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Are you someone who loves doing things that get the adrenaline pumping, pushing you just a bit farther? You love the adventure of things that challenge you. You take the tallest, fastest roller coaster, jump out of airplanes skydiving, pick the toughest black diamond ski slope, and test your endurance with your scuba gear. You like to drive fast cars and fast boats and races of nearly any kind. If so, you are likely a risk taker.
I watch you with amazement and sometimes horror because I am definitely not that person. I suspect you are born that way or you’re not. If you’re not and start this sort of thing, you must be seeking to overcome fear at every turn. In our family we seem to have some of both basic types sprinkled among us.
Risk taking for me were things like taking a trail ride on a horse in some of our national park sites even though I had not ridden horses. It was reassuring to be told by the tour guide the horses knew where they were going, and it wouldn’t depend on me. It was hard to remember that on a narrow trail at Bryce National Park one summer vacation despite having been on such guided tours in Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks previously.
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It was harder to believe on a horseback trek guided in Yellowstone National Park just a year or so before retirement. I was with our daughter and her family on the trek that my wiser hubby decided to opt out of. I should have known it might be riskier when I was helped sit atop a horse called Big Bertha. Even so, I was ready for the trek and doing pretty well until Big Bertha slipped on a wet rock while crossing a small stream.
I could sense she was beginning to feel like she was going to go down on her side and with no guide near me, I was unsure of what to do next since my left leg would be under her if she went the whole way down. My decision was to try to get off of her before that happened and in a very messy attempt, I avoided that but not without slipping in the process and giving the trail guide a start. Everyone in the group on the trip seemed aghast and after checking to see if I was injured, they wanted to know if I wanted to go back on this same horse to the starting point. I decided against that option since we would need to go back up the uneven terrain before the disaster happened. So, I did what I think you’re supposed to do – I got back on the horse and finished the trail ride.
Needless to say, it gave our family quite a story to remember and laugh about ever since then. It was likely our last trip West and my last trail ride in the western mountains.
But guess what, there are things that can be harder to do than these for even the adrenaline junkies among us. What is that you wonder?
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Allowing you to see the real me when I am messy and my weaknesses, fears, or failures are slipping out and you see me as the “not together” person I want to be. Beyond messy hair, no makeup, and old clothes, showing the true me is a bigger risk. We all tend to try to fit in with what we believe we are supposed to be to be accepted in the culture and groups we are a part of to one degree or another. And it shows up in a lot of ways including styles of behavior, dress, and choices of words.
We may not admit it, but our families and closest friends know the truth. They hear much of what is held in check much of the time and if they are still in our life, they accept those tendencies that are less gentle, less easygoing, less positive, and more. We hope we don’t allow some of the messiest sides of us slip out beyond that group because life teaches us it’s scary and risky to let someone see us in those other ways.
And likely the saddest thing of all is when we don’t bring the “real” us with us to God. Too many of us put on our Sunday best (including our Sunday faces) when we spend time alone with the One who knows us best and we cannot hide from. We pray the way we have been taught or believe we are to pray instead of being open with Him. We don’t tell Him what is really on our minds like a young child would. We don’t tell Him a lot of things He already knows because we believe He does, so what’s the point?
The point is that He wants us to do that, and we need to humble ourselves and stop looking for fig leaves.
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“We can’t pray effectively until we get in touch with our inner brat. When we see our own self-will, it opens the door to doing things through God. Instead of singing Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way,” we enter into God’s story and watch him do it his way. No one works like him.”Paul Miller
If that is hard for us, perhaps it’s time to visit some of King David’s Psalms among others in the Bible. You see David pouring out exactly where he is or admitting he isn’t sure of that at all. You see him getting into God’s face with his disappointment with Him and more. David’s story was messy (ours too) but his relationship with God was real and face-to-face. That led to the depth of relationship few others attained.
David took the risk that was greater than facing Goliath. Then he could let himself fall into God’s arms and trust Him even when he was at his messiest. ♥️
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