What makes a person pursue what seems impossible or conclude that taking risks is a good idea? What makes someone climb Mt. Everest, or pursue a cure for an illness, or achieve a championship? What makes an ancient Jewish fisherman named Peter, who knew the dangers of the water better than most, decide to step out of a boat in the middle of a storm to attempt to walk on water?
In Peter’s case, he took the risk because Jesus simply said, “Come, follow me.” No explanation. No promise of success or protection from drowning. Taking risks has led to some of the most remarkable moments in human history. But risks are not just for the bold adventurers. Here are 5 risks everyone should take.
1. Pursue passion over compensation.
The drive to provide for ourselves and our families, and to have more than we had when we were young, can lead us to career choices that prioritize income. That’s not always bad, but money never satisfies as a source of hope. I’m so grateful that 30 years ago, God allowed Susan and me to launch Family First. We pursued our passion and, although it’s been challenging, it’s also so fulfilling and satisfying to know that we’re doing what God wants us to do.
2. Tell a loved one a hard truth.
“Speaking truth to power” is a common phrase these days. But “speaking truth in love” is more important to our everyday relationships. We must always speak truthfully to our spouses but with gentleness and respect so they’ll know we are saying it because we love them and want what’s best for them.
3. Consistently stand up for what you believe.
Even though it might cost you money, having integrity to do what you know to be right, even when others aren’t watching, is a risk worth taking. And if you’re a parent, understand that you’re always being watched, teaching your children by your example, even when you’re taking risks in order to maintain your integrity. I remember times when I could have lied to get my children into the movies at kids’ prices when they were beyond the age limit—but did not do it. It was a small thing, but it mattered in a big way.
4. Face your greatest fear.
There’s a great risk in dealing with fear because the stakes are high. Fear can be a powerful motivator for our worst decisions, and a powerful thief that robs us of joy and hope. Often, fear distracts us in the present from a goal we’re working toward for our future. Taking the risk to battle our fears isn’t about eliminating fear, but about finding the courage to push forward to do what’s right, even when we have fear.
5. Giving time, resources, and money to a cause greater than yourself.
Giving away what we work hard to have is counterintuitive. But it is so rewarding. When we find something much bigger than our own little world that we support wholeheartedly, we find meaning, purpose, and satisfaction. To have a small life, live for yourself. To live large, live for others, for causes bigger than you that will be important long after you.
What risks have you taken that were worth it all? What risks are you facing now, wondering if they are worth the leap of faith required? Don’t be afraid to get out of the boat—and share in a comment below.