Why Bother Taking Risks?

Why Bother Taking Risks?

Although I never considered myself a gambler and think I play it safe most of the time, I am now having to reconsider that idea.  I’ve taken more risks in life than I originally thought. These leaps into the unknown, stepping out and jumping in with both feet, by default, make me a gambler.

A Short History of Taking Chances

My first great plunge into unfamiliar territory came at the age of  eighteen. I was anxious to leave home, to be independent and to prove to myself that I could build my own happy life. I did move far away from home and became independent. Happiness came at a later date, but it did come.

The next step I took into foreign territory was the step into faith. Though my parents exposed me to religion, I had no idea of God’s design for me; a personal relationship with him. Somewhere in my early twenties, when I said “yes” to God I plunged into the mysteries of a relationship with my creator. Though there is much I don’t know, I have found solid ground under my feet.   

I am sure I never would have ventured into marriage without having made that first step of faith with God. Accepting my husband’s proposal was by blind faith. The stakes were high as was my vulnerability factor. A union with a man felt extremely dangerous as well as hazardous. There was  no way to predict how well it would turn out. No one can see into the future. Thankfully, the future I could not imagine, has turned out quite well.

Other chances I took included motherhood, returning to school to become a teacher, and most recently, writing and publishing a book.

All of these risks have one thing in common: my willingness to venture out. Exploring unknown territory makes us susceptible to mistakes and possible failure. The moment we decide to step out into the unknown, we are assaulted with ten thousand upon ten thousand “what ifs.” It’s enough to make one close the curtains, lock the door, and never venture outside the comfortable confines of our zone of safety. 

We don’t have to entertain those ideas of exploring what we’ve never explored before nor do we have to pursue new possibilities. We don’t have to go beyond what we seem to know and feel comfortable with. But, if we don’t then what possibilities will we miss? 

Why bother taking risks? Stepping out, making a leap of faith, and exposing ourselves to unseen possibilities only enlarges, enlivens and moves us beyond the pseudo confines of our zone of safety. 

Why Bother Trusting Again?

Why Bother Trusting Again?

When a relationship you once trusted tears apart, it makes it difficult to think you will ever trust someone again. When our sense of security dissolves after a long term union, being vulnerable with anyone again feels impossible. When we count on someone to be reliable and they are not, our thinking shifts. We no longer believe anyone is trustworthy, we convince ourselves no one is reliable and we tell ourselves to trust no one. Broken trust breaks our hearts, raises defenses, and steels us in such a way that keeps other people away. Yet, the very thing that reinstates us to experiencing faith in others is the very thing we resist: trusting once again.

Broken Trust

Most of us start out early in life relying on some adult in our lives. Mom or Dad made sure we were fed. An older sibling changes our diapers and someone makes sure to cover us up with a blanket when we are cold. Unable to take care of ourselves, someone else does it for us. Then something happens and everything changes. Maybe it was the divorce of our parents, the death of one of them, physical abuse or neglect. What had once felt like a reliable world to live and grow up in, suddenly becomes a chaotic and confusing place. Kids do find a way to survive such things, but when they grow into adults, they are more wary of relying on anyone but themselves.  

Distrust, unlike a physical defect, is something disguisable. It can be covered over with busyness, appearing perfect or an air of self assurance. A hard protective shell covers our mistrust in others. But just below this veneer is a heart longing to believe in someone we can count on. We wish for a helping hand, a wise word of advice or intimacy, but letting down our guard is too scary. 

To trust again means we could get hurt again. It is a risk and we have to decide if the gamble is worth taking. Yet, remaining a distrustful person has its disadvantages too. There is the problem of loneliness, isolation, self-medicating, one way conversations, unresolved anger and depression. 

When we are hurt by someone whom we thought trustworthy, we don’t have to throw out the rest of humanity. Not everyone is a suspect. To allow others back into our lives we will have to take baby steps of courage. And baby steps of courage can lead to having confidence once again in another human being. 

Why bother trusting again? It is worth trusting again when we consider the alternative of distrust and its pathway to loneliness.