I’ll try to avoid all the really cheesy cliches about how life is short and you should jump at any opportunity to experience humanity fully and completely, but idk, sometimes there’s something kind of sweet about cliches. Either way, I think the sentiment remains – life is short, and a life of fear and inaction isn’t really a life at all.
I think I’ve said it before but growing up I was so risk averse, looking back it’s hard to believe that was even me. But it’s true, my anxiety crippled any decision involving risk – because I didn’t have control of the outcome. If I couldn’t see the beginning from the end of a decision – I wasn’t making it, because I didn’t want to mess anything up. I know I’m not alone.
I see so many people living in a comfortable, risk-free world where they sort of just let life happen to them. Life just hits them, and they deal with it as it comes. And ultimately it feels like for a lot of people there’s just a total lack of action toward anything greater. Believe me, I’ve been there. I think as a society we’ve been somewhat paralyzed by the notion that there’s a “certain” way that life should go – just follow this path – and you’re straight. Anything off the beaten path should be avoided, because it’s not certain.
Honestly, I see this a lot in the Church – literally the one place where risk taking should be in abundance. I hear people talking about just “waiting” for God to move, or waiting on a sign, and that’s all good…God does move, and God does show up, and God does want us trusting in His plan, and sometimes God does just want us to wait. BUT, sometimes, God also wants us to move, He wants US to show up too. Just the other week someone said to me that God will only work with the amount of faith He’s been given, and if we’re never stepping out in faith – then what are we believing God for?
For a lot of people, lack of action is based out of the fear of failure – wanting to ensure that everything will work out just the way we want it to. So as we sit there trying to play God until all the pieces fall into the exact right place – or assuming we can even see all the intricate pieces of the puzzle, we miss the opportunity for God to piece things together. We miss the opportunity to actually step out in faith – stepping out when we really don’t know how or when it will all work together for our good.
And for some people lack of action is based out of apathy – and for that – I’m not sure I’m your girl, because as someone once told me – “Meghan, I’m not sure I’m as passionate about anything in my life as you are”…in this season of my life…and every other – I’ve never related to a life lived apathetically. Now, if this is you – I’m not judging you – I am many other things…apathetic just isn’t one of them. Catch me in a different season, but I will say – there’s more waiting out there for you beyond apathy. You’re allowed to live larger than that.
Here’s a really great message about apathy that I recently heard:
Either way, there are decisions that need to be made every day. There are risks you can take all around you…Instead of allowing your excuses to conquer your actions – how about you start conquering your excuses? So, where do you start?
Since I started this blog I actually get a lot of people coming to me for advice, which is kind of weird because – hello, are you reading my blog? I don’t know what I’m doing over here…but, almost every time someone asks me for advice it’s about a decision they have to make or a risk they have to take…and they want to know if they should take it. Honestly, I may be on the other side of the spectrum now, because my gut instinct always feels like a “yes”. And despite the trendy inspirational quotes on Facebook – I know “yes” can’t/shouldn’t always be the answer. So here are some things to consider when you have a decision in front of you…or a risk available to you.
1. Start with “yes” in mind
Don’t start from a “no” perspective. It’s so easy to talk yourself into a “no”, so when you start there – it makes it really hard for your “no” to be turned into a “yes”. I just always start with the notion that the answer is yes – until it’s clear that the answer should be no.
What is your intention for taking the risk/saying yes? Is your intention so that you will have cool pictures to post on Facebook and then everyone can see how exotic life is for you? Or is your intention based on serving others? Is your intention pure? Like are you trying to glorify God with this risk, or are you trying to glorify yourself and your own life? Is the risk/decision biblical? Think about WHY you want to take the risk in the first place – if you’re at the center of your intention – replace yourself with Jesus and see if it still makes sense.
Just an FYI about intention. Intention is so much, but it’s not everything. Anyone have that person in your past who treated you like crap, but always covered it up with “good intentions”…ya neither have I (eyeroll). They’re like the worst. Intentions don’t mean much if they aren’t followed by action…just sayinnn.
3. Who does this affect other than you?
Now, this one is interesting, and I feel like God recently gave me some perspective on this one. Obviously none of us make decisions in a vacuum. Our choices impact others, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. It’s important to think about who else would be affected by this choice. NOW, I think this is where a lot of people talk themselves out of a “yes” – without just cause.
Sometimes lack of action is explained away by us trying to actually make decisions for other people. When our decisions will affect other people we start to make up other people’s minds for them…without ever giving them the chance to make up their own mind. Honestly, that just hurt my head to even type…so I’ll try to explain. I think that we like to assume we know how other people will respond or react to our risks, we like to assume we can fully comprehend how other people would be affected by our choices, but the truth is, we don’t actually know. I think a lot of decisions don’t get made, and a lot of risks don’t get taken because people are too busy presuming how another person would take it, or how another person would respond.
So yes, we have a responsibility to others, but let’s leave assumptions out of the decision making process.
When I had a pretty big decision to make a while back I remember telling my bestie that I was just going to wait until God revealed His will to me, ya know? Kind of just waiting on a sign. What she said to me set me free, and I hope it does the same for you – “Sometimes God wants us to make our best decision, and then He wants to work in the middle of it. God gave you free will Meghan, you aren’t a robot who just waits to be told exactly what to do. You have a God that will meet you in the middle of whatever decision you make.” I don’t want to be someone who is just so paralyzed at the thought of making the wrong choice that I don’t make any choice at all, and now I know that when I take that risk…God will meet me there.
Francis Chan said, “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I could not be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He does not come through, I am screwed.” I’m not sure I can put it any better than that. Ultimately – if you’re not taking risks, you aren’t begging God to come through, and I want to live a life where there’s no other choice.
Idk about you – but I would rather live a life of a bunch of failed risks, than a life of inactive fear-based comfortability…ya know? And just based on what I know about God – I think that’s what He would want too. So yeah, I think you should just go for it.