Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Ripple Effect of Risk (#RiskRejection)

{Amy Sullivan asked us if we would #RiskRejection and try new things, even if we knew we might not succeed.  Amy did not know when she asked me to participate is that I do not even ask for extra condiments if I fear being told "no."  But what Amy does know is that if God relentlessly hammers me asks me to do something, I will, which is why I have been embarking on adventures off the designated trails and into the scary wilderness where I might emerge humiliated badly scratched refined.}
I often think of risks in terms of what I have to lose or what I have to gain.  It's a weighing game played on mental scales and most of these scales are only weighing things directly related to me.

It seems as I can be a bit egocentric at times.  You?

I think back to my original risk two weeks ago, how in those 20 seconds I was able to momentarily cease thoughts about me and entertain the needs of the person in front of me.  But in that circumstance, the Holy Spirit caught me off-guard. I didn't have time to weigh every measure.  I couldn't overthink the situation.  I couldn't make the list of pros and cons.

photo credit
But with other risks, they weigh themselves on our hearts for days, months, years, and perhaps decades.  We hem and haw, go back and forth, talk ourselves into things and then right back out of them.  We don't find the thing that just pushes us so far off the edge that we have no choice but to dive fully into the risk.  Instead, we make ourselves weary by retracing the same back and forth steps and we never get anywhere except deeper into our own well-worn tracks.

But what if the thing that finally propels us has nothing to do with us?  What if we were to turn our risk around and see it in a different light?  What if we made our risk not about what we might lose, but about what someone else might gain?

It's no secret that our behaviors can have a ripple effect on the people around us, those known and unknown, those who lie in our beds or pass us on the streets.  So I wonder why I always dedicate so much more thought to how the risk is going to effect me rather than those around me?  Obviously, because I've learned the art of self-protection.  But, I have an interest in shedding that layer.  I have an interest in becoming less like me and more like Christ.  And to allow that transformation, I must attempt to see things as He does.

Take Jia Jiang (the whole reason this thing started).  He risked rejection by walking into a doughnut shop, asking them to make doughnuts in the shape of the Olympic rings.  He expected to be told something like, "Um, sir, I don't really know what you're talking about.  We don't do that kind of thing here."  (I imagine this said in a snooty voice.)  Instead, he got exactly what he ordered.  Don't believe me?  Watch below:

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So Jia Jiang was pleasantly surprised.  His risk was rewarded with inventive Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  But who else was blessed by this whole experience?

Jackie, the girl who was handed the challenge and rose to the task.  What did Jackie get?

  • High praise from Jia Jiang.
  • National (global?) recognition for rising to the challenge in newspapers and blogs around the world.
  • Declared one of 8 ordinary people who did amazing things in 2012
  • 4,296 likes on a Facebook page Jia Jiang created for her called "Give Jackie a Raise"
  • Mention in Business Week
  • Appearance on Jeff Probst's television show (the Survivor host!)
photo credit: Alana12
Jia Jiang's risk changed Jackie's life.  I bet he never thought about her before he walked into that doughnut shop.  But it sure is proof that our willingness to risk our own failure can lead to someone else's amazing success.  A success that was totally unimagined, a complete blessing, unmistakably a way they could use their God-given creativity and talent.

It's not always just about us.  Your risk is not just about you.

Hear me:  I am not saying take the risk because of someone else.  I'm saying that seeing beyond yourself can give you a new perspective.  It can give you a boost of confidence.  It can help you see just how this all might be worth it in the end.  It might be the one thing that gets you off the well-worn path you've seen as both frustrating, but

There's no way Craig and I would be writing this book about our journey through his porn addiction if it wasn't for the *possibility* that God could use our story to bring hope to someone else.  All those "someone elses" were what propelled us to go through this (very painful and hard) process.  

Well, them...and God. 

Have you risked rejection and then seen how it has positively impacted others around you?  Or can you see how taking your risk might positively impact someone else?

Linking with Linking up with Amy for #riskrejection. And also with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer Lee for #tellHisstory, Michell for DYWW,  Women to Women Sharita for Everyday Jesus, and Lyli for Thought Provoking Thursday.


  1. OH, I so like this whole premise. I learned that lesson and continue to do it...and don't get me wrong, I've had a bunch of rejections, BUT along the journey, what I have learned is never hurts to ask! THis theme came up after I started blogging and lost my job (after the hip injury which halted -temporarily- my fitness career). God kept encouraging me through the yesses of others during many rejections, and yes, these blessed others and continue to bless me and remind never hurts to ask. Because, a no, is not death. It is a two letter word. Why should we fear a two letter word when we have a three letter GOD who is able to redeem, guide and grace us abundently?! Can't wait to read your book. Sugn me up for the launch team! ;) Hugs, Jen!

  2. This is such a great message, Jen. So many times we don't see how our steps in obedience are impacting those around us. I hope as I share the risk to seek JOY in the year of a deployment that God uses my words to bring encouragement to other military spouses beyond what I could ever imagine.

  3. Jen, wow. It is precisely because you have placed the joy and freedom that will come to others before yourselves that God will give you the grace and strength to do this job well. You have been in my prayers--especially Craig.
    You get Olympic medals for bravery. :-)

  4. Needed this message friend. Actions do influence others, may I never forget that. May I risk so my children risk more. May I risk so that others are found. And may I risk in obedience. #RiskRejection . . . yep!!

  5. I am SO not a risk-taker by nature either so this is always challenging to me.

    "What if we made our risk not about what we might lose, but about what someone else might gain?"

    It reminds me of this by Martin Luther King that I put on my blog this week:

    "I imagine that the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'
    - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I hadn't heard of Jia Jiang, but I love this video and especially his thoughts commentary. Go, Jackie (she made me cry), and go, Krispy Kreme (my fave!).

    And go, Jen! You continue to inspire me to go beyond.

  6. I love you. Seriously. "What if we made our risk not about what we might lose, but about what someone else might gain?" I get so caught up in this. I let my fear and insecurity get the better of me and I know I have missed out on opportunities to do someone else good because of that. I need a good dose of getting over myself, and your post really helped.

  7. Oh. my. word.


    It's not always just about us. Your risk is not just about you.


    My friend -- that brought tears to my eyes. It is EXACTLY what I needed and the reminder of WHY I need to break my heart and leave my home and set out on this crazy journey that doesn't make sense to people (or even to me, sometimes..) -- because if God wants MY SONGS to be heard, to help people and encourage them... then I have have RESPONSIBILITY to get them out there.

    And the reality is that I can't do that here.
    Thank you, beautiful friend.

  8. Hi Jen! I am coming over from Doing You Well Wednesday.

    I think anyone who writes is a risk-taker, don't you? You pour some part of you on the page, and then step back hoping no one will laugh. Dreading attention, while dreading being ignored. (Why do we even do it??)

    I think you do it because as you said, you have a message that can help someone else. That is taking a risk for others in a big way. No one said you had to open yourself up, but you are. And that takes guts, determination and a goal. That's what inspires me.

    And you're right. It's not just about you. It will be about all the people who will read your words and be comforted, or spurred to action. That is being Christ to someone.
    Best of graces on your efforts!

  9. I can't believe this video made me cry - but it did. Two of the most charming people I've ever seen on video. Lovely!

  10. Mind. BLOWN. For real.

    Thank you so much for this post-- it is incredibly encouraging (even if it made me crave donuts)

    Thanks so much Jen. You never cease to amaze me with your Jesus heart. I am praying for your book. :-) Much love, sister.

  11. I am so thankful that you and Craig are taking the risk to share your story. May it bring help, healing, and hope to many!

    I always think of risk takers are being foolish people who like the adrenaline rush of being crazy, but here you have given me a whole new perspective on how taking a risk and stepping out can really make a difference in someone's life.

    Thanks for linking up at Thought-Provoking Thursday. :)

  12. I love everything about this post! Go #RiskRejection!!

  13. Jen, When we had our big accident, we learned in the aftermath that the story, the whole thing wasn't just about me, our family even, but about our community and every person who would one day hear us give glory to God. I agree, our risk is scary, and we often can't even imagine what God will do with our baby-steps on His path of adventure. I am excited to see what God will do with this book, your story, the freedom that will come to the lives of others by your vulnerability.

  14. Oh, what a great perspective. I can be so, SO egocentric. Thank you for sharing this, its definitely going to stick with me this week!

  15. Oh Jen, I too have mastered the art of self protection and needed to read this post today. It really opened my eyes to some stuff. Love how you opened us up to the other side of the risk taking - beautifully done!

  16. So, so good. Our risk is someone else's gain. Thanks for sharing this. I am happy to be on this journey with such an amazing group of people! #RiskRejection

  17. This is so true. Ripple effect!

  18. Here's what I thought about while reading this. I tend not to risk in relationships, but when I do and really put myself out there, a lot of times it isn't about me (eek, you are right on that one). Darn you, Jen Ferguson. I hate it when you make me think.

  19. "What if we made our risk not about what we might lose, but about what someone else might gain?" - Wow. Those words really hit home. It's not about me....

  20. Such a great perspective! Risking really isn't about us, is it? It's about God and what He wants to do through us and to others! When we get small, it gets so exciting to see Him grow His scope of impact to others!

  21. I love the idea of our risks positively impacting other people. A risk for risks sake doesn't seem as meaningful.


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