Monday, October 27, 2014

Risky Business

I'm not one known for taking risks--really, risks of any kind. Of course, there was that one semester of college when I tasted what I thought was freedom--and it was freedom, if you describe freedom as being out from under a parent's watchful eye--where I took great personal risk by doing lots of risky things that weren't like me at all, like skipping class. (Okay, so make fun of me. I am not a person who ever skipped class, except maybe on Senior Skip Day, and to me, skipping class* was fraught with danger and certainly dicey. I did other things that semester, too.) But I am not the one you'll see hang gliding or bungee jumping or wind surfing or swimming with a pool full of dolphins (I heard they aren't as innocent as they look. And that they can leave a mark when they bite.) Or walking out on that glass overlook they have at the Grand Canyon. I'd like to do some of those things. But I'm scared to.

This does not seem safe. What the heck is holding you up??!?

I'm scared of heights, among other things. Like spiders. And snakes. And The Bug, in general.

I have a habit of trying to keep myself safe, to batten down the hatches--on all sides, just in case. Even on a bright, sunny, cloudless day.

I've even thought that maybe those underground rooms that people make for themselves, just in case this year might the The Year of The End of the World As We Know It (or The Zombie Apocalypse)--you know the ones I'm taking about, with steel walls and flashlights and bottles of water--aren't such a crazy idea. (But I know they must be filled with critters of the 6-and-8-legged variety. Which means I couldn't go in after it had been sitting there for a while. At least not until someone else went in first to give it the all-clear, and if one is actually experiencing a Zombie Apocalypse, who has time for an all-clear? You obviously see my dilemma.)

Things like leading a bible study and writing a blog that bares (most of) my soul aren't comfortable for me.

They are, in a word, risky.

So on Saturday, when my daughter and I went around on a clear, sunny, beautiful 73-degree day and invited not just the people I know but my entire neighborhood to a start-up bible study, my Internal Risk Alarm was banging around in my head. Loudly. Telling me to stop being crazy, to stop putting myself out there, to batten down the hatches and stay where it's safe.

Because rejection is only second to risk on the List of Things I Hate.

1) Risk
2) Rejection
3) Spiders and snakes
4) Not getting my way
5) Yellow walls

And it would feel a little bit like rejection if I sat here, waiting for people to come, and they just didn't.

But the thing is, when a person with tendencies such as mine batten down all their hatches, they are likely to shut everything out--even the good. And then people like me are just groping around in the dark, trying to feel their way to a flashlight. And we all know a flashlight won't light up a room the way opening up a window will.

The other night, we lost power for about 45 minutes. It was pitch black outside and in. No moon. No stars. No light. And trying to feel my way through to the closet to find the flashlight was no easy task. (I was just hoping no bugs had decided to make their way onto a surface my hands could touch but my eyes couldn't see.) So I know about these things.

I don't know if this bible study will be wildly popular or not (but it should be--look who's leading it!), but I'm reminded of a quote from Andy Stanley, who wrote Your Move:

My glory is too small a things to live for.

And, he says, we've been invited to be a part of something bigger, something better. It gives a freedom and a liberation (that skipping class* can't even touch), because we step out of our own shadow and into reflecting God's glory and His greatness.

Not our own.

Which is what we were designed for, what we were created to do. Give God glory.

I may not have it all figured out, and I may not know exactly how to speak to the masses about giving God glory, or write a NY Times best-seller on The Glory Of God, or even how to reflect His glory on a daily basis. (I often get in my own way when it comes to reflecting any sort of glory away from me and onto Him.) But I do know that doing something is better than doing nothing. Doing nothing is staying safe, battening down those hatches, staying in the shallow waters.

Something sometimes means taking a little risk, stepping out onto the step that may not be fully lit yet, and trusting Him to be your safety net.

It's not just for the neighborhood--everyone is invited :)

*Just as an aside, I do not think that skipping class or other such highly speculative behaviors should be a part of the Taking Risk category that I'm talking about here ;)

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