When You Just Want To Stop Playing It Safe

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Do you struggle with comparison? With fear that you aren't doing it all right? Do you hedge your bets and play it safe because of fear? Maybe it's time to be set free and live life as the mom God himself could only imagine for you.

I never wanted to play it safe. 

In those rare minutes when the noise of life is quieter than His whisper against my insides, I welcome risk. I want adventure and a life-rush that might empty every last drop of me and dreams that keep my eyes open during otherwise-normal days. I'll take the threat of danger, if it means I get more of Him. I want unconventional, even when it's coupled with the prospect of clearing my bank account or my fuel tank or my carefully planned schedule.

Yes, even with my children in mind, when life is still and my pulse tells me He is near, I'm Caleb and the giants are small. 

I never wanted to play it safe, no not even as a mom. And I don't want them to play it safe, either. I've lived enough life to know they can't live with both a deep sense of Him coursing through their veins and a white-knuckled grip on their circumstances. I want them to sing (even through tears) if the house burns down and to clear their savings if He nudges them and buy a one-way ticket to China if He asked.

But there is one sneaky thing that tries to keep me tethered to safety, that tries to keep my life --and theirs -- small.

It's not her, but it's how I see her and what I do with what I see.

You know, that other mom.

Some days she's the one with two children and whose hands are manicured and clothes are pressed. And other days she's the one with seven, starting foundations and changing the world while teaching her 1 year-old to read. Some days it's the fifty year-old whose children are all launched as worship leaders and bible smugglers and pastors. 

She's a moving target, that other mom.

What can start as a harmless (and necessary): "hey, tell me what you've done that's working" -- a leaning across your chair to another's "would love to learn what you know" -- can turn into a "why isn't my world more like yours?"

Comparison blinds the observing eye.

In a world where things like our neighbor's dinner prep and our girlfriend's daughter's swim meet and our cousin's trip to the pumpkin patch are all available for us to see in a three-minute time span, our eyes are our most precious commodity. 

They were designed to look at One thing. (And, from there, surely not to play it safe.)

When I reach for what's easy -- a longer-than-necessary look at my neighbor's successes -- it's really because I haven't tasted how good it is to look at Him, that One Thing. 

And yet when I look at Him, even for just a little longer than my flash-pot attention span is accustomed to, my eyes get emboldened. 

Mama's, our fight to keep our son's eyes pure and our daughter's eyes satisfied in their-own-sized jeans, not another's, might not be as significant as our own fight to look long at Beauty.

Today my filter for my own heart is this: when I look at Him, my life expands. My dreams and my vision for my family get bigger and my heart pumps faster. I lean into risk. I'm bold with my words and my actions. I love well.

When I look next to me and down the street and across the pew, longer than the minute or two I need to celebrate Him in another person, I inherit their vision. For them, it may be stunning, but for me and my life and my family, it's limiting.

So today, mama's, the charge isn't: put down your phones 'cause you'll miss their first steps or close your computers because of the image of life you're giving your children when they see you behind a screen. The charge is this: claw your way to His Beauty, if it means over top of the laundry and through dishes and at 2:47pm, amid strewn backpacks and assignments. When you get there and look at that Man whose eyes have been gently on you all day and who has that knowing nod of a steadfast friend, I promise nothing else will look as good.

And from there, surely you won't want to play it safe.

For Your Continued Pursuit: Psalm 27:4 | Psalm 42:1-2 | Luke 10:38-42, especially 42

Sara Hagerty

Sara is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the expanse between the United States and Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. And out of the overflow of this perplexity, came her writing, both on her blog and in her book – Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet .