#RiskRejection: Unsubscribe if you must

Have you noticed? RISK has been a common topic here lately. Even before Amy Sullivan issued her #RiskRejection challenge – and I accepted it – risk was already happening. I guess without intentionally choosing one, RISK has become my word for 2014.


Throughout the month of December, as I wrote my daily Themes of Christmas series, I’ll admit: My heart wasn’t completely in it. Oh, I enjoyed writing those posts – because I always love playing with themes – but I was distracted.


Distracted by impending risks.


My very first post of the year spelled it out:

 That’s where I find myself here at the beginning of 2014: stepping into the unknown. . . . the more I watch God work in lives of desperate children, the more I understand with my heart (not just my head) that all Christians are called to minister to people Jesus called “the least of these”. To practice hands-on, dirty-faith obedience in the everyday parts of our lives. To choose to look beyond the walls of our comfy homes and churches and see the ugly, dirty, smelly reality of need. No amount of church attendance or Bible study participation, worthy as it may be, can replace that.


. . . this God-stirring I feel in my spirit tells me there’s more required of me… and so I’m praying and listening and looking around me to see what’s next. God, you know I don’t like ugly, dirty, smelly… or too hot… or too cold.


God, help me.

 Excerpt from The Christian Woman I Will Never Be Again. What I Was Doing Wrong



And that was before Amy Sullivan inserted her challenge into my life! 🙂


The impending risks?


Over the last few weeks, I’ve told you about


But there’s more…


Some of you will remember last Spring when I wrote about going to the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit. What an amazing experience it was… except for hearing a small group leader announce that all orphanages are bad and need to close. If you want to know why that’s not true, educate yourself. That blanket statement of “fact” so distressed Renaissance Man and me that we took a risk and approached our friends at CAFO with a proposal to create an entire set of workshops for Summit 2014 to focus specifically on the needs of organizations working with children in long-term residential care. Children like ours at Hope Unlimited.


Our proposal was accepted, and now we’re busy working with Summit organizers to put together presenters and resources that will affirm the men and women who tirelessly care for unadoptable children for whom foster care is not an option. Children who are truly “the least of these.” More than affirmation, however, is our opportunity to share the Hope Unlimited model with organizations worldwide; especially to help them with their graduate programs. After all, if a child is rescued from a horrible life situation and provided food, clothing, and education until they turn 18, what good is it if they haven’t been adequately prepared for AFTER graduation? Virtually all graduates, if unprepared, will simply return to what they know. The street… prostitution… drug running… It doesn’t have to be that way!


Between now and Summit 2014 (May 1-2), all prayers are appreciated – for Summit workshop planners; for adoption, foster care, and residential care advocates making plans to attend. Mostly, for the children we all serve. They deserve our very best.


But there’s more…


Perhaps the biggest risk I’m taking is the one that affects you, my readers. If you’re a longtime friend here, you’ve probably felt the shift. I’ve been “playing in the dishes” and restoring linens less… and talking about “things that matter” and wanting to make a difference more.


I’ve been asking some hard questions of myself – and you. I hope you’ve been challenged… and encouraged… and uncomfortable.


Friends, we each have amazing, God-given abilities… and unique life experiences to share with others. It’s time we start taking some steps – even tiny ones – out of our comfort zones to impact our world. It’s time we start risking more… and making excuses less.


I’ve asked you before: What’s tugging at your heart? If *that thing* (you know what it is) won’t leave your mind, then do something about it!


If, on the other hand, you’re so “not in tune” that you don’t feel anything quickening your spirit, then STOP NOW and ask God:

  • Who do I need to encourage?
  • When (and how) do I need to venture out of my comfort zone?
  • What do I need to give away to bless someone else?
  • Where can I practice creative caring?


If you don’t like the slight shift here at My Place, I won’t be offended if you feel the need to unsubscribe. I hope you won’t, but I promise to understand.


But if you believe deep down that there’s more to life than tablescapes and DIY projects and the hottest new wall color, then I hope you’ll tag along with me into the unknown. I hope you’ll sign up to get My Place to Yours™ via email – even join the conversation. I’ll be right here to encourage you.


We’ve got to start talking about things that matter… for the sake of our families, our communities, our world.


Too dramatic? I think not.


risk more text

Your turn.


See who else took Amy Sullivan’s challenge – and what they’re risking.


  1. While hearing a New Year’s message, I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone. I took some personal steps, ordered a how-to book to help me, and hopefully… I will soon do exactly that: Step out of my comfort zone!

    Hugs and happy highways,

  2. This is one of the those posts that leaves me wanting to know more.

    Here we go, wow.

    So first off, where is the summit? Second, I admire the fact that you heard something you didn’t agree with and so you decided to educate people by presenting a series of workshops. Some would have just grumbled and moved on. Third, I hear when you change the focus on your blog, it can be tough, but your passion leaks through the words on this page and my guess is people will see that and feel that and it will be contagious. Lastly, I think there is something more to your post “The Christian Woman I Will Never Be Again…”. I’m not sure what it is, but that is the start of something bigger. Not just with you. It feels bigger than you.

    Susan, I can’t thank you enough for participating in #RiskRejection with us. I wish you could have participated in some of the FB stuff because I feel as if your voice rings with wisdom. I’m thrilled I got to know you better, and I am looking forward to hearing more about this new shift in focus for you. Although there may be some who aren’t thrilled with your change in direction, I certainly am excited.

    Make sure you share about your presentation as it gets closer. Really! You could “practice” on us.

  3. I sat here staring at this for a while. Then, I went in to have my morning devotional and private prayer time. Then, I came back and still don’t know what to say.

    The simple question that I ask over and over (and over) is this: I know what has been pulling at my heart for years now. I just do not know how to go about doing it. Trust me, I have prayed and asked and tried. I. Just. Can’t. Figure. It Out.

  4. And I just realized that I never finished responding to an email to you because it was related to this topic, and I can’t wrap words around my hands enough to express what I want to say.

    • I’ve been where you are, Debbie. In fact, part of me still is, but it does feel good to finally (after a really long time) have a “stepping out” plan… although I have no idea where it will lead. I guess that’s why it’s all such a risk. I continue to pray for you and am here anytime if you want to talk. Sometimes that’s easier than trying to put things into written words….

  5. Jenn Peterson says:

    Oh girl- I love you already!! Praying for you and please keep us updated.

  6. I follow many blogs, most home-dec or crafty stuff (which I do love). However, I will stay a faithful follower of yours because I admire what you’re doing and I want to see where it takes you. Now that we’re empty nesters, I have been feeling a strong urge to do ‘something’ with or for children. I am particularly drawn to pro-life issues, and want to do more to support organizations that give girls real support to make the decision to keep their babies. This is my risk, because so many of my female ‘friends’ and acquaintances are almost rabidly ‘pro-choice’. I’m not sure what I can do (I welcome ideas and advice) but my first step will be to contact care-net and ask ….

    Thank you for sharing your risk and I will keep you in my prayers that you get very little rejection!


    • Patty, I am honored and encouraged to have you along for the journey! We empty nesters are in a unique position to move into the next phase of our lives — and to make it count “in the big picture”! I encourage you to listen to your heart concerning young mothers and their babies AND to research the various ministries/organizations in your area. Find out about the actual statistics of pregnant girls… and if their needs for information and encouragement and acceptance are being met. Is there a place for you to “plug in” or is there a new approach to consider? I’m praying for you, and excited that you are willing to RISK. Please keep me posted! (I’m going to email you. I have a book I’d like to send you.)

  7. I am walking this out in my own life, in a different form, but the one God has given me. Last night women met at my house who are walking out the journey of unemployment, the journey of down sizing not being a choice but a forced reality to survive. Women whose whole worlds have changed and their identity change..but not their identity in Christ. My field is different…my comfort zone, well lost five years ago when we lost our own home. My children adopting, my son working in Cambodia…God has opened our eyes, I am trying to walk in the steps He is presenting before me. It isn’t easy, I want to go back to what was comfortable, but that is why the mother eagle makes the nest uncomfortable for the eagle lets…so they will fly from the comfort of the nest and soar!! That was what they were meant to do.
    Blessings as you soar…I will be praying along side you.

    • Janette, you have been such an inspiration to me as I’ve watched you get thrown time and time again further out of your comfort zone…. and watched God bless and bless and bless! Your current ministry to women walking out the journey of unemployment is beautiful. I am confident God is using you and your God-focused attitude to encourage and bless those women. When nothing else is certain, they can still latch on to intimacy with their Creator. I have a friend in England who encourages me by saying, “Intimacy: Into Me, you see — That is where God is telling us we must look” … for wisdom, courage, survival.

  8. Yes, as a matter of fact I have been feeling a tugging at my heart this entire week about something specific. To pick up the phone and invite our sweet friends at the local halfway house to see if they want a ride to our Bible Study. I’ve been avoiding it for lots of reasons – the inconvenience of me picking them up when I already take an extra person to church every Wednesday night. I lead the Bible Study and all hell seems to break loose the day of Bible Study and to add passengers only makes for more stress. But I haven’t been able to get away from the thought every day this week. Your post has solidified the Holy Spirit prompted tug to make contact with the Director. I will do that now. Thanks!

    • Good for you, Melody! I’m praying for you right now — and applauding the Spirit for being persistent… and you for listening! As for “all hell breaking loose” on Bible Study day, OF COURSE it does! Satan’s job is to distract us from spending time with Truth, isn’t it? Do.not.let.him.win!

      Love your heart!

    • thank you for your prayers! I just got off the phone with the director and she said she would relay the invitation to the four girls in the house right now. Now I’m just praying that if there’s a girl in that house that he wants to attend this study he will move on those hearts. I feel so good to have finally acted on that nudging and I really hope we’ll have the opportunity to grow alongside one of these women.

    • YAY! Praying with you…

  9. Just beautiful friend! Your heart and mine are like sisters. So thankful you risk. Maybe as we make life’s art about risking we’ll empower more to risk. Not just for the sake of risking but for Jesus’ sake. Can’t wait to hear more of your journey. Keep risking — you encourage me!

  10. That’s a great plan! Our first mission trip as a family was to an orphanage in China. This couple has given their lives to rescue, educate, and love dozens of kids who are not adoptable and were in terrible circumstances. They are heroes and should be treated as such. There certainly is such a thing as a good orphanage! Good for you for highlighting this incredibly important ministry to the least of these,.

  11. Wow! What an amazing undertaking! Inspired by your risk to create workshops for such a great cause! I appreciate your encouragement to use our God given talents to help others. I’m so blessed to be part of a ministry that I feel passionate about. It was tugging at my heart and now I’m overwhelmed by the opportunity to be a voice for it. Thank you for sharing!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life

    • Christy, when I first “read” your heart on your blog and saw that you have already found a life-changing ministry to plug into, I was thrilled. I know you are making a difference in the lives of children, and I love you for that!

  12. Susan, I love this. I pray God’s hand of blessing all over you for your obedience. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

  13. Your post definitely got me thinking… Time to do a little soul searching and praying…

  14. Susan, Just to let you know, you will always show up in my inbox as long as you post, even tho I don’t always comment.
    We have seen miracles in our lives over the past year as well as struggles. Knowing that our Lord is in control leaves us with no excuse for avoiding risks, whatever they may be or wherever they lead. My prayers will continue to be with you and your husband as you follow God’s purpose for your life.
    I have not been posting much lately as I can’t find my purpose for posting. I don’t post for income and some of the earlier things I posted about seem shallow to me. I guess you can say I am searching as others have indicated.
    May we lift our brothers and sisters in love to be inspired by his countenance.