It’s scary a thing to stand out from the crowd. To “play it safe” is a kind of death isn’t it?
Not to take risks, means lost opportunities. To let fear cripple you, means never to experience life in all its fullness. It doesn’t mean we won’t fail, get burned, or feel disappointment or even betrayal, it is to acknowledge these emotions and the circumstances that comes with them and know that they in fact don’t define you.
My big one is a fear of rejection. I have found it makes me change who I am because all I want to be is accepted by everyone. It limits me because I worry over how people will react to me if I show them my true self. It strips me of boldness. Of living the life God has called me to live.
This revelation came to me in 2015 and it has been a painful journey of understanding the root of this fear and how it has come to affect every aspect of my life. It has also been a freeing experience because I am beginning to recognise the patterns of behaviour and thinking that keeps me stuck in fear, praying through them, having others pray for me and walking in the opposite spirit.
However, I am still playing it safe. I play it safe in the choices of clothes I wear (bland, boring and most mostly black and dark blue) so that I can hide in the background. Now don’t get me wrong I am not about to start wearing, see through tops and hot pants, but I purposefully choose not to wear certain things because I don’t want to stand out. For example, I really want to wear beautiful head wraps in kente cloth.
I am playing it safe, with my interactions with people. My partner recently told me that his friends in his old work place couldn’t really get if I liked them or not for a long while. So guarded am I when I interact with people. In my mind, I was just observing them and getting to know them slowly, but if people can’t tell if you like them can you really say that you’re an open and friendly person? There is also the aspect of worrying too much about others think and the reason I have included this example is that there is truth in it. It takes me a long time to open to anyone and to show my emotions and letting people into my life.
I am playing it safe, in my writing and even in this blog, because there are so many topics that I want to write on but I am too afraid to share my own opinion and thoughts. So it leads me to a secondary issue: confidence. To take risks in my writing and understand that this is for me and if people like it then -yay! but if they don’t – that’s ok too!
I am playing it safe spiritually and this the big one, because this has serious implications. I have to confess that I find fear swallows me up when I want to speak to someone about Jesus. Now again, don’t get me wrong I am not about to bible bash people, but to have a genuine open heart conversations with people who are not believers. I feel the promptings and regrettably, I don’t act on them. Can I say that I have spoken to even my own family members in soft, kind way about my faith? No. They know I go to church and I read the bible but does this lead to anything again, I have to say no. Even my partner, who is not a Christian, I don’t think I can really say that I live my faith boldly before him I am worried what that means and what he would think. So it’s a balance between understanding that my confidence is Christ, not in me and knowing that who he has created me to be exactly as I am and the journey I am on is of Christ.
So here it is, the complete opposite to “playing it safe,” BOLDNESS. Over and over again God commands his people not to be afraid and to be bold. I was challenged by the parable the pastor chose to illustrate this, Matthew 25:14-30, the three servants who were each given a sum of money when their master left. The first two, invested their money and were able to stand before their master when he returned. The third servant, did nothing with what he was given. This is what the master said to him,
26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.”
To live cautiously is criminal from Jesus’ point of view.
What does this mean for me?
It means I have no excuse and that my fears are not bigger than God. I am fully known by God, he knows what scares me, he knows that my tendency is to try to fade into the background, but He also knows how to draw me out of my comfort zone, to challenge me and to reveal how wonderful he is. He shows me that he is right there with me and he is my safe place, my refuge.
There is a verse that has been on my mind and heart for the last couple of weeks:
“know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
My confidence is in the Lord and by his loving spirit I resolve to begin to live boldly.
(I will let you know how it goes)