Tag Archives: Risk

“Finding Nemo” and Faith

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I looked high and low for a youtube clip of this scene from the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, but I couldn’t find it.  Do you remember the scene where Marlin (Nemo’s over protective father) and Dori (the little blue fish with no short term memory) are trapped inside the whale because Dori thought she could speak whale and tried to ask for directions?  In this scene, Marlin is throwing himself against the baleen of the whale trying to escape to continue his search for his lost son.  In discouragement he sinks to the bottom of the whale’s mouth and gives up.

He says,  “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.”

Dori pauses and comments, “Well, that’s a funny thing to promise someone.”

“What?” Marlin looks up in a bit of surprise.

Dori continues, “Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him.  Not much fun for little Harpo.”

I’ve thought about that often.  A good parent doesn’t over protect.  For the good of the child, parents need to let their children have experiences in life.  Age appropriate experiences can provide wonderful teaching moments.  Difficult experience can provide opportunities for growth and for trying new things.  Risky experiences can build courage and faith when handled properly.  You can’t prevent things from happening just for the sake of protecting a child from what MIGHT happen.

My Lucy with Nemo in Disney World.

My Lucy with Nemo in Disney World.

God does the same with us.  If he wanted to, he could place us in a perfect little environment with a protective dome over us.  We could live in a celestial terrarium where nothing would ever happen to us that was outside of our control.  But what fun would that be?  We would never need to learn to trust if there was never any risk.  We would never explore our limitations if we never faced challenges that pushed us to our edges.  We would be bored silly with how safe and ordinary and self centered our lives would be if God never allowed ANYTHING to happen to us.

Maybe that’s why we encourage people to “get out of their bubble” and have an adventure or go on a missions trip or try something scary for God.  You can’t stay at home forever.  Get out there and see what can happen when you let something happen.  Don’t be scared of the possibility of something bad happening.  You should be more afraid of nothing ever happening to you.  Take a chance!  Don’t fear the what-ifs.  Turn them into why-nots?

Kennedy Space Center with our family.

Kennedy Space Center with our family.

Take a Risk

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take no risks

My parents have spent the last 8 years or so going to England in the summers so my dad can work on his doctorate.  They stay in some interesting places because they try to save money on their travels.  One of the places is a sort of Mennonite guest house nunnery thingy.  (I’m not sure really what it is.)  My mom took a picture of the sign on the emergency door because it has been her life-long motto, “Do not take risks.”

Sometimes when people grow up in a risk adversive environment they turn into neurotic adults who can’t handle anything out of their control, who fear everything and live with lots of cats.  Other times people move to the opposite pole and become risk seekers.  They run with scissors, cut the tags off their mattresses, and swap chewing gum with their girlfriends.  Or even worse, they move to foreign countries and learn enough of the language to sass back at corrupt police officers and punch pick pockets in the face and eat food they bought from street vendors.  While, I wouldn’t categorize myself as a risk seeker, I have actually done those things and others that I can’t bring myself to tell my mother about because she might never sleep again for worrying about me.

I don’t deliberately go out looking for risk, sometimes I find it lying right in my path.  I’m talking about taking risks for a purpose.  For me, my purpose is to grow the Kingdom of God, and for that I am willing to take all kinds of risk.  I am willing to leap right out of my comfort zone.  I am willing to reach out and touch certain hot topics, for the sake of Christ.  The fact of the matter is that as a living, breathing Christian, there are going to be times when I stick my neck out on the line just living the kind of life that God has called me to do.  The Christian life was never meant to be a play-it-safe investment.  It’s a risk-it-all, put all your eggs in one basket type of hope.

Not everyone will be happy with your choices.  Not everyone will applaud the risks you take when you stand up for something you believe is right, or when you speak up for someone who is a victim without a voice, or when you live a lifestyle that causes others to feel guilty about their own choices.  No, not everyone will pat you on the back for taking a risk for God.  Take it anyways.

Jesus told a story about a rich man who gave his servants an amount of money to hang onto for him.  Two of the servants invested the money and made a profit for their master.  One servant just buried the money until the master returned.  He played it safe.  The master lost nothing, but he was very upset with the servant who took no risks.  At least he could have put the money in the bank and earned interest for his master, but no, he took the safest, easiest route possible and it made his master angry.

You are not meant to get to the end of your life safe and sound never having done anything risky for God.  Putting your trust and hope in God means taking paths that are uncharted with nothing but God’s word to light your steps.  God’s word says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and isn’t that the most secure promise you could ever imagine?  So go ahead, take the leap of faith, risk it all for Jesus.