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.
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
- deciding to put our old house on the market
- continuing to downsize our life–to upsize our faith
- preparing for a broken heart–and researching needs of children in my own community
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.
See who else took Amy Sullivan’s challenge – and what they’re risking.