We often fall into one of two categories: we are either risk averse and afraid of everything, so we are paralyzed in life. This causes us to miss the chances God wants us to take and live the life of adventure and faith He calls us to.
Or we take any risk that comes along in an effort to live life to the fullest and not miss anything, which causes us to not be very discerning and often live a life full of adventure and regrets.
Depending on which category you put yourself into or feel the most comfortable in, it is easy to say that one is more spiritual than another and exactly what God has in store and planned for every follower of Jesus. Yet on closer inspection, there is wisdom in both places.
There are times we are called to risk it all, throw caution to the wind, leave no stone unturned and leave it all on the field. To sell the farm, and hope that it turns up roses. There are also moments that wisdom calls for prudence, a slower pace, more talking with experts and people you trust and maybe ultimately waiting on a decision or missing a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
How do you know which one you should do as you face a decision or an opportunity?
Before we get to that, let’s back up.
The answer lies in a different question: What do you believe about God?
You see, if you struggle with fear and find yourself paralyzed at moments in life, you will often have a small view of God. You will see God more as a buddy buddy who is there to make you happy, protect you at all costs and do whatever you want. You will see a God who is less powerful than you are, so how can you trust Him with anything? You will also see a God who will not call you to scary things, a God who will never make you uncomfortable or contradict your thought process. God will always agree with you.
On the other side, if you are constantly pushing the envelope, then you have a risk taking God who sometimes will lack wisdom or at the least patience. You serve a God who wants it done now and can’t wait. A God of risk, a God who is ready to take off at a moment’s notice, who is often very pleased with your gut feeling or the things that will make you comfortable in that moment and meet your desires right now.
Ironically, both serve a God much like them and who wants them to be comfortable. The risk averse person sitting on the sideline who is never uncomfortable, and the risk taker who lives on the edge of the cliff and never has to exhibit patience or listen to anyone but their desire.
So which is right?
I don’t think one is right or wrong inasmuch as we need to identify where we often find ourselves and make sure of two things:
- That God is pushing us out of our comfort zone.This could mean that God is making you wait or pushing you to risk.
- That your choices are based on wisdom and not fear of being hurt or fear of missing something (interestingly fear drives both types of people in different ways).
I think more important than taking a risk is identifying what you believe to be true about God as you take a risk, as you think about doing something or not doing something. Is there a lie attached to it? Are you trying to win someone’s approval through it?
Often without realizing it, we fall prey to that instead of living the life God calls us to, whether that is of risk, waiting or wisdom, and sometimes both.