Risk-taking

“Risk-taker”.

There was that word again! I had now heard that term used on three different occasions and in three very different sermon messages by three different people. Obviously, when I hear the term used three times in a week, I take notice. A “Risk-taker” is defined by Merriam Webster as “a person who is willing to do things that involve danger or risk in order to achieve a goal”.

When asked this week if I considered myself a “risk-taker”, I adamantly said, “NO!” Perhaps in my younger years I have attempted some fool-hardy stunts that may have been considered risky to life and limb, but as I have aged and I hope grown a little wiser over the years, I no longer feel the need to risk injury to myself if a stunt should go awry. For example, when I was a young teen, I used to walk along the Sooke Flowline (pipeline). The flowline is now an abandoned 44 kilometre concrete aqueduct that snakes through the Sooke Hills from Sooke Lake to the Humpback Reservoir, but when I lived in Sooke in the 70’s, it was used to supply water to the city of Victoria. My brother and I often walked on the pipeline with our dog, Champ. The diameter of the pipe was a little over a metre, which was actually not too bad to stay balanced on, but with a dog passing by us almost continuously, not to mention the 30 metre (about 100 feet) drop over some of the trestles, and no guard rails at all, there was definitely some danger in walking along it. I only realized how risky it was when my Dad decided to join us one time on our walk, and after we scooted ahead of him and traversed a particularly tricky spot over a trestle with a one hundred foot drop down to a creek, Dad banned us from ever walking on the pipeline again. The conversation with my mother after we got home was laced with some colourful expletives and the terms “crazy kids”, “could have gotten themselves killed”, “what were they thinking?” and lastly, “they even took the dog!”

I am not a risk-taker now, at least I don’t think so. I used to play soccer in high school, but even running up and down a soccer pitch and blocking a few hard shots with my head became too risky an athletic endeavor for me. Getting carted off the field on a stretcher a couple of times in one game made my coach ask me to re-evaluate my ability to play that sport again. I enjoyed watching my son play hockey and soccer, and I’m sure when the grands start playing more sports, I will be right there cheering them on, but if they get hurt…well, that may hurt me more than them. I’m a bit over protective.

Understatement.

I like watching others do some risk-taking activities, but I’m definitely okay just sitting on the sidelines, or safe and sound in my lounge chair watching athletes on T.V. downhill ski, skateboard or rock climb. I feel no need to push my physical limits in that way. I’m basically content walking around the gym track at my own pace. Safe. Secure. A little boring. That’s okay with me.

So why has that term “risk-taker” been presented to me three times this week?

Context is key here. My Pastor made a bold statement in his sermon on Sunday: “As Christians, God has called ALL of us to be risk-takers.” A young woman at a women’s event I attended last Friday said that if it were not for her taking some calculated risks to strike up conversations with other women, a key ministry for young moms would never have happened in our community. She and others were called “risk-takers”. Finally, a devotional reading this week challenged me to take more risks in sharing the Gospel with others. Risk-taking in this context is not necessarily something that will take a physical toll on my body, but it may cost me in other ways.

As a writer, my comfort zone is being safely alone, tapping out words of encouragement through my books and this blog. I am very intimidated being face to face with someone, and saying basically the same things in person as I might write to them. I like to write cards. I like to text. I like to communicate through social media. I get flustered and tongue-tied when I’m in person and eye to eye with someone. If I could just read a script with small talk, I’d be okay. I’m pretty good, sharing my faith through my writing, but in person, it’s quite another story.

I had stepped out of my comfort zone to strike up a conversation with someone I’d never met before in church. After exchanging pleasantries she had asked what I do for a living. I laughed and said, “I’m a writer. I don’t make much of a living doing what I do.” “I could never do what you do.” she said to me. Her comment puzzled me. “Write! I couldn’t do what you do in a million years.” It had never once occurred to me that I was a risk-taker in my writing ministry. I smiled and thanked her for the encouragement, and then I praised God for the opportunities He has given me to write.

Perhaps seeing risk-taking from a new perspective was just what I needed this week.

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Christian Haikus

Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to write my own Psalms and have published two on Journey Thoughts. I hope to write more. I belong to a few Facebook Christian writing groups and one in particular focuses on writing poetry. (Christian Poets & Writers) I have written poetry, have taught junior high poetry, but I haven’t written a lot of Christian poetry.

In 2017 Faithful Bloggers asked for submissions towards a group writing project, and I was one of the contributors. A Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. The following Haikus were my submissions. There is a free downloadable PDF on the Faithful Bloggers site, but I also include it here, so you may enjoy some of the other Haikus that were submitted by a group of talented Christian writers and poets.

PDF Haiku Group Writing Project.

Undaunted I rise
From within the tomb of woe
Risen once for all!
He lived, breathed, and walked
Amongst us; the Perfect Lamb
Of God, our Saviour.
I once was lost but
Now I'm found alive in Christ
Redeemed forever.
Easter lilies bloom
Triumphantly rejoicing
Near the empty tomb.
I wept in despair
Trapped in sin, until His love
Claimed me for His own!
The Three Crosses stood
Testament to Golgotha's
Pain but Christ's Triumph.
The mountains declare
His Glory, His Majesty
Beyond any words.
Darkness has no hold
When Light overpowers it.
Rejoice in the Son!
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My Psalm 2

I praise You, Lord, through my ages!

I praise You for the day of my birth, and the parents who raised me.

I praise You for my brother, a lifelong companion for me, a friend and confidante, who has given me wise counsel when I needed it.

I praise You, Lord, for protecting me through my childhood when I didn’t walk in Your way or Your Truth, but You had a plan and a purpose for me anyway.

I praise You for friendships, and especially allowing me to cross paths with a girl who knew You. I praise You, Lord, for the nearly fifty years of friendship I’ve had with her.

I praise You, Lord, for guarding my heart, putting stumbling blocks in my path during my rebellious teen years. I thank You for protecting me even though I was so contrary, and refused to acknowledge You. You kept pursuing me when I was intent upon running away, and I thank You for not giving up on me!

I praise You, Lord, for gifting me with the love of my life. I had no idea that You were orchestrating my life-changing meeting with a Godly young man, when I joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1977. I was only focused on myself, and making money to pay my way through university. I am convinced that it was You Who drew us together that summer. That dear man shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with me, and compelled me to say “I do” to You, before I said, “I do” to him! For our four decades together, the life we’ve built leaning on each other and on You throughout our marriage, Lord, I give You praise!

I praise You, Lord, for my three children. They are precious in Your sight. Thank-You for attending to my needs, to hearing my prayers, and providing wise counsel as I parented them. I know I was not a perfect parent. I struggled, I failed, I had moments of self doubt and great anxiety as a mom, but You encouraged me through your Word and gave me the companionship of other Moms who mentored me.

I praise You, Lord, for Godly friends who have discipled me in my daily walk with You. Thank-You for their friendships, the camaraderie, and laughter we have shared together these many years. Thank-You for friendships born out of common experiences.

I praise You, Lord, for putting a desire in my heart from an early age to write and to teach. I am thankful that I was able to build my relationship with You first so Your Word influenced the way I taught and wrote afterwards. I became a better teacher with You leading me through each classroom encounter with a multitude of students. Each one of those young learners left their imprint on my life. Teaching them has given me great joy!

I praise You, Lord, for my writing ministry, allowing me to glorify You through the words and the books I write.

I praise You, Lord, for answering my prayers for my three children. They are healthy, they are strong, they are capable, and each of them gifted with talents and abilities You have given them. We are a close family, we like to be around each other, I don’t take that for granted. Thank-You too for their spouses who You chose for my children. They are precious to me as well. I praise You, Lord, for adding grandchildren to our family, and allowing me the exquisite joy to be a part of their lives!

I praise You, Lord, for Your continuing watch-care over me. You have allowed me to experience many highs and lows in my life. In every life experience I’ve faced, I have grown closer to You.

I praise You, Lord!

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