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  • Writer's pictureKent Chevalier

Jump WITH Fear

I left a secure position and paycheck and jumped into the unknown. There was no guaranteed salary. I had no formal training. I had no contract in hand. I had zero experience in the role of NFL Chaplain.

What I did have was fear. What I did have was questions. What I did have was a wife and three daughters to support. College tuition looming. Weddings to pay for. Normal living expenses. Stress. Anxious thoughts. Oh, I had those!

I also had a great job! I loved the people that I worked with. I was comfortable receiving a bi-weekly paycheck for doing the work that I loved. I had purpose and impact. I also had 20+ years of experience in my role. Things were good for me and my family. But...

I also had this feeling in my gut. I knew it in my knower. I had a hunch. There were needles in my nest that were causing me to get uncomfortable. From the outside looking in, nothing changed, but I was changing on the inside. Something was coming. I could just feel it.

Maybe I'm describing you right now. Maybe you feel that weight in your chest as you're reading this. I get it. I was there. I'm still there with you.

You know something is about to change. You need something to shift. You want things to fall into place. You're all fussed up on the inside.

I was fussed up on the inside...for three years. How many? Three years! I was hesitant to chase it because the last time I jumped, I fell, and it hurt. It didn't just hurt me, but it hurt my family and many other families who were jumping with me.

Twelve years had passed since that last jump left me broken. I had to heal. I had to learn to trust again. I was still limping, and when those familiar feelings of internal nudges and needles in my comfortable nest came around, I hesitated. I chose to ignore it. I shoved it down. Bottom line...I was afraid.

So, when this wild opportunity to become an NFL Chaplain by joining the staff of Athletes in Action presented itself, it would require me to take a massive leap of faith, and the fear gripped me. I remembered the pain as I stared at the scars. And if I was going to risk it all to make that kind of jump, I would have to be persuaded with miraculous words written in the sky. "Jump, Kent! It will be worth the risk!" That's what it would take.

And I kid you not...that is what happened!

Well, not exactly in the sky, but I couldn't help but become convinced by two undeniable experiences. I knew that I was supposed to jump again. I had two radical experiences that I like to call the handlebars of this crazy adventure of trust. Like the handlebars of a bike, I am holding on to these two moments of confirmation for the ride of my life.

Do you remember the exhilaration of learning how to ride a bike? You were scared, but you wanted it so bad! You wanted to have the freedom to ride with your friends and explore the unknown. But, to get to that kind of freedom, you had to fall a few times as you were learning. You dared to get back on the bike, and eventually, you were pedaling your way to endless adventure.

What if you never got back on the bike after the first time you crashed? What if the fear of wrecking and scraping your knee again kept you from getting back on the bike? You would have missed out on some great adventures.

It's been nearly 5 years since I leaped into the unknown of NFL chaplaincy, and it hasn't been easy, but it has been awesome! The fear is still with me and my family in ways that I can't fully describe here, and now I am convinced that my assignment is growing even more to inspire people to join me. I believe that I'm supposed to share my story with more people to help them embrace the fear of the unknown so they can jump into their purpose.

I'm still afraid! I still doubt myself at times. Those closest to me know I have all those same fears as before, but now I embrace those fears and hold onto the two undeniable experiences when that fear tries to keep me grounded. I now trust the past five years as a teacher to live from a place of humble confidence.

I chose to embrace the fear, and I jumped WITH it. And I'm getting ready to do it again.

With encouragement from my friends and confirmations galore, I'm jumping into the speaking world to share my story of these two undeniable experiences that led me to become an NFL Chaplain. I'd love to come and share it with you.

Friends, don't let fear keep you from experiencing life's adventure! Invite fear to come with you into the unknown.

Jump WITH fear. Do it afraid.


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