Hope when you take that jump
you don’t feel the fall
Hope when the water rises
you built a wall
Hope when the morning comes you’ll say,
I did it all.
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone
I swear, I lived.
This week, I have been thinking an awful lot about the concept of risk. I don’t know that there is a single moment in life where one doesn’t make an assessment of factors, weighing in on what the best possible outcome in any situation could be. Regardless of the depth of any one decision, I have concluded that every choice we make is a risk.
It seems I’ve lived the majority of my life with some kind of fantastical notion that if I do the right things, make pro-con lists, agonize, lose sleep, and dream up a bunch of plans with approved mentors, everything will work out and I will be safe from disappointment. Did you not grow up with the world telling you to work hard to get into college and get your degree so you can find a good job and make good money, so you can eventually get married and buy a nice house for your spouse and 2.5 kids and live out the rest of your days in that job where life will remain safe and secure until you retire at 65 to some wonderful community in Boca Raton? (run-on sentence intentional)
Already at age 27, I’m seeing that is not how the world works. And for those who would choose to continue to live life conforming to this kind of expectation, I have to ask, isn’t it boring?
Four years ago, when I packed up everything and moved 3,000 miles from home, I never expected to be where I am right now. And then just over 1 year ago, my move to Greenville seemed to be another adventure well worth the taking. From 24-27, I quickly learned that life is FULL of unexpected twists and turns. I couldn’t have prepared for any of them, even if I wanted to. For whatever reason, I can’t see a mile down the road. But what I am privileged to see is the step directly in front of me.
One year ago, I started working for this incredible church in South Carolina called NewSpring. I love it. I will always love it. Were it not for this church and the people I’ve met, I would not be the same person I am now. I came into my season with NewSpring as a broken, hurting, disappointed little girl. Coming on staff didn’t necessarily make life easier. In fact, this past year may have been the most difficult one I’ve ever had. Between the loss of friendships and financial problems, broken down cars, and broken hearts, it took everything I had to keep breathing. However, I had my NewSpring family to help hold my head up when I barely could on my own.
And then a few weeks ago, the Lord made it very clear that my season at NewSpring was over.
I had been planning for a long stay with my church and these incredible people despite some uncertainty in my heart. I was trying to make something work that I wasn’t sure would. Over the past several months, I sensed something else I had to do, though I never was clear on what it was. For a season, I was passionate about my job, but I knew the moment it felt like a “job” something was wrong. I thought it was me. I thought it was a feeling I could work harder to change. Sometimes you can love something so much that you’ll do anything, even sacrifice parts of who you really are, to make it work. But in the Lord’s grace and mercy, He wouldn’t let me. Four weeks ago, I was lovingly released into another opportunity.
That direction wasn’t clear at the time. Now jobless, I could do anything. I had options. Again, I found myself facing a fork in the road. And again, though I’m sure He knows how it annoys me, I didn’t feel like the Lord told me to go a certain direction. What I did sense Him ask was, what do you want? Pick one.
That’s a scary concept for someone who, as mentioned before, was obsessed with doing the “right thing.” I didn’t want to let God down, and I most certainly didn’t want to disappoint my friends or family. What do I want? God, am I even allowed to ask that? I thought I had to be all self-sacrificing and reject all things that I want.
But the more I asked mentors about it, the more it became clear: God wanted me to choose this time. Risky.
Immediately, Joshua 1:9 came to mind.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Wherever I go.
This means, so long as I’m submitting to Him, whatever decision I make, He’s going with me. No matter the risk, no matter what everyone else may think, He is with me wherever.
Lee McDerment encouraged me with this question: what story do you want to tell your children?
I want to recall a life of faith and adventure. I want them to know that I didn’t hold back anything. I want them to see that it’s okay to take a chance, to risk a fall, to try and fail or try and succeed. I want them to know that I wasn’t afraid to dream and that I wasn’t afraid to follow through with those dreams.
And so, it is with much joy and great excitement that I can announce my next risky step:
you can find me in Nashville, Tennessee.
Many thanks to my Mom, Mandy & Joshua Blankenship, Jay Phillips, Lee McDerment and Ryan Capelli who never told me I was wrong for following my heart.
I’ll see you around soon.
Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith. – Margaret Shepard