Homeward Bound, Part 1

Cool picture by x-inna.

It’s hard to believe over two months has already passed. Summertime is coming to a close, and this is my last weekend out here in Santa Barbara, CA (I fly back Monday). It actually is a bittersweet thing. I’m ready to go home to my friends, family, and the love of my life, but I’ve been able to enjoy a satisfying job and a wonderful new niece that I will miss along with the town of Santa Barbara. The food, the mountains, the ocean — it’s majestic here!

I’m grateful to have largely been out of my comfort zone while here. Being in an unfamiliar town for over two months with barely any friends has been great for my heart. God has shown me some of the deeper idols I didn’t see so well before, and I’ve been able to witness a lot of eye-opening truths about what it means to be a godly husband and father. This has been indispendable as I am getting ready for some of the biggest and best chapters of my life.

God has indeed taught me a lot of things, so I wanted to focus on the big two I learned while out here. As you have probably surmised, today’s post is about the first one.

Let’s talk about risks.They’re exciting with a side of uncertainty, making them scary as well. Some argue that being safe is always a better idea than taking risks; others have opened the door to many new opportunities as a result of a risk being taken.

Should Christians be in the business of taking risks? Yes, but please let me clarify:

It’s not always worth it to take risks, but risks taken are always worth it.

To put it simply, it’s not smart to take every possible financial, spiritual, or relational risk you find, but when you prayerfully consider, weigh, and faithfully take a risk, it will end up being worth taken.

Consider my trip. I think of it as a risk, since coming to California for over two months did come with some personal costs –

I was nervous about spending the summer in California. Being away from my girlfriend for over two months wasn’t going to be easy (even though she did visit for a week). Being away from my family was another strain, and being away from my closest friends definitely proved to be a challenge. Also, staying with my brother and sister out here when they just had their first baby would indeed be a trying transition.  However, looking back on what I’ve learned and experienced here, I’ve had a blast! Not to mention I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some wonderful folks. The risk was worth it.

My job here has been in sales (I find and reach out to prospective clients for my brother to work his sales-magic on), and is thus extremely free in terms of how to get work done. There is plenty of room for creativity to boost production. While this takes off a lot of pressure in terms of day-to-day tasks, one wrong move can completely turn off clients and make the company look very bad. However, not only have I developed attributes in this environment that I think will be beneficial in ministry, but I’ve also been able to come up with a few work methods that will change the way my brother’s team works internally. Once again, the risk was worth it.

Anecdotes aside, there are three, practical reasons why risks taken are worth it:

1. It takes great faith in God to take a risk. Think of Moses, Gideon, and Jonathan. We see their lives of faith, and when we take risks in any capacity for God today, it stands as a testimony to Him for others. Throughout Scripture we see God using people who take risks, and He wants to use us to make an impact when we leap out in faith, too!

2. Like change, God uses periods of risk as periods of growth. Any time you step out of your comfort zone in faith, you better believe God is going to refine you in some way. Whether it is showing you sin that needs repentance or giving you new desires for the future God wants to use you for, growth occurs when you take risks.

3. If taking a risk ends up working out like you thought or completely flopping, you can always walk away wiser! Did an outreach plan succeed? Awesome. Now you can keep expanding in the right direction. Did it fall through on it’s head? That’s good, too, because next time you now have an idea for what doesn’t work in your community. Proverbs 1:5 – “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…”

There you have it! Because of God’s creativity and power, we as His image-bearers have dreams and aspirations. He put those there, and it glorifies Him when we pursue those desires He’s placed in our souls.

Your mind may be thinking about that one thing you’ve really been wanting to do lately. A new video project? Start a non-profit? Sit still and wait amidst financial pressures? Whatever it is, go for it! Just like God told Gideon in Judges 6, “I will be with you,” so He’s always with you, too.

Lastly, don’t get caught up in the word ‘risk’. They don’t have to be immensely dangerous to qualify or whatever. A risk is merely an opportunity with a noticeable cost. Just be sure that as you take those leaps and risks for God, you do so in prayer and faith, being led by the Spirit.

What risks do you really want to take? Are there any big opportunities laying before you?

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