Safety vs. Impact

At our house, we can all mouth the last few phrases of The Mister’s prayers……”Keep us safe.” Perhaps as the protector of our household, our safety is never far from his mind. He often laughs when I ask him if I can run down a beautiful country road, “Are you crazy? Someone would snatch you up and we’d never see you again.” is his stock reply….as if anyone would want to keep me after they got me in the van. He is endlessly frustrated with the women in his house who leave the doors and windows unlocked. It’s a difficult job looking out for these Welch women. I guess he knows that asking God for additional backup in providing safety for us is not such a bad idea.
Interestingly enough, I read a wonderful blog post by Jen Hatmaker in which she write about the perils of raising boys. I suppose if The Mister had to look out for a man-child he would have by now driven himself crazy.
It caused me to think however, why do we hold safety in such a prized position and does it hinder us from having an impact?

I suppose that depending on the place in life you find yourself your answer varies. If I am asked that about myself I may say yes, whereas for my child, safety trumps all. And so this week I wrestle with the notion of….do I play it safe at all costs and does  security cost me dearly?

Does my desire to secure my status with my friends cost? Does my desire to see my children “happy” with a husband two children and a house behind a picket fence cost them a God ordained destiny?

Of course there is a difference in living radical and reckless. There is God ordained and there is carelessness but does my comfort in knowing my place and playing my given part silence the wonder of being a part of something WAY bigger than me?

Does my desire to lead accepted spiritual life of Sunday morning worship in a brick church with familiar rhythms and patterns snuff out the wonder of soul-shaking moments of witnessing Spirit movement?

Do I make decisions based on what brings the least amount of conflict instead of what brings the most glory to The Greatest Risk taker of all times? The odds were great that most would reject this precious gift, but there is no risk when the payoff is eternal.

Playing it safe has it’s payoff….longevity, security, peace….sometimes…. but not always. We all know the one who played it safe and still lost it all or died too soon.

So maybe the point is not in playing it safe but strategizing instead the greatest impact. This means walking away from what seems safe, what people expect of you and instead embracing risks.

And on a day like yesterday where we celebrate a great risk taker, Martin Luther King we see that he indeed left safety behind to pursue justice. He even prophesied his own death in his last sermon, hours before his assassination with these words:

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. *

*taken from John Piper, Desiring God.

Forever I know The Mister will be concerned with my safety and that of Baby Girl and Big Girl. That is his God-given responsibility. I will smile when I hear him pray “…and keep us safe.”,  because I know that God intends to make us impactful.


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