Take a risk…
I enjoy reading a blog (www.onlyontuedsay.com) by one of my Mum’s friends Glenyss. She includes some stunning photography and always has something to say that enriches, challenges and promotes me to think deeper about my spiritual life. Today I really resonated with her call to live a courageous and adventurous life. In her words she reflects on advice given to her by her gym trainer:
“…He just told me to avoid becoming cautious at
all costs, “It’s the shortest route to ageing”, he insisted.
Of course there’s a place for wise caution in the presence of clear and present danger or when your gut is screaming ‘be careful’ but it can so easily become a way of life and we develop a just-to-be-on-the-safe-side mentality. We gradually lose confidence, limit what we will do and where we’ll go, and the walls of our world begin to shrink.
What he said made complete sense. The temptation to hold the rail when going downstairs or not walking on uneven ground in case I fall will limit my independence, strength and physical fitness. And my brain too it seems.
When I stick to flat, safe surfaces, my brain can take a break. My feet know how to put one in front of the other, but when I encounter stony ground or protruding tree roots, my brain is on constant alert, getting a good workout…
In fact, caution can wriggle its way into every crevice of our existence. Cautious artists don’t make great art and cautious musicians rarely surprise us because risk and boldness are prerequisites for creativity. It’s been the risk takers that have made medical breakthroughs, invented new ways of doing things and changed the world. It’s those wonderful people who won’t believe it can’t be done…
It seems counter cultural because we seem to have become a wrapped-in-cotton-wool society. Children are often denied the adventurous childhood I had, climbing trees, making mud pies and exploring the bush. We sanitise them, train them to avoid risks and in essence teach them to become cautious individuals. It’s a childhood that doesn’t let them develop the skills to face danger safely and wisely when it arises throughout life.
I don’t want caution to make decisions for
me. I want to choose freedom over fear.
I don’t want to live a life defined by the “What if’s”, most of which will never happen. If they do, I will become more resilient by navigating my way through the problem…
I’m convinced that the opposite of caution is not recklessness or rashness but boldness and courage. Courage to take the unknown path, to tread the rocky ground and refuse to cling to safety and security or let fear or anxiety rob me of an abundant life or to hastening old age!”
This message was reinforced with a statement by Paul Hameister on a podcast (“interview with Andrew Denton”) who adventured with his mid-teenage daughter Jade to the North Pole, Skiing across Greenland and to the South Pole. He said he wants his kids “…to learn unconditional acceptance of some of life’s givens: that things don’t always go to plan, that you will experience pain and suffering, that you can’t control anything but your own behaviour”.
Can we have the courage to step out into the unknown, to take risks (not be reckless -there is a difference) and live lives that shout about being totally dependent on God on our frontlines? Can we have the courage to teach our kids to be bold and courageous?
1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you”.
The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” Tacitus
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