I’m so glad God gives us low stakes environments to figure things out before we are in higher stakes arenas where our actions will matter more, with much more serious consequences. When we’re growing up, we should learn to take risks in low stakes situations. For example, in youth sports like basketball, you have to learn to take risks like drive to the basket, take that 3 point shot, and try to dribble your way through and outmaneuver defenders in a full court press. Sure, you could turn the ball over, miss the shot, or get caught up in a trap, but if you are never willing to take the risk, you’ll never know if you could have been successful either. Or in baseball or softball, on the pitcher’s mound, you have to find the courage to throw that curveball you’ve been practicing and hope you don’t throw a ball past the catcher, or worse case scenario, hit the batter, giving him or her his base. And when you’re batting, it’s easy to stay paralyzed in a fear filled trance and never swing the bat, because you know there’s always a chance you’ll miss the ball completely, and that would be embarrassing. But, if you never overcome these challenges and realize that the world doesn’t stop spinning if and when you fail, and revel in the successes when they do come- they do with enough practice- then you’ll stay an ineffective teammate, never realizing the potential that could have come from facing your fears, and lots of fun can come from being successful!
Not that it’s the only option or should be the only avenue for risk taking, but youth sports are a low stakes environment where we can learn about risk taking from a young age. If you don’t think the stakes are low at any sporting event, no matter what the age or level, you are probably taking the sport too seriously. After all, a sport is a game, and games are meant to be fun. (Unless you are gambling on the outcome, then I could understand your fervor!)
I’m glad I have been allowed to take some low risk stakes like the ones aforementioned, because in adult life, it makes taking risks easier, when the stakes are much higher. I am happy to risk not staying on the career “ladder” leading to more and more income to stay at home to raise a family. I will risk this and deal with having only one income, and later, I will figure out how to make an income again, when that season comes around again in my life. It’s risky to not have tons of money in sitting savings, but it’s worth it to us to get to raise our children wholeheartedly and intentionally.
Another risk I’m glad I am taking is starting a blog. I don’t know if it will be a complete failure, or if people just read it and laugh, thinking to themselves, “What an idiot this writer must be,” each time they read something, but I don’t care. I can’t care: I feel like I’m being called by God to write to help people, so write to help people I will try to do. It is indeed helping me spiritually and linguistically, so I will keep it up.
The other risk I am currently working on is one you may not think of as a risk, but in a way, it is. It’s my attempt to use the Sabbath fully as a Sabbath the way God meant it to be- as a day of resting and focusing on him. Right now the stakes are low, because the things I must put off are mostly house chores. While I feel the urge to get some things around the house done, I know that is just my own agenda, and if I submit to God’s agenda instead of mine, he’ll no doubt restore me and give me the clarity I need to make it through the week, and also make it easier to get the things completed during the week that I want to accomplish.
(I know this is why I choose to rest on Sundays, but I always want to be clear with my husband, as I know the importance of communication, so last week I told him, “I’m sorry I’m not doing the dishes today, I’m going to rest, but please don’t feel obligated to do them yourself,” because I don’t want him to think I’m just letting them pile up for him to do them. He doesn’t rest on Sundays like I do, so I knew he could end up doing them if I ignored them. He responds as if it’s a non-issue, “I’m not worried about the dishes, but if they get in my way, I will do them.” Not big on words, he thought it was ridiculous I needed to have a conversation about the dishes, and I found that quite amusing.)
Some of these may seem like really minute risks, but I feel like God puts these beginners’ tests into our lives first, so we can master them, before he can lead us to any potentially higher stakes risks he wants us to take. Giving up some of your income for a greater cause, trying something new in life, resting on the Sabbath, or whatever the risk you’re facing right now may have bigger consequences in future circumstances. I’m trying to get comfortable with them now so I am ready for wherever God would like to take me.
Thank God for the risks you’ve been allowed to take- no matter how minimal- they teach you that you’ll always be safe when your trust is in God, not in what other people may think of you. It’s not so scary to take a risk when you’re certain God’s love for you and attitude about you will never change, and your ability to feel that is all that really matters. I know it certainly has led me to a happier existence!