Have you ever wanted to just drop everything you’re doing in life, and take it in a different direction? Or maybe you want to start up a new project which arises from your ultimate passion.
Taking a leap of faith can be a daunting thought – how do you know others will be as passionate about your idea as you are? How do you know you’re not just setting yourself up for failure and humiliation? I guess you don’t – which is why it’s a leap of faith.
Sarah Mills-Menogue is about to leap and is excited about where her idea could end up. As part of completing her Order of St Stephen, Sarah is about to start auditioning for her new project – a young adult choir. Having recently returned from Hungary, where Sarah studied choral conducting, she’s eager to put some of her knowledge into practice. But this isn’t going to be just any old choir – Sarah’s aim is to set it up as an ecumenical faith community for 18–25 year olds in Perth.
Sarah fell in love with choirs while she was studying piano at university.
“I just love the way that it brought people together,” she said. “How beautiful it would be that a group of people could explore how meaningful words could be made even more meaningful with beautiful music.”
After experiencing choirs as a way of reconnecting to God, Sarah decided she wanted to help people develop their spirituality through choral music. It’s a project she’s been thinking about for a few years, but which has only just started to take shape.
So how do you know if you should take the leap, or if you’re about to make a stupid decision?
Rev Tom Wilson is a retired Uniting Church minister with 45 years of experience in counselling, psychotherapy and training. He has guided many people through a leap of faith, among other things, and feels that it’s important to always weigh up the pros and cons of any decision you’re about to make.
“It’s a good idea to think about the parameters of what you’re doing,” Tom said. “Life is about boundaries.
“It’s when we don’t have that reflecting time – when we just jump – that may very well not be a leap of faith. It may very well be just stupid.”
While Sarah has had a lot of support from musicians, churches and people around her, it’s still a scary thing to put yourself out there.
“It’s a huge leap of faith for me because its been on my heart for a few years now,” she said. “In some ways I’ve been both excited and I’ve been flailing because I don’t know if people are going to be interested.”
Feeling this way however, doesn’t mean that we should give in to our fears and not take the leap at all. There will always be an element of fear whenever we try something new, so it’s about being sensible in our decision making. It’s also about knowing that failure is a possibility – which is actually okay.
“The fear of failure can be huge,” Tom said. “For a lot of people that stops any attempt to take a leap of faith.”
Tom says that your doubts do need to be considered.
“I think, if in doubt, you need to allow yourself to reflect on both sides of the doubt,” he said. “When you doubt, you have two opposing ideas operating inside yourself. You need to be able to allow yourself to work out both of them.”
If you’re still in doubt after that, it’s important to explore the issue with someone you trust. And if everything turns bad and your leap of faith doesn’t work out the way you had planned? Don’t fret. Tom said that forgiving yourself is the first step. Working through your feelings with family, friends or people you can trust will help you realise the good in every situation, not least the fact that you’ve probably learnt a few life lessons along the way.
“The very best resource we have in the world are people who love us,” Tom said. Sarah agrees, saying that for a leap of faith to happen, it needs discernment with those around you – and with God.
“Talking about it makes it more real – makes you accountable,” she said, adding that finding a mentor has been a great help to her.
“And then just do it and don’t be afraid of failure.”
Sarah will soon be holding auditions for her choir, Animo Vocal Ensemble. The choir will perform a range of repertoire from Gregorian chants to contemporary worship music and gospel. To find out more visit http://animovocalensemble.org/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.