Take a Leap of Faith! – WOMEN in RECOVERY

A leap of faith means hurdling into the unknown, and believing in our hearts that we will make it to the other side, despite not yet knowing what the other side is going to look like. It is taking bold action in spite of the fact that this action is forcing us out of our familiar territory, and our comfort zones. It also means taking action even though we cannot foresee the results or consequences of our choice. To do this requires both faith and courage!

The phrase is commonly attributed to Søren Kierkegaard; however, he himself never used the term, as he referred to a leap as a leap to faith. A leap of faith according to Kierkegaard involves circularity insofar as a leap is made by faith. In his book The Concept of Anxiety, he describes the core part of the leap of faith, the leap.

The Leap into Sin and into Faith

Kierkegaard describes “the leap” using the famous story of Adam and Eve, particularly Adam’s qualitative leap into sin. Adam’s leap signifies a change from one quality to another, mainly the quality of possessing no sin to the quality of possessing sin. Kierkegaard maintains that the transition from one quality to another can take place only by a “leap” (Thomte 232). When the transition happens, one moves directly from one state to the other, never possessing both qualities. “The moment is related to the transition of the one to the many, of the many to the one, of likeness to unlikeness, and that it is the moment in which there is neither one nor many, neither a being determined nor a being combined.”(Thomte Note 82-85).

“In the Moment man becomes conscious that he is born; for his antecedent state, to which he may not cling, was one of non-being. In the Moment man also becomes conscious of the new birth, for his antecedent state was one of non-being.”

The implication of taking a leap of faith can, depending on the context, carry positive or negative connotations, as some feel it is a virtue to be able to believe in something without evidence while others feel it is foolishness. It is a hotly contested theological and philosophical concept. For instance, the association with “blind faith” and religion is disputed by those with deistic principles that argue reason and logic, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief “that God has existed in human form, was born and grew up”. Jesus is the “paradox”, the “absolute paradox”.

Without a leap of faith, (or in fact, many leaps!) we will never reach our full potential or achieve our dreams and goals. If we are not willing to take a chance, we remain trapped in our current circumstances. To make any change or choice requires an element of faith, as it is impossible to predict the outcome of any decision.

It is also possible that once we take a leap of faith, we may feel that we are suspended in mid-air for some time before we eventually reach solid ground. This quote from Andre Gide illustrates that we need to accept we may experience a period of limbo between embarking on a bold adventure and reaching our destination.

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

The bigger the leap that we are undertaking, the more likely that it will take some time to land firmly in the new circumstances we are aiming for. We may even need to change direction mid-air, or make some short-term landings before springing off again towards our goal.

To take a leap of faith does not mean leaping before you look. Take time to really listen to your heart and your intuition, and be guided to make the choice that you know at a soul-deep level is the right one for you. We need to believe that the direction we are taking is in line with our highest goals, and be willing to commit to our choice, regardless of what others may think.

We must have faith in ourselves and our decisions, as well as trusting that we have the strength and ability to handle whatever consequences our decision may bring. Trust that whatever result your leap of faith may bring, you will gain much from it in terms of growth and learning.

In deciding to make a bold choice, it is almost inevitable that fear will accompany our decision. Don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your dreams. It is scary to leave a familiar reality, and venture into uncharted waters, but staying on the shore is not the choice that will bring happiness and fulfillment.

At times I have made choices that have been downright terrifying, but I knew that they were the decisions I needed to make to follow my path. With this understanding, I bit the bullet. I heeded Susan Jeffers’ advice to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” not to mention that gem from Nike- “just do it.”

An example from my own life that springs to mind relates to the adoption of my children. Bringing home my first, second and third babies, knowing that it would take up to a year before the adoptions would be final, and that in the eyes of the court and the world they would be irrevocably my children, gave me incredible practice in faith. I am unbelievably blessed with my three angels, and the fear and uncertainty of each waiting period was worth it a million times over.

If big leaps are just too daunting to begin with, build up your faith muscle with some smaller jumps first. There is a lot to be said for baby-steps, and even the smallest amount of movement in the right direction sure beats staying in a place that is not where you truly want to be.

If you know that a certain path is the path that your soul is urging you to take, then take it!

Every leap of faith begins with a choice to follow your heart, and a belief that you can make it.

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