” If you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will.” -Tom Evans, British musician/songwriter

I have had a few times in my life where I have had to go on the job hunt. One of the most dreaded experiences for me is choosing which positions I will apply for. As I read through the job descriptions, I begin to feel discouraged- “I’m not smart enough to do this one,” “I don’t have the experience to do that one,” and “They would never take someone with my background.” Before I even have my interview, I have quit. Before the game even gets started, I’ve forfeit. Can you relate to these kinds of times? Have you ever closed the door on an opportunity without giving it the old college try?

What drives a man to shut down when given new options and opportunities? I submit that it might be self-preservation. We rule out options that we picture not working. We step away from responsibilities that we believe we will fail in. We don’t want to lose; we don’t want to disappoint; we don’t want to get hurt. To keep from taking an unnecessary hit, we stay out of the fight. We leave the world of progress to much braver men. But, what have we missed out on as a result? What is the cost of our personal conservation? Don’t get me wrong, there is good reason for us to play it safe. Many of us have been burned by past attempts. All of us have experienced loss and setbacks in our lives. However, without risk, there can be no reward. We must be willing to step forth with courage if we are to have what we have not had before.

Self-preservation is not a “bad quality.” We need to make sure that we are caring for our own well-being. Living life in complete abandon is not in our best interest. In fact, I want to be clear- I am not saying that we should act without caution. Instead, I am challenging us to take calculated risks. To take calculated risks means that we identify a need to let go of our tight grip over our lives. It requires that we ask ourselves what is worth pursuing. We also need to make sure that we can accept failure if ever it were to be the end result. We ask ourselves, “is the possibility of success worth pursuing if there is also a possibility that things don’t go as desired?” If so, then we need to take hold of the reins and deny ourselves the pleasure of comfort. It is in these times that we step boldly into the darkness to see what may await us on the other side.

You may be asking yourself by now, “what does this have to do with being a parent?” I hear you. If we are going to be the catalyst for growth in our family, we have to be willing to try new things and accept the possibility of failure. Should I take on a new job that will allow me to spend more time with my family? Should I give up a nasty habit that is hurting my family? Is it worth it to work to re-unifying with the mother of my child? We also grow deeper in relationships when we choose to open up to those that we have been shallow toward. If you have someone close in your life that you have been giving the cold shoulder, consider the benefit of being more genuine. Also, it is important that we remember that we are role models to our children. If we can set an example of being both courageous and vigilant, then we are giving our children the building blocks they will need to make momentous decisions in their own lives.

I don’t know what challenges you will face this week. But, I can guarantee that you will experience at least one opportunity to step out in faith. All that I ask is that you consider taking the risk. You can’t win if you never step onto the field.