“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
“Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.”
– Chinese proverb
"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
"Winners are not developed on feather beds." - Zig Ziglar
"You are crazy!" and "I'd never do THAT," have been comments that I've received over the last few weeks as I've shared with people about an upcoming trip I'm taking with my family. I've also heard, "That is amazing!" and "I'd love to do something similar!" A little background: I am going with my children to a language school in very rural Costa Rica where we will stay with a host-family without my husband (for a week). He will then fly down and join us, and we'll spend some time traveling through the rain forests -- ziplining through canopies, and dodging coral snakes as we hike to waterfalls and in proximity of an active volcano. It definitely falls under the heading of "Adventure Vacation." The main reason we're going is to see the host-family that I stayed with for a year 17 years ago (I taught in the schools). I can hardly wait to see these people from a tiny mountain town who were my adopted family that year and who continue to be near and dear to my heart. The comments that I've received have me thinking about the concept of RISK.
When I was in high school, I gave a speech that talked about how risk is necessary ingredient in the recipe of life. The speech concluded that without it, there isn't much growth or adventure. Why is that? Is that true? Does what I said at 18 prove itself as I look back on my past 20+ years? In my own experience, yes it has. The greatest times of growth for me have been born out of stepping beyond my comfort zone. Risk comes in many forms: trying something new, reaching out to someone we don't know, making a decision where the outcome is uncertain -- in essence, "going for it," in one way or another. To put it another way, it involves opening ourselves up to new elements of life.
When I think about this concept, a main question becomes when is risk worth it, and when is it NOT? My husband came face to face to this dilemma when we had our first daughter. He is a mountaineer and had always wanted to climb Mt.McKinley in Alaska (a bigger climb than the NW peaks we have around here). He was invited to go on the climb, but ultimately, after some hard soul-searching, turned it down. The risk was too great now that he was a daddy to a little girl. No one can answer those questions for another, but sometimes the "risk" at hand is just too selfish. There is too much "self" in the equation, and not enough "putting others above yourself" (Phillipians 2:3-4). In these cases, honest evaluation of the goal deems itself not worth it considering the relationships that could or would suffer.
I think of Biblical figures who took great risks. Abraham - who risked the life of his long-awaited son; Moses-who gave up his royal title to lead the Israelites out of Egypt; David - who walked into battle with a giant; Esther - who risked her life to save the Jews; Ruth - who went to a foreign land to stay loyal to her mother-in-law; the Disciples- who left their jobs and families to follow this man Jesus.....the list could go on and on. In the Christian world, we call these people "faithful." They were willing to go beyond themselves for a greater good. Ahhhhh - - I think we've stumbled upon the answer to our question. Risk is definitely worth it when there is a greater good to be attained -- not a selfish good to be attained -- but a GREATER GOOD. This good may personally benefit our heart, soul, experience, and mind as a by-product, but ultimately it benefits God and others.
So.... back to my trip. Am I nervous? Yes. Is it a little scary bringing my four children to a foreign country by myself? Yes. Have I woken up in the middle of the night thinking about it? You betcha. It is a risk, but one I'm excited to take. My kids will have their view of the world expanded, their minds and hearts will be engaged, and God will become bigger to them. How do I know this? Because it happened to me 17 years ago when I walked into a tiny, open air house in Costa Rica, eyes wide and prayers whispered. I guess that's how we can go into any situation of risk, eyes wide - with expectancy of what God will do, and prayers whispered - knowing He will be in each moment, giving us exactly what we need.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to HIM be the glory in the church (us!) and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!