses me every morning … her flip top calendar is the first thing {usually!} I reach for when I begin to peel my eyes open.

    And Aaron’s song? I’m enjoying it even as we speak. Thanks, Heather …

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  4. Heather, this is so full of wisdom and insight…so beautiful. I’m going to have to return and re-read it. I’ve been thinking about pride and where it’s taken me in life…and how “crisis” has been leading me through a “process”, where He’s teaching me to look up and not down or around…beholding His face changes everything, doesn’t it?!

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    1. aww Thanks Anna : ) Come back and visit anytime. Yes pride can be a faulty compass for sure– I’ve struggled through many a detour because of it but Seeking God First truly does change everything. ♥ Looking up with you girl! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  5. Heather, God used your words (and Suzie and Anne’s!) today to speak reminders into my heart today. Thank you so much for this. I copied down some quotes for me to reread, do you mind if I use one and link back to you?

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    1. Awww I’m so glad you were blessed my dear! Absolutely you’re more than welcome to share away! ♥ I’m glad it’s given you a jumping off point to think and add to your writing. Keep digging girl!

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  6. Heather, I’m half way out on that limb and tempted to crawl back in where its safe. Thanks for the perspective that the safest place to be is out on a limb with Jesus. Safe, exciting, nerve-racking all rolled into one. And yes theres definitely “something to be gained by stealing up and away for a grander view”. Loving the prayers you add to the ends of your posts lately. God bless xx

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    1. Hey girl! I know the feeling!!! Thanks for your encouragement! And it’s always easier with someone else beside you..! Reaching up there together with you ♥ Have an awesome week Tracey!

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  7. I love your prayer, Heather – such a pointed way to commit ourselves to being brave and taking those leaps for Jesus. Being women without nets – so good! There truly is no safer place to be than with Him, wherever that may lead us. I’m inspired, friend. Great encouragement here today.

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    1. ♥ Thanks Tiffany! Here’s to rediscovering new heights of wonder and bravery in the middle of the year! Blessings on you girl– hope you have a blast this summer! ♥

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