Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking Risks

In college I took a “ropes course” for one of my kinesiology credits. Pretty cool class actually. We walked high wires, flew through the trees on a zip line, and climbed tall rope ladders while being belayed by other students. I must admit walking the high wires terrified me to no end as I am immensely afraid of heights. After we were already halfway through the semester, I finally mustered up the courage to buckle up the belay and fasten my helmet. I must have sweated a bucket as I climbed the ladder in preparation for my “walk.” However afterwards when my feet were safely touching the ground and I could physically prove that yes I would in fact live, I became filled with such elation and excitement that I wanted to go again!

I guess it goes without saying that I’m not the kind of person who easily welcomes risks no matter how much I may desire the possible rewards. I like to know exactly the end result of an endeavor prior to the slightest pursuit of it. However I’ve found that to experience elation and joy you must risk the fall. Maybe this is a fairly elementary concept however I’ve been rather stubborn to accept this truth. I mean what happens if you do actually fall? What then? Truthfully it wouldn’t have mattered if I had fallen off the high wire because I was being belayed. Three other people were holding the rope that was in a sense protecting my life. I mean I would have slipped a little but they hopefully would have caught the slack. Not that in any way I wanted to experience this but I had to put my faith in them to literally catch my fall.

Unfortunately, my reluctance to take risks has reached much greater depths than a simple fear of heights. One in particular that stands out loud and clear in my life would be the risk of rejection. I read a quote recently that said you must have courage to live in reality. I must say that the reality of rejection is one that I avoid at all costs. Recently life has shown me the price of this fear. The main costs have been relationships with depth and meaning. I refused to accept the joy that resulted from the gifts of love and friendship out of fear.

Slowly I’ve discovered the power in shedding inhibitions and the freedom in making mistakes in my relationships. I’m finding joy in being vulnerable and accepting the imperfect me that is reality. So many years I was terrified to let others know me. The me that is seriously messed up and broken; the one that could easily fall off the wire. I didn’t trust there was anything to catch me and break the fall when I inevitably lost my balance. What if someone doesn’t like me? What if I’m too weird, strange, different or just plain unlikable?

To my amazement, a peace overwhelms me when I make the decision to take a risk in my relationships, and I become willing to reveal myself. A peace that I am being true to myself. I’ve started realizing that the truth is people may reject me but the even greater truth is that it is okay because God never will. His strength and unconditional love hold the ropes that sustain me and when I slip it doesn’t mean life is over; it just means I have to get back up and start again trusting that He still guides me. Therefore it doesn’t matter if I am rejected because even though it still may hurt it does not change who I am or His love for me. The God who created the heavens and earth is the same one who out of His infinite love will never reject me and that is the reality I am putting my hope in as I start taking more risks.

Romans 8:38
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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