I avoid danger in all forms. Like a normal person. I don’t eat weird food. I don’t climb tall ladders. I don’t sky dive. I like to read books and cook comfort foods. We want our home to be a “Safe Place” for people to come rest and be themselves.
Becoming a parent made me an expert on danger. My babies were always seconds from certain death: the stairs, outlets, boiling water, food not cut small enough. The world was one big death trap for my toddlers: fast cars, strange dogs, big waves, kidnappers in the Target. How many times do young parents say, “nobody died today!” only half joking? And you parents of teens with drivers licenses and sketchy boyfriends and internet predators? It’s exhausting. Smart people run from danger and train their kids to as well.
So I wasn’t very excited about God’s loud new message for me: “2015: THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY!!” It didn’t make sense. I kept asking about it in my prayer journal: “What does ‘Living Dangerously’ mean? What are you asking me to do? I hate danger. You seem mean, God.”
Christmas Break ended and I had the house to myself again. I got out the dictionary and thesaurus to see if I was missing something in the way I define dangerous things.
Nope. I certainly hoped my year would not be deadly, fatal, or malignant. I definitely didn’t want to be hairy, shaky, or unsafe.
Danger could be double trouble, hot potato, risky business, or thin ice. Somehow less menacing. Maybe it’s all pretend, like a games and movies at a cozy pink slumber party? Let’s see what “concept 675” says:
Seriously, God? I do not want 2015 to be a calamity, cataclysm, or curse. What are you talking about?
The message I received was about living dangerousLY, maybe it’s all in the nuance?
Yeah, no. I don’t want to live carelessly, desperately, or hazardously either.
God must have the wrong girl.
Danger means panic to me. It demands I be defensive, alert, and strong. I’m already tired and anxious. My sensory issues have me on guard all day long against food smells, loud noises, and weird textures. All the lights on my brain’s dashboard are already red and yellow with exclamation points. I’m too delicate to be dangerous.
I couldn’t think of way Living Dangerously could be positive. Choosing danger was always foolish. I was sure of it. I closed the books and moved on.
Days later I remembered the sermon I heard before Christmas. The life of Jesus was marked with danger. Death threats, a refugee childhood, stormy seas, frantic mobs. The question of that sermon invaded my heart: what if my life wasn’t supposed to be safe? Because Jesus certainly wasn’t safe.
I didn’t think of Jesus as a fool, either. He seemed wise, brave, and courageous. He stood up to politicians, know-it-alls, lunatics, and death itself. I have friends who risk big for love, too. They give up big salaries to be at home more, adopt special needs kids, and/or live overseas in terrorist-controlled countries. Soldiers, firemen, and policemen are always “running toward danger.” Heroes aren’t looking for danger, but they are ready to face it.
Was that it? Was God saying, “2015: The Year of Being Brave!” or “2015: The Year of Being a Hero!”? This was something very different, and not at all comforting. I don’t feel courageous or strong. I feel very small, needy, and broken. I want to be shy and quiet and indoors.
I still couldn’t translate God’s crazy message. I was going to need to look at my heart. For a long time. And see what I was so afraid of.
I will be unfolding this story and the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
Yesterday’s story of Surrender: Food Poisoning
To read more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul
You are loved.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.