When Life’s Up in the Air

Have you ever just felt like your life’s completely up in the air?

This decision depends on this outcome which is dependent on this other unknown factor. So many uncertainties and unknowns and factors far outside of your control that you feel like you’re treading air and getting nowhere and yet falling at a tremendous rate.

It’s a scary and disconcerting feeling. If that’s you, then we’re free-falling together.

But, could it be…could it just be that when it feels like life’s up in the air it actually means we’re flying? When it feels like we are sitting still or flailing and falling through space, we’re actually hurtling forward to the exciting destination that awaits?

I am what might be called a veteran flyer. I work for the media ministry of a global missions organization, which means that at least once a month or more for the last three years I’ve been on a plane flying across the world to film on location. In 2015 alone I flew on over 35 planes (that’s about three a month, if you’re mathematically challenged like me).

I know how to fly.

I know how to get through security as quickly as possible. I know how to fold my little self into an incredibly small space for hours and hours at a time. I know how to haul suitcases of expensive equipment that weighs twice as much as I do all around airports in Third World countries. I know that I need to bring an extra water bottle and fill it in the airport so I don’t dehydrate on long-haul flights. I know which airlines have interesting in-flight magazines and which airlines have up-to-date in-flight entertainment.

You’d think that after flying so much I’d be completely unfazed by any aspect of flying. Not true. Not long ago my sister asked me when the last time was I thought I was going to die (no doubt expecting me to relate some story about facing off with a lion in Africa -which did happen, by the way). Without hesitating, I said, “On the flight back to the U.S. for Christmas.”


Here’s the thing. I hate turbulence. It scares me to death. Every. Single. Time. It doesn’t help to tell myself that the odds of the plane falling out of the sky are extremely slim. It doesn’t help to remind myself that I fly all the time and a plane has yet to crash from turbulence. It’s not even that I really seriously think that the plane is going to crash.

It’s that I suddenly realize what I conveniently forgot – that I’m hurtling through thin air at ridiculous speeds miles and miles above the earth. I’m literally standing (well, usually sitting) on thin air. 

I’m, quite literally, up in the air.

It is, truthfully, a very disconcerting feeling. I don’t like it one bit. So why, you might ask, do I continually put myself in that situation? Simple. Because I know that the destination will be worth the journey.

I know that if I don’t face my life being up in the air for a little while, I won’t see lions face to face in Africa. I won’t sit and talk about Jesus with an ex-Buddhist monk in Myanmar (Burma). I won’t get the chance to ride a tuktuk in Bangkok or walk through the front door of my parent’s cute little house on Floral Street and surprise my sweet mama.

I know that to go somewhere really amazing, to see incredible sights and have mind-blowing experiences you have to be willing to let your life be up in the air sometimes. 

When talking to people about my rather strange nomadic life and my various adventures invariably someone will say, “Oh, I wish I could do that. It sounds so incredible. But I could never do that.”

And I always find it somewhat humorous, because the truth is, they really could. They could eat pineapple in Thailand and hug orphans in Guatemala and sit out on the African plain and listen to zebras call in the night. It’s usually not that they can’t. They just won’t

Yes. That is a styrofoam airplane hanging from the ceiling of my church’s auditorium. I love my church.

My pastor has been preaching a series recently called “Take Off” about how applying the principles in Scripture can allow us to soar over obstacles in life.

It’s not a new concept. For centuries people have tried to invent flying machines, written songs about flying, as a child loved fairytales about flying, and generally have been obsessed with the idea of flying.

So why don’t more people fly? (I’m speaking both literally and metaphorically here).

I believe some people never fly because they want the benefits of flying with the security of having both feet firmly planted on the ground. 

They don’t like the vulnerable feeling of floating in thin air, of being powerless and having no control over your fate. (No judging here. I’m right there beside you with my death grip on my airplane seat.)

But the reality is that unless you’re willing to release control and let your feet leave the ground, let your life be up in the air for awhile, you will never experience the sheer joy of that moment when the plane lifts off the ground and goes airborne. And you’ll never experience the incredible things God has for you on the other side.

So if you’re feeling a little helpless right now, if you feel like you’re flailing and treading air and free-falling today, may I just suggest that you may be exactly where you need to be?

Could it be that if your life feels up in the air at the moment, you’re just on your way to someplace amazing? 

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