“I think there should be a God-honoring, obedient risk in our lives every single day…I’m saying that Jesus lives on the other side of our comfort. And that when we get comfortable for too long, we start to miss our need for God.” –Jennie Allen
I always find it interesting how I choose my next topic to write upon. Sometimes there is a pressing notion on my mind, and other times it just slaps me across the face and I can’t get the thought out of my head until I have it down on paper. That is what happened today as I read from Jennie Allen’s book “Nothing to Prove.” This particular chapter talked about Jesus’ risk for us, and how we tend to avoid risk in life. We like the comfortable spot in the chair, or in our church pew, just so long as not too much gets shaken up. I started to contemplate all the “risks” I have found myself taking lately in life. Things I would probably have never had the courage or tact to do even five years ago. And I could see the point Jennie was trying to make. We, as human beings, have a tendency to make our decisions based on fears (or the fear of risk) instead of relying on our faith to guide us.
Faith can have different meanings for various spiritualities, but for me, it means I am a follower of Jesus and I strive to live my life out in my faith through Him. Jesus risked so much to give me life, and it makes my own fears seem obsolete. So as I kept reading Allen’s book, I was thinking about my own battles with fear, how have I worked to overcome those fears, and what am I still lacking when I am supposed to obediently live the “what would Jesus do” lifestyle. It also had me thinking about risk.
As a child, I would not have considered myself a risk-taker. For those of you who knew me then, and even read this blog, you would probably agree. I was always a rule-follower and didn’t stray far from the safe path in life. I didn’t take huge risks when it came to school, relationships, or physical activities. I chose not to “put myself out there,” whether it be fear of failure or rejection. I came out of adolescence with only a few bruises, but what opportunities did I miss because I failed to take a risk? Because my fear of failing overruled my desire to see what the grass looked like on the other side of the fence?
Moving away to school was the first big “risk” I took, and it began a slow, yet steady tick of finding myself in life. It has taken years, and a lot of life experiences, but I am letting that fear of risk slowly go. Rome was not built in a day, so this does take time. Yet, it is so liberating when you can finally be comfortable in your own skin and own your identity. The space I take up in this world, I worked hard to own and this is just the beginning. I have built some pretty amazing relationships in life, am putting myself out there more to become involved in big ideas, and realizing that fear and risk are not necessarily bad things. Just so long as I can keep my faith in perspective and Jesus in my heart. I am not expecting to move mountains or set the world on fire with my new-found, risk-taking attitude. But what I hope to achieve is a more solid foundation to stand on as I get older and live my life. To show my children that taking a God-filled risk can result in some awesome discoveries, no matter how scary the idea.
“Every time we risk, we place our lives in the hands of our God and test His enoughness. It is for freedom and joy that we stand out past the limits and confines of our comfort.” –Jennie Allen
Risk-taking means the chance of bumps and bruises. It’s like me cringing when I see my kids race on their bikes or try to ski behind a boat. I know there lies the chance for broken bones or bruised egos, but the flip side is the joy and elation they feel whenever they succeed. The knowing and trusting that God has them in His arms and protects them more than I ever could as a mother. It’s the million dollar question shored up by eternal salvation, grace, and love. I just have to remember to let the fear go, to let the risk happen, and to trust more. That doesn’t mean I’m going to let my kids run in traffic, or that I am going to hit the blackjack tables in Vegas. Instead, I know I am not always going to be there to offer protection and help to my children. And I know that Jesus watches over them as they take their own risks through life, just as I know He watches over me as I am taking more of mine. It’s not an easy thing to do, to let go and let God. But then again, who said life was going to be easy?
So I ask you to think about your own risk-taking, fear-loathing attitude in life, and maybe kick it up a notch or two. See what you can do to put yourself out there more. Will you build a new relationship, or perhaps mend an old and damaged one. Will you jump towards a new career, or maybe move thousands of miles away. It’s hard to say how the cards will play when you take a risk or two, but I pray you find it and settle in for the ride.
Until next time,