Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Risk Rejection? I don't think so. Well, maybe...

If you asked me if I am a risk-taker, I would tell you "no."  And not just a "no" in a "not really" kind of voice, but an emphatic, vocal, "no way Jose" intonation.  You'd think I really meant "no."

It is in my nature to crave the quiet life, one that is predictable and soothing.  I want to take the way that is known, well-traveled.  I am not spontaneous. I don't play the stock market.  I have been at the same church since I was seven and live just one little hop from the city in which I was raised.  I don't even like to ask for extra condiments if I fear I might be told "no."

Unlike Amy, who has challenged us to #riskrejection, I am not sick of the designated trails.  In fact, I really, really like them.  I'm not even adventurous when it comes to food.  My husband had to trick me to get me to eat fried alligator.  (Yes, he's from Louisiana and yes, it tastes like chicken, but tougher.)

You get the picture.  I like stability.  Risk rocks stability.  Therefore, I should not take risks, lest I want to find myself capsized.

But then, I do.  I do take risks despite my inordinately strong predisposition to not do so.

And I do it because I am temporarily blinded to the risk just long enough to put myself out there.  It's only after I've become fully committed that I realize what the heck I just did and start to freak out.  I'm doing WHAT again?

God must have figured out how I work.  If He can just get me to see something His way for about 20 seconds, He knows I'll be in.  He'll deal with my wrath, anxiety, and questions later.

It is in those 20 seconds that I forget about me.  It is in those 20 seconds where my perspective completely changes and all I can think about is how in taking this risk I might change someone else's world or... maybe even the whole world.

Someone else's need begins to supersede my need to be safe.  I become selfless instead of staying selfish.  And I end up battling the selfish for the rest of the time I'm engaged in the risk-taking, sure,  but because I committed, I know that selfless person is still somewhere inside me.  The Holy Spirit is still working and helping me battle out my flesh, keeping His will in front of me, even if it means leaving the beaten path.

The world has a scale for risks, but I'm not sure that God does.  Any time we step out in faith, any time we see His perspective and act, that is a big deal.  To us.  To Him.  Because it means we are choosing to make Him a bigger priority than ourselves.

Last Friday, Hannah had a friend coming over to play. It was the first playdate, so when the mom dropped her off, I knew there would be the obligatory "first playdate" conversation.  I didn't expect much more than the norm -- pick up time, food allergies, etc.  But I happened to apologize for the state of my house due to the de-Christmasfying process, which lead to trash pick-up, which led to tears forming in her eyes because through some other twists and turns in the conversation, we landed on this:  They had just moved here from another state and the truth is, she's having a really hard time.

And immediately, I said:  "I'll be your friend!  Let's have coffee sometime!" (for me, minimal risk)

But then I got that familiar inkling, the feeling there was something more I could offer her.

"Um, well, I also lead a bible study for women at my church.  I don't even know if you believe in God, but that's okay.  We're a great group of women.  You could make a whole bunch of friends.  And we have free childcare..."

20 seconds.

She could have told me she'd look into it with a "yeah, right" kind of mentality.  She could of told me that wasn't her speed.  She could have walked away, come back to pick up her daughter, and that could have been the end of it.  I could have ended up rejected because of my silly "I'll be your friend!" comment or because of my faith or because she thought I was making assumptions about what she needed.

But she didn't.  And she's coming to bible study.  And I think we'll be good friends.

For 20 seconds, I forgot about how she might perceive me.  All I could see were her tears.  All I could feel was the Holy Spirit.

I risked rejection and we both reaped rewards.

(And why did I use 20 seconds?  Because this is one of my favorite quotes: "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." - Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo)

Linking up with Amy for #riskrejection. And also with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer Lee for #tellHisstory, and Women to Women today.

photo credit: SweetOnVeg via photopin cc

20 comments :

  1. Jen, I love this story. Like really, really love this story. I'm hoping next week to share about the 20 seconds of courage I had that oh my has led to something so amazing! But back to your story... I think I love it so much because I always fear sharing my faith because I'm afriad of how I may be perceived and end up not taking that risk. You have encouraged me today greatly by sharing your story. Thank you.
    Much love to you,
    Beth

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  2. Just 20 second to love well ... bravo, Jen.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  3. Oh Jen, I love it! I am NOT a risk taker either. And while I truly love women's Bible studies, inviting someone I don't know is way out of my comfort zone and definitely a 'risk.' But God honored your obedience. And I believe this is the start of a beautiful thing for her...and you.

    Thank you for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this Jen, because one of my goals this year is to put myself "out there"! Trying new things, going to new places, but most of all living my life uninhibited and unrestrained for HIM!! :-) Hope you and your family had a lovely holiday and may you all have a blessed 2014!

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  5. I could almost hear your voice in this. Like for real. I love that you are includer and how you reach out to others. Thank you for risking even when it makes you uncomfortable.

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  6. I love this, Jen. And I love that quote (and movie!) from We Bought a Zoo. Sometimes I think I need 20 seconds x 10 -- ha. But I think it does ring true. In the end, we just need that burst of courage and God to make a move, right?
    Please tell me how was that friend alligator? I love to try new things but eeeek! You go, girl!

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    1. So...it was tough. And fried. But if you can't get past those two things, it's pretty good. :)

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  7. SO brave, and so full of "effortless grace" (not in a way that it didn't take effort, but in a way where it just flowed out of your sweet heart!)

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  8. I am not at all surprised that you loved her like that! When I think of you, I ascribe those inclusive and welcoming and loving qualities to yourself. I'm really glad for your new friend that she gets to know you in real life!

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  9. Aww yes, that is beautiful risk that the body of christ must take. Love this Jen. Excited about this new relationship you are building.

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  10. Well, just shoot -- now I'm in tears. That is so beautiful. And it is amazing how in 20 seconds we can step out and help another, but in 20 seconds I usually talk myself out of it. Oh my I need to start concentrating on those 20 seconds. Love that movie. Love your risk. Thankful God blessed! http://positivelyalene.com

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  11. If only we could all use our 20 seconds as well as you did. :-) #RiskRejection

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  12. That was so very brave. As outgoing as I am, I freak out in situations like that. Glad you are joining the party! ;)

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  13. Hey Jen, I keep attempting to comment here and cannot seem to get it done! I just want to tell you that I loved your example of God driven risk taking and you have convicted me to be more selfless in my everyday living. Thanks for sharing!!

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  14. A new friendship or invitation is risk and a beautiful way that God works through it. Thanks.

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  15. love that quote. love what came from it. i'm going to try to act on my 20 seconds... well, probably 10 seconds of bravery. :)

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  16. Oh, Jen........powerful! 20 seconds of insane bravery. God is so faithful when we listen his Holy Spirit--thanks for being such an encourager.

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  17. Ridiculously encouraging, Jen, as usual! Love the 20 seconds of courage... Amazing how God works in such a split second of time.

    I so hope you and this new gal become good friends and your beautiful heart can reach her heart. Love it!

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  18. You're getting close to being called an extrovert my friend. :) I love those 20 seconds where we are fearless. I am so glad that you stepped out and now look at the gift that God has given you because you did.

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  19. Hey, can we have a phone conversation? Seriously. If so, please e-mail your # to normalgirl@hotmail.com

    I'd like to talk to you about something.

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