topics:
Courage

The other night I challenged my sister to a spur of the moment best-of-3 round of rock paper scissors. Both of our cars were in the shop and I said, “Ok, whoever loses pays for both cars.” I was getting a simple oil change- less than $30. I assumed she was doing the same. Nope. $175 check-up. Wha wha WHAT?!?! “Are you sure you want to do this,” she asked, “because mine costs a whole lot more than yours.”

I thought about it for a second. I would be dumb to play, right? Save $30 or spend over $200? All decided by a game of chance?

And yet I went for it.

It is the exact opposite of my usual reaction. ESPECIALLY when the loss is much more costly than the gain. But I’m in a funny place right now where risk is really important to me. Not necessarily taking risks, but evaluating them; where I’m trying to decide at what level I’m willing to risk and at what level I’m willing to lose.

Our family was piled in Mom’s minivan, driving less than a mile to the car shop, so it wasn’t some monumental experience. Nothing out of the ordinary. Yet it was for me.

Because in my heart, I’m deciding about whether to take some BIG risks that are VERY costly. And so I knew that I wanted to (dare I say “needed to”?) take this small risk, almost as practice. Just a way to prove this to myself: even if the decision doesn’t make sense, maybe I should just try it because I want to.

Don’t think so much.

It’s okay to be wrong.

To lose.

Quit playing it safe all the time and start playing.

Literally.

And so as we dueled to the count of “one-two-three-shoot”, I felt my insides grow. Weird, I know. But it’s true. I felt them expand to fill the shell in which they are housed. Maybe my soul grew? Maybe my risk-er grew? I don’t know.

I had eaten dinner with some friends of mine the night before and the wife said this, “ You can stay the same, not lose anything, but never know what there was to be gained. Or you can risk, guaranteeing some loss, and yet gain more than you knew was possible.”

So with all this turning in my mind, I threw a rock to beat her scissors. Then I threw a paper to beat her rock. I won. We got dropped off at the dealership where she begrudgingly paid for my oil change. I gloated.

And then I got in my car and cried because I think I’m going to risk.

By Annie, AnnieBlogs

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  1. 1

    Annie, this is such a timely post for me. I have been a “risk-er” for most of my adult life, and honestly, we are smack-dab in a “risk” that has turned out much harder and much grittier than I thought. On so many levels, it’s been much costlier than I even dreamed when I decided to risk in the first place. And there’s the disappointment to wade through with the Lord on that . . .

    And yet, I am learning, that the journey of risk and loss teaches you these enormous lessons about yourself and your faith and the people around you. And I think so often, the process of trusting God and “stepping out of the boat” in the first place is the initial risking . . .

    And then, later, when maybe things are harder than you thought and the dream has fallen flat (not that that always happens, of course), there’s a whole secondary process of risking to persevere . . . .

    I think this secondary place of just risking to stick-it-out is where I find myself these days.

    Great post– loved this story from your world. And loved the way you told it. :)

  2. 2

    Taking risks is indeed scary but you do grow incredibly by taking them and if you don’t, you will always wonder what would have happened. I’ve taken some big risks ever since moving away for graduate school 19 years ago with $500 to my name and in the last couple of years, I’ve stepped out and fallen FLAT ON MY FACE but you know what, now I’m going to write a novel and I have a LOT more material than I did when I started branching out. And, this may be simply another risk I take but when you put ALL things in God’s hands and surround yourself by godly men and women who are praying for you and able to give you wise counsel, there is a deeper peace that rides along with you through ups and downs.

    It sounds like you have a big decision to make. I will keep you in my prayers for an exciting, enriching, and enlivening 2011!!

  3. 3
    Beth Williams says:

    Wow! What a post!!! You sound like a true risk taker no matter the cost.

    I have never been a risk taker, always playing it safe. Life hasn’t always been fun, but safe & boring. Life is full of risks and Praise God I have Him and Prayer on my side.

    I will pray for your decision.

  4. 4

    “ You can stay the same, not lose anything, but never know what there was to be gained. Or you can risk, guaranteeing some loss, and yet gain more than you knew was possible.”

    Wow. I’m sitting here, at the office, this morning wondering how much my life is about to change. Last night I got a text from a teen mom we have been serving that her alchoholic father kicked her out (again). She has no where else to go but to our tiny home. I was just beginning to get a nursery together for our baby we are adopting and my heart is slightly grieved that, for now, that needs to be on hold-ish. This feels very risky to me. Her baby’s father is dangerous. We struggle for groceries with just the two of us. Our house is small. I’m a little crazy about my privacy. This IS risky. But, who knows what will be gained in all of our lives, right?

    • 5

      That is awesome! Taking risks to love and change somebody’s life for the better. Those are the best paying risks. (If that makes sense). Praying for you!

  5. 6

    Gah lee girl you shook me with your words this morning.

    I’ve never been a risk taker. I actually try to mitigate risk. Like…I absolutely despise it. I think that’s why I chose accounting as a profession. Very stable…not a lot of risk going on there. And in that process I actually reduce risk for companies. See. Risk-free environment.

    But at the same time, the past couple of years, specifically 2010, God has been showing me I have to step out and take risks in faith. Especially when He has TOLD me to do something. I risk looking like a complete idiot (especially if I fall on my face) or looking like I ‘misheard’ from God. Neither of those does much for the self esteem. But when I don’t risk, I’m actually being disobedient. That’s no bueno. I think I’d rather look like ab obedient idiot rather than a disobedient person full of pride.

    This post made me want to be braver. Thanks for pushing us on to wilder things in the name of God.

    P.S. Your friend is smart. And I’m praying for you!

  6. 7

    I needed to hear this. I’m not big on risks either – unless I’ve thought it through completely, looking at all possible outcomes. That whole “just jump” mentality is not something I embrace too often. But I absolutely love what your friend’s wife said. That sums up the whole thing for me. Thank you :-)

  7. 8

    “And then I got in my car and cried because I think I’m going to risk.” Thanks for spurring me on girl… you are amazingly wonderful.

  8. 9

    You are beautiful and brave and inspiring! So love this post…perfect as we approach the New Year!

  9. 10

    You go girl! I so get this and will be praying and excited to see where God takes you!

  10. 11

    First, rock paper scissors is not a game – it’s magic. It’s how my sibs and I as kids decided the important stuff: who was taking out the garbage, putting away groceries, telling mom that thing, you know, THAT thing, was broken and we didn’t know why. There was never an argument – it settled everything.

    Risk too, has to be done. But it’s not as clean as rock paper scissors. But both start with hands moving forward. And falling down just means getting up. And getting up means moving forward. It’s a drill we’ve done since we took those first baby steps that only others remember. Godspeed in your risk. Thank You, God Bless.

  11. 12
    Rebekah D M says:

    Oh my!!!! Did I ever need to read this?! It so resonated with me. Thank you for sharing your experience and yes, I completely understand ‘needing’ to take the small risk of the oil change. What a good practice! I too, am about to embark on a journey that starts with what feels like a huge risk. In the end, it will all be okay. If it is not okay, then it is not the end. I am gonna dive in. Thanks for the sharing. It gives me hope, and even, security that I may lose, but the possible gains are so greater now that I can’t be content with the mediocrity of not taking the risk.

  12. 13

    So good…so timely. I cannot really add to what is said here already, except to say that I personally was blessed by your post. Thank you ~Jessica

  13. 14

    “I felt my insides grow. Weird, I know. But it’s true. I felt them expand to fill the shell in which they are housed. Maybe my soul grew? Maybe my risk-er grew? I don’t know….”
    Thanks for your words–I’ve been there, but wouldn’t know how to put that into words. Thanks, too, for your example, your challenge. God bless you as you step out in faith.

    Linda

  14. 15
    Gretchen says:

    SO beautifully timed, for me, and written, by you. Thank you for speaking to my heart today. And for sharing YOUR risks…may you be richly blessed.

  15. 16

    I hope you gain a lot from your risk. I’m not a risk taker but am finding myself in a place where I have to. Well, I don’t have too but if I don’t things may be harder but if I do..idk…I’ve just ended up where I have to step out & it’s scary. So I guess it’s a risk because I could make the smallest change possible to keep things the same OR risk being uncomfortable & who knows what’ll happen? I’ve been praying for thcourage to take the leaps I need to with as much grace & beauty as possible & to come out stronger for it!

  16. 17

    Sometimes I take crazy risks and other times I am scared to death. Right now I am scared. I am trying to launch a blog business and I am feeling a little less confident. But I *know* I can do this! And I feel it is where God is leading me so I just really have to step out there and *DO* it!
    Thank you!
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/the-year-2010-what-did-work/

  17. 18

    I’m so proud of you! But now I want to call and see what your new risk is… ;)

  18. 19

    Annie, I love this! I’m excited to see what God will do as you choose to take risks and step out in faith. The idea of a practice risk is priceless…and look how well it turned out!

  19. 20

    sounds like you’ve set the bar for your new year!

  20. 21

    Fascinating, Annie! I have always considered myself to be very cautious… NOT a risk-taker!!! And yet, I agreed this year with my husband to let God flip our lives inside out and upside down to leave Suburbia and go out on the mission field (like, for the next decade) with our 3 kids. Yet, until God opened my eyes a few weeks ago, I still didn’t consider myself a risk-taker! Funny, huh? And you… you wrote a book. Got it published. You’re letting a whole bunch of people read about the depths of your heart… and yet you still grapple with risk. I love your thoughts about it and think you’ve already taken some huge risks. Blessings and courage to you as you take the next ones too!

  21. 22

    Annie,

    Well said and I can’t wait to see what God does next in your life.

    And I think you just described the theme of the next few months of my life…

  22. 23

    Something I’m not good at AT.ALL.
    But I definitely agree – if you don’t move out of that box, you’ll never know what was to be gained! God doesn’t plan your life to keep you warm and comfy.
    Thanks for reminding me to step out a bit more. A LOT MORE.
    Jenn

  23. 24

    Funny, Annie, I already see you as a risk taker. You challenge ME in that regard! But I love how this simple lesson is growing you (and your risk-er :) ), and it’ll be fantastic to see what that means for your future.

    :)

  24. 25

    Annie,

    I always really enjoy your posts, and you definitely spoke to me today with this one! I took a BIG risk this year, and the further down this risky road I go the more I find myself turning around and being like “Uh, God… I don’t see any sign of stability on the horizon anymore. We’re getting really far out in the wilderness here now.” But you know what… this morning God reminded me that He took the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness to praise Him. So I’ve decided I don’t need to know how my risk is going to pay off, maybe I just need to make 2011 about praising Him in the wilderness.

    I hope your risk goes beautifully, and I’m sure that God has great things in store for you ahead! And who knows, maybe rock paper scissors was a wink from God just showing you that if you take the risk, He’ll handle the outcome. :) Best wishes for a New Year!

  25. 26
    stephanie says:

    per

  26. 27

    uh apparently don’t hit enter.
    but i read this and got to the end and said “IT WOULD BE ANNIE!” it was so perfect.
    and great timing as everyone is looking at a blank canvas and thinking of who they want to be and knowing that it’s not always going to come simply.

    thank you thank you for this, annie.

  27. 28

    I never take risks… I run away from them, but then I realize how much I’m missing from life, sometimes not risking yourself is not living, and according to this I’m not living at all. I hope I can find the missing courage in my life, and to remember that God did not create me to sit down while life passes me by. Thanks for your story.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Don’t think of being nervous about a decision as a sign of making a wrong choice, instead consider it an opportunity to grow and learn.  We learn from mistakes as much as we learn from right choices.  Annie tells a great story about deciding to risk, here’s just a tiny part:: [...]

  2. [...] then I read this post. Happened upon it, is more like it. And, this paragraph jumped right off the page at [...]

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