Let's Stop Playing it Safe

March 30, 2017

For most of my life I’ve played it pretty safe.  I’m usually the girl on the sidelines watching others make brave, bold moves.  You see, I’m not a natural risk-taker.  I’m a risk-weigher, if there is such a thing.  In every situation I weigh the risks and possible outcomes for each decision.  Sounds exciting right?  Yeah, not so much


I’ve watched friends journey to the other side of the world as missionaries to share Jesus with those who don’t know Him.  I’ve watched women be unafraid to pursue their God-given callings.  I’ve seen friends write books and launch new ministries and love on people that others pass by on a daily basis. Through all of it I find myself wishing I could be as brave as they are.


Seeing all of this inspires a bravery I desire, but I’m not sure I have in me.  But I desperately want it.  I want to bravely love Him.  I want to say yes when He calls me to the scary waters.  I want to radiate freedom because that’s what He’s given me through His Son.  I want to walk in His Truth so the enemy has no claim over me, because he has already been defeated. I long to be brave and risk it all for God like others seem to do, but something about full surrender to Him just makes it all too scary.


Over the last year I’ve been pursuing a deeper heart change.  The more I get closer to God, the more I realize that I’ve been playing it safe for too long.  Safe with opportunities.  Safe with relationships and really loving others.  Safe with Him. 


Frankly, I want to stop playing it so safe.  I want to push the boundaries and feel my knees knocking in the way they do when you know something is scary but also worthwhile.  I want to stop being so afraid that I will take a misstep, because I know, like we all do, that sometimes missteps are necessary to get to the more honest place with Him and the bigger calling inside of us. 







I’ve had to step back and ask myself a really hard question. Do I really want God?  I know that I need God.  It’s not a question of need.  It’s a question of want and desire. 


Do I really want God?  Do I want Him enough to be called out of my comfort zone? To go outside of the church walls and love on broken people? 

Am I willing to give up things for Him?  Things that make me happy, things that make my life easier? 

Am I willing to surrender fully to Him?  To His will?  To His calling on my life?  To release the people that I hold the closet to my heart?

Do I really want God enough to follow Him into places I would not normally go? 


Am I living a life that wants God?  Do I want Him over comfort? Over the approval of others?  Over material things and worldly success?


The honest answer to that is no.  I’m not so sure I’ve been wanting Him badly enough to feel uncomfortable.  I don’t think I’ve been desiring Him enough to strap on my boots and really do scary Kingdom work for Him.  To love people that are different than me.  To trust Him in a fearless way.   I think I’ve been living a very comfortable Christian life.  I obey God as much as I want to, but I don’t ever fully surrender myself to Him. 


I recently immersed myself in Acts 28:30-31. 


“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”


Those last few words about Paul have not left me since I read them.  With all boldness and without hindrance.  Paul taught about Jesus with boldness and proclamation.  He didn’t care what others thought about him. He didn’t care about his comfort or likeability. He cared most about God.  I could take a note or two from this. 

Really what I admire most about Paul is his brazenness for the Gospel.  He didn’t hold back when it came to church conduct or how we should treat one another as believers.  And he most certainly never held back from proclaiming what Jesus had done for him once his life had been changed by Him.


Moment of truth?  I know what it is that holds me back from being more like Paul.  The truth is I’m more afraid of how God will use me if I’m truly set free than if I were too stay comfortable.


I say I want this unhindered life, but I don’t really want to work for it.  I don’t really want to walk it out in faith.  Because what if living a life unhindered and desiring Him above anything else meant giving up a job I love, or relationships, leaving church roles, or moving?


What if all that seems scary because the life God calls us to live as His children is one of complete and utter trust and surrender to Him, and that is something that deep down, we lack. We doubt if God will really come through on His end so we hold tight to the things we need most to let go of.  Relationships. Dreams. Jobs. Our marriages and children.


And we tell ourselves that we’re just being protective. We want God to use us, but not enough to feel uncomfortable or sad or scared.  We want Him to use us just enough to feel like we’re doing our part, but we don’t ever let Him really do His.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live with a Plan B.  I want to know that at the end of my days, I’ve given Him everything I could possibly give Him.  I want to know I ran the race with every ounce of courage and determination that I could.  (Hebrews 12:1)  And yes, that will mean giving up things for Him and surrendering it all and yes, that scares me. 


But I don’t want to do it safe.  I don’t want to hinder myself when it comes to God.



And I get the feeling that deep down, you don’t want to do it safe either.  So why don’t we both just go for it?  You jump, I jump.  If we fall, we fall.  But we won’t fail.  The only way we fail is to keep playing it safe, keep daydreaming of a life unhindered but never getting up our nerve to say “Yes God, use me.”



God gives us free will to choose and ultimately the choice is ours friend. Do we want safe?  Do we want comfortable?  Or do we want God?



I confess, I used to judge the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.  I used to read his story and get so frustrated with him. I would sit there and think my gosh man, Jesus is right in front of you!  How could you not follow Him?  Why couldn’t you just leave it all behind?  Don’t you see the personal invitation you’re getting?


I used to judge him until one day I realized that I was just like him.  Afraid to give it all up and terrified to have to be uncomfortable for Jesus. Scared that He’ll ask me to do something that defies all logic.  Fearful of what others may think. Hesitant to think of what a life lived fully for Him really looks like.


Because it doesn’t look like comfortability friends.  It doesn’t look like logic or approval from others. It means we don’t always know what’s next.  We don’t have the control we often crave. It looks like a life of being unsettled in all the very best ways because when He moves, He moves in mighty ways.


Jesus extended a personal invitation to the young ruler.  His command was simple. In verse 21 He says,


If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”



“Come, follow me.”  I have the same personal invitation as the rich young ruler.  You do too friend. 







He can’t change his decision now but we can change ours.  We can say yes to the invitation of following Him, no matter the cost and change our course for eternity. The rich young ruler played it safe.  He didn’t want to give up his wealth (vs.22) or his comfort.  He didn’t want to give up the life he was living.  And man, did he miss out.


I don’t want us to miss the same invitation friends.  Let’s stop playing it so safe and let’s start being brave enough to let Him have every last ounce of us.  Let’s get off the sidelines of our faith and want God more than we ever have before.



What do you say?

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