Three Risks That Have Paid Off Big – And Some Big News
Four years ago my wife and I packed and headed to a state I had barely stepped foot in: Florida.
We came for my wife to get her PhD so she could become a college professor. These four years have been the greatest of my life, without comparison, thanks to amazing people, life events and, of course, WEATHER. But that’s what makes this wonderful news bittersweet, because we’ll soon be turning the page and starting a new chapter in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My wife has accepted a tenure track professor position there at Augustana College.
Augie, as students and faculty call it, is a small liberal arts school packed with heart, which is exactly what Tasha was seeking. Sioux Falls also has much to offer that aligns with our values and life goals. I am, however, crafting a letter to the Sioux Falls City Council, requesting the City Thermostat be turned up 40 degrees between November and March. I’ll keep you posted about their response.
Regardless, aside from weather, it seems to be a perfect match.
She won’t start her position until August, but I’m already getting a bit sentimental. God has blessed us greatly in Tampa, Florida. And it isn’t just the weather, because though it is a perk, over time it fades into the background of life like how a beautiful painting blends into a home. The thing that has stood out most I can take anywhere, and that’s the lesson I’ve learned:
The greatest way to live is to take risks, or as I put it in my most recent blog post, to keep on jumping out of planes.
In this blog post I want to share the three biggest risks I’ve taken in Florida and how they’ve all paid off…BIG!
1. Improv Comedy – I wear two evangelism hats, one for Jesus and the other for improv (possibly because I feel they’re connected, but I’ll save that for another post). Improv evangelism is important because it changed my life in so many areas, especially dissolving my crippling fear of public speaking. In fact I wrote an e-book about overcoming fears and this story was at the heart of it. Please click here to pick it up.
I just completed a work presentation at a department meeting of about 50 people, and it was a complete success. The difference is drastic from before I stepped onto the improv stage. It was baptism by fire and sink or swim, and thankfully I stayed with it because if anyone can learn how to lose their inhibitions like an improv scene requires, and to do it in front of an audience of 50, then the work meeting presentation loses its sting.
2. Counseling – For years this intrigued me. I put a lot of merit into wisdom and insight, so to engage with a person professionally trained in those topics sounded appealing. But I didn’t make an appointment. Why? The stigma attached to this crept around my mind. There was also a puffed up thought – Why would I need a counselor when I have the greatest counselor of all, Jesus? In spite of this chest-pounding declaration, my problems kept continuing.
Last summer I finally had enough so I made an appointment. I prayed the whole way there because opening up about myself wasn’t going to be easy. I feared she would ask a few questions, scribble in her notepad and peer down her glasses at me. “So, do you want my professional opinion?” she’d ask, tapping her pen against her ring finger. “Well, do you?”
And, well, I didn’t. Not naturally. But through prayer by the time I got there I was ready for anything and to my relief she didn’t tell me I was covering up a bad case of bipolar disorder.
I believe everyone, including anyone reading this blog post, could benefit from seeing a counselor. All of us have experienced some sort of trauma that needs to be dealt with, and a good, educated counselor is a perfect remedy.
3. Starting a Bible Study – Like counseling, this appeared on my annual goal list until I finally took the plunge last year.
Why did it take so long? Because I didn’t consider myself worthy. Because I thought I couldn’t speak or it would require administration skills I didn’t have. Or that I don’t have a seminary degree or that when someone tells me to go to the book of Ruth I fumble through pages until I finally turn to the table of contents.
All I could see were the challenges rather the benefits. And after a year of conducting the bible study I can say with confidence that I did have what it took. However, by that I mean I was able to get out of the way and let God lead. That is the key to a good bible study.
As a result of starting this it has bolstered my own relationship with God, reduced doubts about myself and not be double minded, no longer standing on shifting sand.
My emphasis on the blog is overcoming fear but it is important to mention I couldn’t do any of these things without faith, prayer and an intimate relationship with Jesus. That’s what makes risk-taking turn out for the good.