As a kid, I loved my bedroom, my routine and didn’t want my comfort zone disrupted. I was anything but a risk-taker. Now at age 34, taking risks is very much a part of who I am. It’s something I embrace, and it’s led to some wonderful opportunities and lessons over the years.
I certainly didn’t grow up being exposed to much risk, but looking back, I have to think that there was a reason I enjoyed things like playing hide-n-go seek in the dark, going snake hunting with my brother or mountain climbing with my old youth pastor.
Later, when I was in high school, I remember running across a NIKE ad with Barry Sanders on it. It really encouraged me, and I kept it hanging in my bedroom until I graduated. A line in the ad triggered something inside me:
“…After all, we do only go around once. There’s really no time to be afraid. So stop. Try something you’ve never tried. Risk it. …”
By 1995, I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to attend college at LSU. I’d never lived out of state and knew absolutely no one. Then I got a job as a freelance sportswriter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1999. I had no guarantees, and my dad was the only person I knew in Texas. There’s other stuff on the list, like cliff diving, going to Bible studies where I knew no one, speaking at a prison chapel service, and creating my own Internet radio show.
I realize there is a segment of us who are born with an innate risk-taking nature and a love for adventure, while others like myself have had to grow into it. I’m not talking about things that society says are acceptable, like sleeping around, gambling away thousands and “experimenting” with drugs. That isn’t risk; it’s ignorance.
In the church world, I’ve heard more than enough sermons about being bold and risking everything, but when it’s time to put our chips on the table, I wonder how many of us stick with our safety and our formulas. I wonder if risk aversion has ended up robbing us of incredible experiences, like living overseas and helping the poor. Or yes, even meeting someone.
Plenty of us are petrified of getting hurt and don’t want our heart to feel like it was just raked over a cheese-grater. I know…I’ve been there. At the same time, I never saw the logic in just sitting there and believing that special someone would be dropped on my doorstep like the morning newspaper.
Relationships are risky and so is our walk with Jesus. Trusting him and having faith isn’t comfortable all the time. It doesn’t allow for me to play it safe and map out all the scenarios in my head.
Much risk is involved, but that’s okay. I welcome it.
What about you? Do you embrace risks, or do you have a risk aversion?
A freelance writer since November, 2010, Trae Thompson is not a big fan of religious church people, corrupt politicians, or pompous athletes who think they’re above the law. Since he never saw his childhood dream of becoming James Bond actualized, he had to settle instead for appearing on a commercial that was once on ESPN’s College GameDay. Trae loves Ocean Spray CranGrape juice, old Atari games, and has been known to gesture a lot. He also thinks the best thing about still being single is continuing to grow, learn and become a better man. You can follow Trae on Twitter @geaux4it or read more of his writing at www.thehigherplaces.wordpress.com.
*Photo credit: MarkWallace