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For the life to which I was accustomed held me more than the life for which I really yearned.” – St. Augustine
 
A friend and I made a toast early in the new year. We toasted to unmitigated risk taking in 2013. This was a practice I carried over from 2012 when I had decided to become a bolder, braver version of myself. Risk. Moving out of my comfort zone; moving out of the routine; not continuing with the same old same old. I did and it was liberating. My risk taking hasn’t involved jumping out of an airplane or taking a hot-air balloon ride (although, these are two events that I must cross off my bucket list someday). Oh, but there was that mud run. A dirt-filled 5K + this girly girl = definite risk. No, my risk taking centers mostly on trusting others. Sharing who I truly am. The real me, without reservation. 
 
Within the past year, I put my heart out there by telling a friend that I have deeper feelings for him than friendship. This was a huge risk because our friendship would forever change. It could fracture; it could blossom. It would certainly be different than before. It was a risk I wanted to take. I didn’t want things to remain the ‘same old same old.’ I wanted to tell him. I trusted him with who I am. I risked and things didn’t go my way. I have no regrets. God will always work my choices and circumstances for His glory. This experience, along with testing the waters of online dating, were two risks that helped me open up more to the opposite sex. I found online dating to be more reflection than risk. It always seemed so scary to me, when in actuality, with the light shining on it, became an outlet of self discovery. I would have missed this tremendous period of growth had I not risked.
 
Did I feel like I was in a bit of a rut and needed some excitement in my life? Did that prompt my sudden interest in risk taking? Perhaps. But, I’m not taking risks willy-nilly. I glean insight and direction from the Holy Spirit and move out of my comfort zone with faith-filled confidence. I run in the direction in which God leads. I am a different person today than I was a year ago. I have blossomed in confidence by allowing others in. It’s almost like I’ve uncovered another layer of myself. It’s a form of surrendering. 
 
Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”  – John 5:8
 
I believe that I’ve been my own inspiration for taking more risks. Taking a risk means making a change. Do I stay in the shade, or step out into the sunshine? Do I live in the sameness, or do I want to be set free? God doesn’t want me to stagnate. God is always on the move and He wants to take me with him. It’s necessary to move out of the familiar to grow and stretch and learn. I think I have always welcomed change and growth in school and work, but not in the areas of love and friendship. In those areas, I’ve always been cautious and timid, especially when it comes to sharing my personal life with others. I have a close circle of friends who know me….really know me. They know that I’m not this happy-100%-of-the-time-everything-is-perfect-in-her-life woman whom so many people believe me to be. I’m flawed; I’m broken; and I am humbled. But, I started opening up to more people several years ago and found that I learn so much from others when I share with them. The bond that forms from this shared trust is sacred. Taking risks by opening myself up to others has reaped beautiful blessings of deeper connections with others and within myself.
 
This blog is a risk. Yes, I hide behind some anonymity, and aside from a few close friends and family members, no one knows that it’s me. But, I am unapologetically myself in these entries. What I’ve gained from reflecting on joys, naming my struggles, and sharing in conversations with those who connect with my words, is the very reward of taking risks. I love the visual of a spotlight pointing down over top of my head. The light illuminates me and a small radius around me, but a step in any direction means stepping into darkness. Taking a risk is a faith-filled step into the darkness; into the unknown. The result is uncertain. It’s not always rosy. But I’ve learned that even if I take a risk and things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, it was better to have risked and lost than to not have risked at all. The gain has been immeasurable. The gain is me really living.
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