“Stand back,” the man behind the counter instructed me. “Hold out your cone and I’ll throw you the scoop of ice cream.”
People in the ice cream shop fixed their eyes on me as I focused on the man behind the counter. Knowing my lack of hand-eye coordination, I knew I was taking a risk. Everyone in front of me had opted for ice cream served to them in a cup, but that day, I decided to live dangerously.
All Of Us Want To Live Meaningful Lives
“The abundant life is not a comfortable life, it’s a meaningful life,” wrote author Donald Miller in a recent Facebook post.
Nor is it a pain-free life, I might add.
Reflecting on an uncomfortable (to say the least) summer filled with disappointment, frustration, and pain, I think I’ve gleaned at least one gold nugget that I hope to carry with me into the future.
While on vacation in another state, our family was trying to make the most of the week, despite the fact that my wife had broken a bone in her ankle. We were renting a house on a large lake and whiling the day away water-skiing and tubing.
A family that joined us had four children. One of the kids pursued his passion for fishing while two of the others learned to water-ski. One kid, however, did her best to avoid any activity that involved risk or the potential for pain. Occasionally I was able to coax her into riding on a tube behind our boat—but she jumped off whenever I drove too fast or too crazy.
At first, this girl’s pursuit of the safe, pain-free life irritated me. But then I began to realize that she isn’t alone. In many ways, I tend to live like her. Perhaps you do, too.
I think the solution boils down to living scared.
If You Want A Memory, You Have To Risk Something
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” Eleanor Roosevelt once said.
Obviously, we shouldn’t live every day paralyzed by fear, as I discussed in a previous blog post.
But living scared means taking risks. John Ortberg once wrote a book entitled “If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat.” Too many of us want memories of walking on the water without taking the risk of dipping our toes in the water.
What does it mean to live scared? For me it means planting a church–which I did four years ago with my good friend Eugene Scott. It means working at becoming a better water-skier, standing up to someone who intimidates me, or sharing my faith with a friend. It also means the possibility of dropping my ice cream on the floor.
In the end, I caught the flying ice cream…sort of. After it hit my shirt, I wrestled it into my cone. Walking to my table to join the family, I sat down with a feeling of accomplishment–and the chocolate stain served as my trophy.
No longer do I want to live scared.
What does it mean for you to live scared?
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:1 (NLT)
Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. His most recent venture into living scared was volunteering to provide leadership for a local school district mill levy and bond issue.
One note: The Daily Bible Conversation blog is shuttering its doors at the end of August…at least for now. The blog has run its course, so Michael, Eugene, and Brendan will direct their energies in other areas. Beginning September 7, Michael will begin a new blog entitled “God Meets Culture” at michaeljklassen.com.