What I Learned From Jumping Out Of A Plane

What I Learned From Jumping Out Of A Plane

The trees were proudly parading their vivid colors that warm and inviting autumn day in October of 2003 as I headed out to Orange, Massachusetts, to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Upon my arrival to the jump school, an employee with a detached personality and a large Mohawk haircut handed me a phonebook-size bundle of paperwork so I could begin the long process of signing my life away; so I wouldn’t hold the jump school responsible if I ended up a human pancake.

If that wasn’t enough, the whole family decided to show up to see if I would really follow through with this incredibly crazy stunt, which meant there was no way I could chicken out. You know, we men have our pride.

Anyway, I at least had enough sense to do a tandem jump, which meant that a professional jump instructor would be physically harnessed to my back for the exciting trip down. I spent the remainder of the day learning how to summon the courage to jump out of the plane and waiting for what seemed an eternity for my trip up to 13,500 feet.

My name was finally called and as I looked back at my family, possibly for the last time, I was led to the equipment area where the jump school staff helped me put on my jumpsuit, harness and a crazy-looking helmet that resembled something out of the 1940s football era. So there I was, fully geared up, standing with a silent numbness as my brain worked overtime to convince me not to do this, when out comes my assigned jump instructor.

You know—the professional.

This guy had a military-style crew cut, was half my size, was wearing no shoes, and was downing a can of Red Bull. His first words of encouragement to me were, “Dude, we are going to drop like a rock!” If that wasn’t enough, to further convince me that I was doing the right thing, out comes the videographer and his nickname was Slick. I was jumping out of a plane with Dude and Slick!

We finished gearing up and began what seemed like an endless walk to the aircraft that sat motionless as it idled on the safety of the tarmac. The scene then slipped into slow motion as I watched my family waving to me while I walked toward the aircraft with a veiled confidence, knowing that I would need a change of underwear real soon. The trip up to altitude was the loudest, longest twenty minutes of my life, and that the jump instructor and videographer found amusement in ribbing me the entire ride didn’t help.

The alarm sounds.

Altitude is 13,500 feet.

The door opens.

The wind comes roaring in.

Panic begins to overtake me.

Changed my underwear. (Just kidding.)

My test of courage had finally come as I began to inch my way toward the open door of my destiny moment. I stood at the threshold of all I knew to be safe, and without any rational thought, we leaped out of the plane, heading toward the ground at over 150 mph.

(Excerpt from Heartstone Copyright © 2009 by Tim Young. All rights reserved.)

Ok, so here is the rub. I placed my trust in a plane I’ve never been in, I placed my trust in an organization I was just introduced to, I placed my trust in a skydiver I just met and I placed my trust in a parachute I didn’t see packed. Really? So why was I struggling with trusting God?

I imagined a conversation between the Lord and me to go something like this: “Tim, help Me understand something here. You have no fear jumping out of an airplane with a complete stranger strapped to your back that you just met, half your size with a buzz cut, no shoes, and drinks Red Bull…but you won’t let go of your fear and jump into your destiny that I have created you for? Tim jump for Me, and I will make you fearless!”

Because of our limited view, we focus on our circumstances while He focuses on using our circumstances to accomplish a deeper work in us. It’s a trust issue. Can I trust God to shield me from the full onslaught of the enemy? Can I trust God when He allows suffering in my life? Can I trust God when He takes things away from me? Can I trust God with my kids? Can I trust God if I loose my job? Can I trust God [fill in the blank]?

Can I trust Him?

Do you struggle with trusting God?


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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Tim Young

Author of Heartstone. I am a father, teacher and speaker on mission to help people live courageously from their hearts.

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  1. Ray Flores says

    struggle is right! I have a hard time with this Tim and you bring up some very valid points, about the things we have done (or are thinking of doing) in our lives, where we MUST take that leap of faith. I had a good friend die while taking a tandem jump out of a plane, because the parachute failed and he was on the bottom of the impact. Sad, but, can you really trust that the ‘human’ did their job correctly? OR are you putting your trust in GOD that he made sure it was correct? That is a very tough question. Although I agree that we can trust GOD with our own lives, can we trust GOD with other people’s lives, when those other people are the ones with our lives in their hands at the time?
    Great story and awesome video. I, for one, will never do that, but enthusiastically watch and cheer you on!

    • says

      Hey Ray, yeah its a struggle and I am still learning to trust God. You bring up some good points. Hope I made the connection ok with doing all these crazy things without any forethought (trusting people) and being transparent on my shortcomings on trusting God.

      Sorry to hear about your friend, that’s tough. Totally understand why this wouldn’t be on your bucket list.

  2. says

    I think the struggles I have with trusting God are often as a result of the need to be self sufficient. It is so culturally unacceptable to depend on others that trusting God can often feel like a weakness rather than a strength.

    Thanks for the post Tim

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