Monday, December 31, 2007

Redefining RISK

I can over react to situations. I've always known that. But I never realized how often I under react, which is another way of saying that you are slow to perceive something.

Saturday night my son, Alex, took the car and went out with a friend. He was told to return before 9pm. Until our son turns 18, in a couple weeks, his new license requires that he is off the road by 9pm. It can be a big fine and a huge increase in the cost of insurance if he is caught by the police on the road after 9pm.

At 9:07 pm, the phone rang, and I suddenly realized Alex was not yet home. I had been reading and lost track of the time. I answered the phone and heard my son's voice.

"Mom, I know I'm a few minutes late but I got lost on a side street. I'm just now on our road. I'll be there in a couple minutes," he said.

"Alex, you cut this too close," I told him and then sighed with relief that he was just a minute or so away from our house.

"I know, Mom. Sorry. I'll be right....oh, crap!" he muttered. My heart lurched. "Shoot! There's a cop right there and he's signaling me over," he said. My heart plummeted to my feet. Before I could utter a sound, he started laughing. "Gotcha, Mom! I'm right here in the driveway. Safe at home."

"Alexander William!!" I yelled out. Oh, that kid. He knows I over react and get up in arms over his failings and infractions. He loves to bait me and see me fall into a tizzy. He is going to buy me a lifelong supply of hair color to cover all my gray- I always tell him that.

But recently I realized that overreacting is not the only extreme I need to watch out for. If we under react- or don't react or respond at all- that could be just as detrimental to our overall well being. Yesterday at church, I shared with a friend how I felt discouraged about some areas of my life. I just decided to let it out what was bothering me. She named a few things that might help the picture, but I knew inside that it was me that was the problem. Something in me has to change- not my surroundings or my situations.

At the end of our conversation, she told me, "Let's pray and ask God what He thinks about all this. Let's ask Him what this situation means." I looked at her and nodded my head in agreement. That's exactly what I needed to know- what the situation meant, what God meant for this situation to provoke in me.

I woke up to a lovely white snowfall this morning, and as I saw the fresh blanket of snow, I realized I needed a fresh outlook on things. Not my outlook- but God's. After a morning chat with Bill, and several cups of coffee, I "saw" something. I realized I felt a bit burnt out but not because I was laboring so hard or because I was laboring in the wrong field, so to speak. It was because I was laboring without really perceiving Him.

"Do you not perceive it?" God asks of us in Isaiah 43. He reaches out and touches our situation and energizes our ability to respond to the challenge or the obstacle before us. But if He touches us, we've got to discern that He is hovering over us, so to speak, breathing life into us again. If I ignore that He is always ever present and ever ready to give, to supply, to infuse me with strength and vigor, then I am the one failing to perceive Him. He never fails to be there for me. And when God is there in our midst, He is not a beautiful statue standing there so that we admire Him but get nothing from perceiving His presence. God moves, touches us, directs us- and we must perceive this.

When God shows up, everything changes. First, we come alive with recognition that He has more for us, always more- never less. He is not the Take-away God but the Giver, the Sustainer, the Redeemer, the Fire and the Well of Living Water. He will make a way through the wilderness of our confusion or dryness. Then we come alive with hope and expectation. That hope of His empowering changes my outlook.

I should be dreaming bigger dreams. I should be ready to take a risk. As I go into this New Year, I've re-adopted a little acrostic that I made up a while ago. I mean this now, more than ever.

2008 will be a year of RISK for me- but not the foolish risk taking of an overly confident child who thinks she can never go wrong. I know how wrong I can go. So much so that I rarely step out enough in a bold move of risk taking and faith walking. So that inner cautious child in me has got to get provoked to faith, stirred to action, and maybe even booted out of her comfort zone with a loving shove from the Father.

So here it is. Here is my Banner for this New Year. Any resolutions or specifics that I further make come under this banner I wave:

R- Redeem. Redeem mistakes, cash in on anything Satan meant for evil, because God meant it for good. So believe it. Act like your failures and mistakes and downfalls can be used by God, redeemed for His good purposes.

I- Invest. Invest yourself, invest your time, invest your money wisely. Be that good steward with ten talents who went out and invested- not hid- his resources. God loves investors.

S- "See" the possibilities. Perceive God's hand in the picture, His available resources. See it and believe it. Live with your eyes wide open and upon Him.

K- Keep the Faith. That good deposit in you, keep it, guard it. God will keep me safe in His care, and I will keep safe my faith in Him, never allowing it to be snatched from me. I've given my life to Christ, and He will "keep that which I've committed unto Him against that Day."

If anyone wants to journey onward with me, in such a way that we eagerly look for and expect His presence, then join in under this banner. It reads RISK but it really is just that faithful banner of old we've heard about. Song of Solomon reminds us, anew, "His Banner over me is Love." And I want to respond to that Love by taking a RISK.

(Happy New Year!)


Simply Elizabeth said...

I will join you in RISKing it all this year! All we have to do is obey and He will take care of the rest. Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing

Laure said...

Lauren, Risk is something I purpose for the coming year. Isaiah 43 is really on God's heart today . . . see my post for today at

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Thanks for stopping by, you Radical Risk Takers! Happy New Year!

deni said...

I really needed to read this today. Yesterday I way over reacted to something and I let it ruin my whole day.

With God's help, I will take a RISK.

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Good for you, Deni! You go, girl!

Angie said...

Still thinking about the Israelites--no food to speak of (but for God's supply), no Wal-Mart or map. Eventually stepping into that raging Jordan river...That's risk! BUT, it led to the Promised Land. Let's go there!

(Oh no, my kids at 7 & 10 are already baiting me for reaction. Is this what I have to look forward to?)

Angie said...

And tell Harry I said Happy New Year!

"Loveable" said...

Yes, risk powered by faith...count me in, it's what I finally realize that I need.

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Yes, Angie, onward to the Promised Land!
And Loveable, glad you're with us on this journey!

AK angel said...

Greetings, again, from this great land of AK ~ as refreshing as a 'spring rain is', that to is 'a blanket of fresh fallen snow' ~ with rain we get our 'senses' renewed ~ with snow we get our world 'cleansed' and our 'visualization' renewed ~ it's like our earthly pallete is cleaned and we can start anew, for just this day... we become energized with this blanket of crisp, virgin white ~ and as we step out into it, and take a cleansing breath, we are 'physically' renewed ~ for as simple as it is, it is God's gift to us...

Lauren, both of your writing (yesterday/today) have become apart of my 2008 frame of the jigsaw puzzle of life ~ my life will be abt taking a 'new' journey and by the grace of God, I walk with my head held high, for I walk with His guidance ~ I have 'preceived' what my journey will be, and He has already proved to me that His plans far exceed my greatest expectations ~ and I praised Him every day ~ "faith isn't faith until it's tested", and I know that it will be along this journey BUT God reigns and He is the foundation of the road of life ~ You wrote abt "His empowering", yes, it is in that 'empowerment' that we can go forward each and every day... and yes, we must step 'outside our comfort zone' inorder to put our complete 'trust and hope' in Father God ~ and in doing so, we take a "RISK"... and I, too, join you on this journey ~ one of my favorite phrases is: "Let go and Let God..." ~ angel hugs from Alaska

Marie said...

If I wasn't a person willing to take risks I'd never have moved over the UK on my own. Count me on board! Happy New Year Lauren to you and yours. May 2008 be a year of great blessing to you. XXOO

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Yes, I think Isaiah 43 is on a lot of people's hearts today- amazing God! Loved your post. Thanks for stopping by and visiting me. I pray you have a year full of good perspectives- lots of laughter- amazing speaking engagements- and writing from your well-fed soul.
Happy New Year!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Alaska Angel-
Take a deep breath of that good air for me, will you?! Happy New Year!

Marie- I lift my cup of English tea and toast you!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Thank you for that prayer/blessing:
"I pray you have a year full of good perspectives- lots of laughter- amazing speaking engagements- and writing from your well-fed soul."

Now that would fill my cup to overflowing! And it's already started!

Kim S in SC said...

Love it!

twinklemom said...
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twinklemom said...
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twinklemom said...

Ack..sorry about the previous posts..I need to get use to all this editing and linking. Sigh. Lol

Tried to post a link to a tag and the html isn't working. Joy! Lol

Anyway, wanted to say,"Count me In!"

I was so motivated by your post that I created a tag as a gift to you and everyone who is ready to take that Risk!

I couldn't figure out how to post it here so finally settled on posting it in a blog post on mine and link it to your post and send it to you that way so you could retrieve it..I'm sorry about that. :(!

If someone creates something better, I don't mind using that as a tag instead, but this was a VERY inspirational post and it just really motivated me to find a way to openly say..."I'm in!"

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

How nice! I don't understand a lot of the technical stuff about linking and tagging.
Let me ask my technological consultant- my teenaged son!
But I love the idea of what you have in mind! tHANK YOU!