Successful living involves risk-taking.
Over 300 people rejected Colonel Sanders’ special recipe for Southern fried chicken before he received a “yes.” Today, because of his persistence, KFC boasts 20,000 restaurants in 125 countries.
Reflecting on my youth, I wish the idea of taking calculated risks was more a part of my experience. In adulthood, I have worked at training myself to see taking risks as a natural and healthy part of abundant living.
We are wise as parents to instill in our children the value of adventurous living.
What happens today when we take risks?
1. We can’t control the outcome
One night on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus walked on the water toward the disciples. Not knowing what would happen, Peter got out of the boat and walked toward Jesus. It was absolutely out of his control.
Guidance and provision often come after we start moving - not when we see everything clearly. Sometimes we hesitate to take action because we don’t see how it will all come together.
Pastor Don Wilton counseled a couple who believed God wanted them to go to seminary, yet they hesitated. He asked, “Why?” They responded that they were trying to square away details. He said, “So you’re trying to get your ducks in a row?” They replied, “Yes.” Brother Don answered, “I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover several times. And there are no ducks in the Bible.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”
2. We overcome the perfectionism trap.
Perfectionism is the enemy of taking risks. Perfectionists are motivated to get things right. To them, if it is not perfect, which is a subjective opinion, it’s not worth doing. Often frozen by unrealistic standards, they fear getting things wrong. If they can’t keep control, they won’t do it at all.
Two realities help us overcome perfectionism.
First, God accepts me as I am. Any work I do for Him is first seen through the acceptance I already enjoy. Christ and His atonement was the only perfect work. All of my works are like drawings, creations, and crafts brought to me by my children. Though technically imperfect, to me they are blameless expressions of their love because of our relationship.
Second, I can let go of the fear of being wrong, the root of which is often the pride of wanting to be right. When I make mistakes, I can get back up and try again.
Michael Hyatt says, “When you sit on something until it’s perfect, you miss a lot of opportunities. . . . It’s better to do good work really well. That way you’re contributing to people’s lives instead of locked in your own head about whether your work measures up to an impossible standard.”
3. We choose to not play it safe.
Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen dreamed of selling books full of warm, folksy stories of real people. Publisher after publisher told them there was no market for their material. After receiving 130 rejections, one man took a chance on them. The first book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series sold 11 million copies. Their series of books are the best-selling trade paperback book series of all time.
President Jimmy Carter said, “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
But what if my weight cracks the limb? Or I lose my balance? Or the fruit is rotten? What if someone laughs at me?
We cannot play to the gallery of fearful questions and walk on the water.
(Dr. Rhett Wilson Sr., is the senior writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rhett graduated from PC and pastored three churches in Laurens County for 18 years. Access his website at www.rhettwilson.org and his blog at www.wilsonrhett.com.)