What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about taking risks? My first thought is...well, risks are scary. I'm really good at running as fast as I can in the opposite direction when I am aware of a risk I need to take. And if you're honest with yourself, you probably do too.
Risks look completely different for each of us. For some of you, a risk may look like allowing yourself to dream with God about what you are actually passionate about.
- Maybe it's saying how you feel or voicing your opinion.
- Maybe it's asking that girl on a date. Or for ladies, telling that cute guy that you've been hanging out with that you're interested in him.
- Maybe you need to talk to God about who you are...but that's scary because what if you don't like what He tells you about how He created you specifically?
- Maybe it's choosing to believe God is faithful and good.
- Maybe the biggest risk for you right now is truly believing that you are worth it.
The reality is we take risks every day. Every choice we make is a risk. Most of the time we don't even think about the risks we take daily and how the tiniest choice could drastically change our (and other's)lives. Let's say you meet someone in class and you have the thought to invite them to Wesley. That seems pretty simple, right?!?! But it's also scary because they could say no. In that moment, you would have the choice to risk being "rejected" or you have the choice to invite them to Wesley and their life could be completely changed by the Holy Spirit. In these moments of risks, we have to decide which choice is worth it more.
Even though we take risks everyday, I don't think we take enough of them. My definition of risk is choosing to act where fear is present. We allow this bully by the name of fear keep us from going for it. And that's not okay. We often let fear dictate who we are by what we do and say to ourselves and others. Fear blinds us from the truth and prevents us from taking risks.
Underneath the fear, what do you think keeps us from taking risks? I'm so glad you asked. I believe there are two reasons.
1. We don't know who we are.
We often refuse to take risks because deep down we don't believe that we are are known, valued, and loved. It's easy to be distracted by the messages the world sends us. Most of the time, those messages don't communicate that we are truly cared for. We have to believe that who God says we are is actually who we are. We have to believe that who God says He is is exactly who He is. It is vital that we trust that He isn't lying to us.
Sometimes that can be your biggest risk - choosing to believe that you are worthy of His love. Choosing to believe that the way you were created is exactly how God expects and desires for you to be. He chose to create you with the quirks you have. He loves each thing about you. If He can love those things about us, why can't we?
If you were to ask someone to Wesley and they were to reject your invitation, their "no" doesn't mean that God isn't saying "yes" to you. Their response has absolutely nothing to do with who you are. Often times, I find myself linking the outcomes of risks I take to m worth when in reality, there is no relation whatsoever.
Once you allow God to convince you that the only thing that determines your identity is Him alone, it makes it easier for you to believe and know who You are. And that gives you the confidence to take risks no matter the circumstance or outcome.
Practical tip: Find a community and be honest and vulnerable with the people in it. One of the ways to allow Him to love you well is by being vulnerable and authentic with God, with yourself, and with the people you call your community. He desires to pour His love out on us through His people.
When I was watching an episode of "Girl Meets World" a few weeks ago, I had to hit the pause button immediately after Maya said this to Riley, "when you hope for things, you get disappointed." In that moment, I realized something wasn't right in my heart - I was believe that same statement to be true.
It's easy to get disappointed in the world we live in. On any given day, you could turn on the news and be bombarded with every thought of disappointment and hopelessness because of the events that take place throughout our society. Or when we finally muster up the courage to go for the risk that has been weighing us down, it doesn't pan out how we expected or hoped for. I'll be the first to tell you that I can become hopeless instantly when things aren't going the way I expected or the way I hoped they would.
Good news is that doesn't have to be reality for you or for me. When we put our hope in anything other than God, we will get disappointed. I have found that the best way to combat disappointment and hopelessness is being grateful for Jesus and the risks He took for us.
Every choice Jesus made was a risk. A huge risk. People didn't like him because of some of the actions He chose to take in His everyday life. But what is beautiful is that He chose to take those risks regardless because He was convinced that no matter how people responded to Him, His father was still in love with Him.
His biggest risk was the cross. he did it because He knew it would be worth it. No matter how often we rejected Him, He always has hope for our lives. Even for our loved ones we desperately want to know Jesus. Even if we rejected Him for the rest of our lives, He would still believe we were worth being beaten and nailed to a cross.
Practical tip: Find gratitude in your heart. I find that when I'm feeling hopeless, it's hard for me to be grateful for the things God has already given me. God has made us a people of hope and thankfulness stirs it up.
The Power of Taking Risks
Risks take courage. It's for the brave, But here's a secret: YOU are courageous enough to look your fears in the face and shut them down. YOU are brave enough. This is who God has created you to be.
What would happen if you were ten times more bold? Ten times more courageous? Ten times more brave? We would see Him more, hear Him more, and others would be able to see Him and hear Him more.
Our risks aren't just beneficial for us. They also benefit everyone else around us. Our risks stir up hope and courage in others to go after their own risks. Imagine if everyone you knew was taking risks - I'm convinced that our world would look more like Jesus. People wouldn't be able to deny who God is because of the ways He would reveal Himself. Your risks inspire other people to also take risks. And other people influence you through the risks they take. Take a chance and go for it. It may be wrong and you may fail. If you do, He's still faithful and good. He still loves you and has hope for your life. Don't worry about any mess you might create, God specializes in cleaning up our messes.
Here's to taking risks. Here's to believing you are worth taking a risk for. Here's to having hope. Hope is contagious. When we are a people of hope, it fuels love. Love changes people. Risk to love.