I have never considered myself a risk taker or an adventurer. The train of thought that went through my head for so many years was “be cautious, keep your guard up, avoid danger.” Of course, those thoughts were primarily related to my brokenness and my attempt to avoid more heartbreak. However, those ideas did bleed over into my everyday life. Fear was like a plague inside of me. Every exciting, new possibility came with shadows because of the thoughts that ran through my head like the beat of a war drum. The “what-ifs” were never far from me and when coupled with my need to meet everyone’s expectations well…I was a knotted up ball of anxiety.
What makes all this rather odd is that even though I’ve struggled with fear and wanted to avoid risk, I’ve also always loved to travel and experience new things, and I’ve taken a lot of risks despite my fears. What I know now is that God put it in my DNA to love those things because it’s part of this journey He is unfolding for me. I’ve always been drawn to risk even though it scares me because under all of my frailty was the desire to be bold and free – desires placed in me by God.
All these things have been running through my mind as I’ve been packing my little suitcase to leave the country, yet again. I’m going to be speaking to a group of women in Ecuador, sharing my story of how Jesus brought so much healing to my life and telling them that I know He can do that for them, too.
I often stop and smile, as I think on what Jesus has done in me and how determined He is to speak through me. Me? Afraid of risk, avoiding danger, cautious, little me?
He tends to speak loudest through the weakest, doesn’t he?
When I shove all the fear and worry aside, I find a singular reason that I am where I am and willing to do these risky, extraordinary things:
He has won my heart.
I’m so convinced of who Jesus is and his love for me that I can’t help myself – I must take the risk. See, that’s what perfect love does: it casts out fear. I admit, the idea was foreign to me until a few years ago. I thought I knew what love was…but I was still very much afraid. I have since discovered that I didn’t know love at all.
I knew religion.
Love and religion do not coexist. Religion is rooted in fear, so its every motivation is to appease that screaming voice of terror. That, I knew well. For many years I lived my life to appease that voice. My spiritual foundation had to be completely reset for me to learn what love was and who Jesus wanted to be to me. His voice rose up from somewhere inside of me and his words really did begin to cast away fear.
His gentle whisper became the loudest voice.
He has tenderly uncovered my true identity over recent years and I have discovered, to my own surprise, that one of the key character traits he put in me is risk taker and adventure seeker. They are key ingredients for everything He has called me to be.
I won’t sugar coat it or make you think that fear just vanishes overnight. It doesn’t. It takes a faithful, hand in hand walk with Jesus to let love replace fear. There are battles to be fought, choices to be made despite the fear and yes, much risk…
but it’s worth the risk.
I never would have guessed what Jesus had in store. He took a frail, timid girl afraid of risk and turned her into one of the bold ones willing to tell anyone who will listen about the redeeming love of Jesus.
Sounds like a God story to me…
a God story indeed.