When was the last time you took a risk?
An old preacher once said, “Faith is spelled: R-I-S-K.” And I'm beginning to agree. You see, I am the only boy in the family. But growing up I was the coward. My sisters were strong, courageous women, and I was terrified of Michael Jackson's Thriller video (couldn't even hear it on the radio).
As a young boy, I was afraid of heights, lake water, frogs, shadows and public speaking. Now, I have overcome all those fears.
My nature is to be cautious, reserved and nervous. Somewhere along the line God the Father gave me the gift of faith. I use to think I had to make myself be courageous and then I discovered that it was an available download from heaven.
“Great faith doesn’t come out of great effort, but out of great surrender.”
— Bill Johnson
You have to understand that I'm not talking about extreme sports type risks (although I love those and have tried some). What I'm really talking about is day-to-day courage. The courage to go after your passions. The audacity to pursue the girl of your dreams. The boldness to have the difficult conversation, which feels like a confrontation but has the potential to restore lost relationships.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Some people think that the difference between success and failure is knowledge. Others believe that it's in the planning and preparation or timing and fortune. But I have discovered that the difference between doing something great and not doing something great is whether I am doing anything at all.
We can live by this: Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.
This is a win-win!
So let me give you 6 simple steps to start living like a risk-taker:
1. Always go with your passions.
Your heart is screaming your destiny. The things that wake you up in the morning (or keep you up at night) are sending you a message. Stop ignoring their signals. Start pursuing that career, that art program, that mission field. And listen to your frustrations!
“You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you”. –Marissa Mayer
2. Take baby steps
It's very possible that the magnitude of your dream scares you from beginning. But all you have to do is take one baby step in the direction of your dreams. That first step is the greatest risk you can take.
So define that step. Give it a name and a date. Start speaking it out loud to those you trust. Make yourself accountable for taking it. Then, take it!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
3. Don't judge, just _________.
This was the advice that got me writing, “Don't judge, just write.” It attacked my shame of having terrible English grammar. It went against everything in me that asked, “Who cares about what you have to say, Carlos?” It was the invitation from heaven to stop judging myself, my audience, my content, even what God had given me to share.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To NOT dare is to lose oneself.”
4. Do it for others.
Focus on people; not on earnings, or success, or ministry. If your dreams are about anything but serving others, pursuing your dreams will kill the real you.
So, think about the ways you can make others great. Plan for your ceiling to be someone else's launching pad. Begin by dreaming your legacy, imagine your followers and see them as the protagonist of the story.
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
(A quote attributed to 3 different American presidents).
5. Embrace your weakness.
Being self-aware is a powerful thing. Because when you know what you're good at (or really bad at), then you can move forward confidently.
Ask questions. Request feedback from your leaders. Revise your past failures and learn from your mistakes. When you embrace your weakness, your strengths will expose themselves.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman
6. Honor yourself.
God thinks your desires are important. He values who you are, what you like, how you feel and what you're dreaming about. Traditional Christianity told us to die to our passions and desires. But that was usually a rhetoric being preached by leaders that wanted us to live for their passions and desires. We forgive them. We move forward. And we honor who we are.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
― Psalm 37:4
Trust me on this one: If you take risks, you will enjoy life more. It's that simple. You and I were designed for adventure and abundance. Our spiritual nature is creativity and life. Jesus paid the price so that we would have access to all the goodness of God on earth.
Take a chance on faith. Become a risk-taker.
Because fear looks like wisdom sometimes, but it's only to those in unbelief.
Carlos is a pastor, a provocative preacher and the author of “Designed for Inheritance”. He also serves as director of Catch the Fire Latin America and Chief Editor at HappySonship.com. Together with his wife Catherine, they have two gorgeous boys and are awaiting a baby girl through adoption.