AS THIS new year unfolds, I’ve been thinking a lot about risk. The world tells you and tempts you to take risks. They say, go ahead, live your dream. You never know if you don’t try. Follow your bliss. Go for it. And I totally agree.
But what risks are we talking about? Which ones really count? Is it a business or personal project? A career choice? What do you dream about? What does your soul yearn for deep inside?
I believe 2023 will be fraught with risk. My outlook is far from prophetic. Many are predicting a year that will see unprecedented danger and change. Some say something big is bound to break. And for this reason, I believe it’s also a time to take personal risks.
Maybe that sounds counterintuitive. If danger lurks, shouldn’t we play it safe? Shouldn’t we stick to what’s certain and sure? But I’m not talking about an investment idea. I’m not talking about building a bunker out in the woods either. And I’m certainly not talking about arming up for some kind of attack.
These alternatives are all being floated out there now. Perhaps some kind of worldly wisdom can be found in them. But otherworldly answers to today’s crises also exist.
Many see danger coming and are hunkering down. They seek shelter in physical, emotional, or financial bunkers. But every action — or inaction — carries some risk. If a giant boulder is falling upon you, running like crazy in nearly any direction is the best bet.
Many are planning for some sort of catastrophic economic, geopolitical, or natural disaster. And it’s okay to plan ahead. But are you also ready for the inner struggle that’s bound to occur with future events? What if this year, you decide to take a genuine risk? What if you dare to change something about yourself?
What kind of risk am I talking about? You might wonder what it looks like to take a truly personal risk. What if you dare, let’s say, to care? What if you dare to give and forgive? What if you dare to serve your fellow human instead of only yourself and those closest to you? Can you move out of your comfort zone?
What if you dare to say yes, I will finally hoist my cross with all my might? I won’t hold back any longer. I will face down my demons and fears. I will put in the hard effort. I will come out fighting. I will go all in. I will finally seek the peace my soul desires so very much.
Yes, you might crash into a brick wall to get there. You might get hurt, bruised, or stung along the way. Things might not turn out the way you hoped. They might even crucify you. But then again, without the cross, there is no resurrection. Without the Passion, no Kingdom will arise.
Some will still say, no way. I’m not taking a risk. I’m afraid to get hurt. I’m going to hole up in my bunker. But what if your bunker becomes a tomb? Do you not want to rise up, walk out, and witness the new dawn?
You might think, okay, yes, I want to make a change. But I don’t have the strength. Where can I find the courage and energy? The secret might be found looking into your past.
Do you remember a time, maybe when you were young, when something inspired you? It was a moment, a music, a movement, or an experience that made you stop and say, THAT’S IT. THAT’S ME. You might have adopted the clothes, the talk, and the walk. And you took a risk. You were willing to explore past your boundaries.
Now you’re older, and hopefully wiser. You know it’s not about getting a new haircut or fancy clothes. You don’t have to buy a Harley or take up a strange hobby. Nostalgia can keep you going for a long time, but there’s something deeper here to be discovered.
That intensity and excitement came from your spirit responding to something elemental — life is meant to be embraced and lived to the fullest. But life is also a gift to be thankful for — and true thanksgiving must be good and pure.
So tap into that original code. Let the warrior, the thinker, the empath, the artist, the poet, or the rebel in you be born again. And let that vital energy be channeled in a healthy way, holy even. Maybe you need it to focus on breaking free from things that have tied you down.
Remember when you were young and powerful? Summon that youthful spirit again. Then refine it, focus it, and let it fly.
The wisest human that ever lived was Jesus of Nazareth. But he didn’t hide in a cave. He wasn’t afraid of risk, not at all. He challenged the limits of his day and age. Yet Jesus was profoundly prudent as well. He was astonishingly shrewd. He had infinite concern for the future, for things to come. And he was intensely averse to a certain type of risk… that is, the risk of offending his Father. In that sense, he never, ever took a chance.
Jesus was the prototypical warrior, thinker, empath, artisan, poet, and rebel. All of these personalities were manifested in Christ in some way — in a way that was deeply pleasing to his Father.
So return to that moment that sings something to and from your core. Then ask the Lord to let it mature into its fullest form. Let it be infused with the Spirit of God to grow into its most sacred expression.
Peace in intensity… passion in the waiting … pleasure in the suffering and sacrifice as you know it will somehow all be for good in the end. Maybe these things make us afraid, but the coming days will require them.
So with the Spirit as your helper, build your spiritual bunker. Make it impenetrable to the forces of evil — but with the gate wide open to the mercy of God.
Understand that the Lord is unique and universal at the same time. So yes, seek your dreams — but let the dream be interpreted by grace. And what is the dream of all dreams? To be at peace with God and to know him. To know your Creator in heaven loves you desperately. And to know Jesus is your Savior, and he will stop at nothing to rescue you — except for one thing.
You can say, no. You can say, I don’t want your mercy and peace, Lord. You can refuse him.
Or you can take the risk. Let your guard down. And let love in. And from there, everlasting grace flows to you, through you, and from you.
So dare to seek God. Take the risk. Dare to love him with all your mind, might, and heart. Go all in, once and for all, and let God in.
Dare to let him in to heal you, cleanse you, and set you free.
. . . . . . .
John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”John 1:32-34
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