Risk Everything (Part 2)

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blogged on Monday about a recent risk-taking initiative I joined. I’m struggling through feeling like the “risks” I pride myself in, don’t feel like enough.

If you look up the word risk in the dictionary, you read words like danger, loss, exposure, and unpleasant. It’s fairly daunting actually; I shouldn’t have done that before writing my previous blog.

But those aren’t the words I’d use today.

The more I’ve reflected on the past five years of my life, I see plenty of risks. I moved away from home for college and I traveled for mission work in Europe. I’ve run a 5K and led worship music on a charter bus microphone. More recently, I made the decision to move to New Orleans, followed by the decision to move out of New Orleans. I’ve cohabited with (evil) cats. These risks are fond, scrapbook memories now.

It’s hard to remember your risk when you’re in the middle of it. The feeling of excitement wears off slowly like when you wake up on new year’s eve enamored with the idea of a fresh new year, but, other than Rose Bowl parades, the next day is boring and unchanged. Other than the cats clawing my door at 4:28 am, I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of a huge, life-changing event. It’s unpleasant, but I’m not exposed to great danger and loss.

So if it doesn’t feel like a risk anymore, is it worth it? Did anything change?

If finishing a big project or owning your own company no longer makes your heart flip, what do you do next?

This is where I am.

A year ago, I grappled with the idea of moving to New Orleans. I spent weeks mulling over my options, mostly excited just to have a job offer after graduation in this economy. I said yes, and was promptly offered a position near my home in Austin. I chose which risk would cost more, financially and emotionally.

Thus, I’m in the middle of a crazy time in life. I’m about to move home temporarily. I’m about to leave my job and my co-workers. I’m about to be on the job hunt. I’m about to be planning a wedding. Oh, sorry. That was just a subtle hint.

My big risk is ending and the excitement has long worn off. Then I realized a fundamental truth. And, if you count your blessings (name them one by one), you’ll see it too.

Someone out in the world wishes they were doing exactly what you’re doing right now.

People wish for steady jobs, college degrees, boyfriends, family, a strong WiFi connection. People wish they could pick up and move to faraway places or travel the world. The things we take for granted are usually the things we once risked everything to gain. Spouses, children, new homes, education. We risk financial security, our sanity, our sleep.

I wouldn’t say risks are exposures to danger and loss and unpleasant situations. I would use words like alter, transformative, and historical. 

Risks change your heart and mind so dramatically, you may even forget how much you risked to reach where you are now. But afterward, you’re a different person. Even if you don’t feel it or see it or believe it, risk changes everything.

What risk have you taken that has completely changed who you are? Are you giving yourself enough credit?