How To Take Risks & Trust God – 4 Guidelines To Follow
We know that you may read the title of this blog post of “how to take risks for God” and think to yourself, “Yes, I totally want to take risks for God!” But, in reality, how do you actually follow through on pursuing risks? 😉 I know, kind of harsh, but we aren’t here to just cheer you on as you follow through on risks that are selfish and, if not done correctly, could put you in a really bad spot that you cannot get out of.
No, we are here to share the process of taking risks, how to take risks FOR God, how to take risks little by little, and 4 guidelines to KNOW when to take the risk or NOT. But, first, let us share a little analogy on what taking risks feels like and we promise we will get right into how to take risks and trust God along the way.
Football Games & Taking Risks
Do you feel like your life is passing you by while you’re in the bleachers cheering for it? Or maybe you feel like you are on the sidelines, prepared, stretched, fully hydrated and ready to go out there and get some of the action? The anticipation can be very overwhelming and it may keep you in your tracks. But something tells you to take a small step and give it a try and to go for it.
When you leave the sidelines, there may be people who “boo” you, or shout discouraging words at you in order to discourage you to turn around and come back to the sidelines where they think you belong. You may have people who are silent, who are thinking loads of thoughts but you may not be able to hear them, but you can feel their thoughts crossing your head.
Maybe one of your teammates runs out there with you but makes a negative comment so that they get the spotlight when the play ends to leave you speechless, angry and unfocused. And there may be some in the bleachers or the sidelines that cheer for you and encourage you to do your best!
All of these thoughts start to swirl in your mind, like who do I listen to? I am not even sure I can do this anymore? The self-doubt, insecurities and anxiety start to set in. Then you hear your coach giving you instructions on which play to run or what to look out for. You start to feel better about the decision you made and those negative thoughts and emotions slowly begin to fade away or they will over take you and you may just end up back on the sidelines waiting and watching for the next opportunity.
So you end up staying out there on the field. The countdown timer seems like it is moving at a turtle’s speed. You close your eyes and begin to think what have I gotten myself into? I could be chilling on the sidelines or on the bleachers right about now, enjoying a hot dog and a coke. Before you know it, the play starts and it blasts off at an unimaginable pace! You are in the thick of it, how does it feel? Maybe you’re not sure yet? Maybe you love it, maybe you hate or regret it? Either way you are in the heat of it until the play stops.
how to take risks FOR God
So what is the point to this long winded analogy and how can it be applied to my life? Well if you read the analogy carefully you can probably formulate it already by doing a little thinking. But if not, that is okay that’s why we are writing this post.
For Lianna and I (David), we have felt like we’ve been on all three sides of the situation of taking risks: being on the back row of the bleachers, being on the sidelines, and being on the field, about to take the risk. What is it like, you might be thinking? To jump into the game despite those who are not for what you are doing? Filtering out the noise of the discouragers? Opening up your hearts and minds to God and those who believe in you?
As we go on with this blog post, the answers to these questions will become evidently clear as you pray throughout the process. And, in turn, you will feel more capable and knowledgeable and begin the journey to understand God and his plan for your life.
As of right now in our current situation, we are about to make a huge life change that in most eyes is not the ideal time due to the current market and circumstances. We had some people who really encouraged us and some who did not. Even our “coach” truly did not believe that we would truly succeed.
This coach that we had was a realist and plainly laid the positives and negatives out for us before jumping into the game. The odds were honestly against us, but the coach did not know that God was on our side and He was there every step of the way in ways that even truly shocked us, the coach, and everyone around us.
Before we made this jump into action there were some strong indicators that pointed the way. But truly our mindset and process was as follows, “Lord, we are going to go out on a limb and take a risk and if it is your will, then make the way possible even if the world goes against us. But, if it is not a part of your will, then close the doors.”
Before we jumped in, we did our due diligence and spent time doing research and learned all we could about what we wanted to do. Overly preparing and praying constantly, we found a mentor/coach to help us and guide us through the process.
Praying and keeping in touch with God, moment by moment of your risk-taking process is so crucial. The reason being is this faithful technique will keep you and whoever else involved humble and be trusting God in each step of the way. This godly risk-taking process can be found in Proverbs 3:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil…” – Proverbs 3:5-7
how to take risks, little by little
I (Lianna) have made it a goal to read more books starting in 2021, and so I’ve read about almost 20 books this year which is a lot for me. The book I’m currently reading now is called, Win The Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More by Mark Batterson, the head pastor of the National Community Church in Washington, D.C.
He starts off the book underlining the importance of burying dead yesterdays to win and live out each day to the best of your ability, while imagining unborn tomorrows. But, the one idea that we all have as human beings towards all the talented and successful athletes that win gold medals in the Olympics: “we excuse the success that others achieve as the confluence of factors they could not control and we cannot replicate…” (p. 91).
So, the author’s main point that he is making is that true excellence is found in mundanity, living and winning in your life, day by day. Not just based on raw talent and they all show up without years of practice, preparation, repetition, every single day, to become who the athletes are today.
So, the reason I bring this up in this blog post in taking risks is this:
The more you live out each day, living for God and His calling on your life, taking each step outside of your comfort level and comfort zone, little by little, you’ll see that you’ve already been taking risks, little by little, by being faithful in what you have, where you are at, and with the same amount of hours we all get.
Batterson highlighted many people with inspirational stories of how they won each day they lived, and one of them was Admiral McRaven. He said this in his famous commencement speech to his alma mater at the University of Texas, which later got turned into a book: “If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” (p. 94)
Does that sound familiar? See the verse below:
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10
The more faithful you are in each day, living for God, reading the Bible, praying, listening for His Voice and guidance, staying faithful in your field, learning, self-educating, and growing, the more equipped you are to follow through and be faithful on the big things, like taking risks & following in the dreams and visions that He has placed in your heart. Even though those ventures and challenges may seem completely crazy and risky to you and the people in your life, God will help you make it happen, despite how scary and fearful you may be.
Encouragement to take risks
This reason that we wanted to write this post and how it’s been in our hearts are due to us two really putting ourselves out there and have been taking some risks lately. And, honestly, the Lord has really shown through in amazing and mind-blowing ways.
Everyone can easily tell a friend, family member or spouse to “Go for it” in whatever they want to do. However, when you’re the one actually going for the risk, it’s a whole different story.
We do think that yes, it is important to take in advice from people that you trust (which we will get into further down in this post) but it’s also important to follow through on what God is calling you to do. And, it may not make sense or seems too risky in everyone’s eyes, but not to God. He can do big things like they are the most tiniest things. He is always moving and up to something behind the scenes in your life, but you have to be willing to take the step of faith and go for it. Faith without action or works is dead. (see James 2:17)
And, yes, we know how scary this can be – and it feels like you are falling. Even when it does not make sense or is logical. Or seems like it’s the worst possible timing. Or when everyone says no or maybe you should rethink this before you do this.
And, in reality, we can talk about our fears, what holds us back, and how people have discouraged you in your own decision and putting yourself out there all day long. Identifying it and creating a plan to tackle it. Maybe it’s a big risk financially. Maybe it’s your fears of trying something new. Maybe it’s stepping out of your comfort zone. Maybe you want to please the people in your life.
But, want to know the real tough truth? All that time spent trying to figure out what’s holding you back from taking risks could have been spent *actually* taking that risk. Ouch. We know because we have been there before…
Check out what Ecclesiastes 11:4 says,
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
If we are not willing to try and take the risk, always watching the wind and clouds for that right time or in fear, then we will never try, plant, or reap the rewards (or failures) of taking that risk.
Here’s a little tip for asking for help: When asking for advice or an opinion on taking a risk, it’s wise to ask multiple people you trust rather than relying on only one person’s constructive criticism or advice. Simply not asking for help at all. When you open up to more than one person, you are going to get different views and opinions.
However, if the views and opinions are all consecutive and somewhat similar, then you are on the track. But, if there are opinions and suggestions that are mostly to not take the risks, then the risk or action may need to be reevaluated, planned out better or be scrapped for another time. Some of the greatest men and women that walked on this earth surrounded themselves with the best counsel of the times. There is wisdom in applying this into our own lives.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Here are some guidelines to see if a godly risk is worth venturing out for or not:
1. When the dream of taking that risk becomes very strong & clear
There are some key indicators that the risk will become more clear and concise before you actually start to take it and run with it.
Whatever you do, you can not seem to stop talking about it or thinking about it. It comes up in casual conversation without even trying.
There will be signs that lead you to specific risk, like baby steps. Things, events, or the right people will seem to fall into place.
As you follow the indicators or baby steps that God has brought before you, your mind set of the risk will start to change as a goal or challenge instead of a risk.
2. When the opportunity to take the risk presents itself over and over again.
This is a good one that is almost hard to believe without God. Have you ever had a thought and may have mentioned to someone, then a short time later that opportunity of the risk opens up over and over again. We have a great story of one of our close friends from church and how God came through. She wanted to attend this school, and she had looked into it and mentioned it months back. Later on, she met a married couple where one spouse went to that same, specific school and they made a call and just like that, she was sent an application to apply.
Our friend was sharing her story of taking a risk for God, to go to that specific school that she dreamed of going to, and how God brought the right person into her life to help make it happen. It was an absolute God moment for that to happen and the opportunity of the risk kept on presenting itself to her until she made a decision to go for it and not to look back.
3. When you have struck the balance of wisdom & discernment and just going for it
What we mean about this guideline is there is a balance of having wisdom and knowledge and actually just going for it. For example, for us, we made sure we asked the right people and the companies that we are affiliated with to ensure that we had the means to venture out on the risk we wanted to take. David also has the background knowledge and first-hand experience in this new adventure, so that is another reason why we were more confident to go for it.
We also strongly support asking mentors, people in the related field, and people you trust on what they think about this risk you want to take. Of course, be sure to have all your research and information in case they ask more questions before they give you their full advice and constructive criticism.
Please hear us when we say this: do not pursue a risk that you’ve had in your heart BEFORE you do your due diligence, research, see if it’s right financially, ask for advice, and more. We do not want you to ever pursue a risk if it’s a bad risk for your life, your family, and your future.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30
4. When the risk follows through without so much effort and the doors are being opened.
This is an important guideline because it reveals whether or not God is a part of this godly risk or not. I’ve heard so many stories from people in my life that have tried taking risks for something that God overall did not support.
For instance, there are people that I know that proposed to their boyfriend/girlfriend without asking for God’s approval or even praying about it or asking their trusted people in their life. Soon after they were all engaged, all of these problems popped up and every issue in the book got in the way of the wedding planning, slowing everything down.
Then, family members and friends would ask, “Are you sure you want to marry them?” or just straight up say, “I don’t think you both are right for each other – why don’t you reconsider it?” which can be super harsh. But this can reveal that this future marriage is not meant to be and to take a risk on – God is pointing out all the signs which are saying, “don’t take the risk”.
But, we know that in our life together, every godly risk we took went flawlessly and almost without effort, for everything came together perfectly. But, every idea and dream we had that was not approved by God did not go as we planned or failed.
The point to remember is when that happens, we do not feel too defeated even though you may be discouraged and let down. But, on the flip side, God is protecting us from a risk that He did not want us to take. Ultimately, God is sovereign over us and has the best plans for us, even if we do not understand it or we wouldn’t have chosen it.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
In wrapping this blog post up, we just want you to know that whatever God has placed in your heart, whether it is a dream or a vision or just a little thought, He can help you make it happen. But, it’s important to remember that we have to have prayer in the entire process. In fact, prayer is one of the most crucial part of our relationship with God, so begin to implement prayer in your life today, and God will show you what to do.
Even if you do not know what to do, God will help you and guide you with His Word and with His Spirit. Like we said, take risks, little by little, by getting out of your comfort zone, for each day that you have on earth.
Here are some helpful posts & episodes if you want to get started on figuring out your God-given mission, so you can take advantage of each day to the its highest potential (click on each one to check them out!):
Thank you for reading,