I Am Definitely Not an Adrenaline Junkie!

You can call me a lot of things, but adrenaline junkie is not one of them! I have an irrational fear of most things that adrenaline junkies love. I have no major desire to bungee jump, helicopter ski, parachute from a plane or swim with sharks. I have noticed that as I have grown older, and especially once I became a mom, these things are completely off my radar. I have nothing against those who live out their wildest dreams – that is totally your right and prerogative. It is just not something I can pull myself to do.

I have never been one to take many risks. I do not remember being a daredevil as a child. And, as an adult, I try things at times just so I can spend time with my family. For instance, I am not the biggest fan of snow skiing. There is just something unnatural to me about speeding down a mountain covered with ice and snow with something bound to your feet. With nothing more than a helmet to protect me, I am flying projectile down a mountain that often times have both natural and man-made obstacles in the way. My boys, on the other hand, enjoy skiing. They do not get to do it that much, but when they do, they have a blast.

I know my irrational fears often keep me from experiencing the natural beauty that surrounds us. For this reason, I am grateful for gondolas! This technology allows me to get a perspective that used to only be reserved for skiers and snowboarders. I know that my irrational fear of drowning and claustrophobia prevent me from experiencing the beauty that lies beneath the water in the ocean. I can say, however, that I met this fear head-on one time and one-time only when I scuba-dived in Mexico more than a decade ago.

And although I may seem like a scaredy cat to most, my biggest fear is that my aversion to risk taking will keep me from seeing the world abroad and the fascinating things and people that inhabit this wonderful Earth and fulfilling the purpose that God has called me to. I also do not want to be stumbling block for others to fulfill their calling, which includes their own level of risk taking.

My youngest son is pretty fearless – more fearless than either of my other two children. My irrational fears and risk aversion have not worn off on him….yet. Although he had never stepped foot in a boat on a fresh water lake, this past summer, that boy tried wakeboarding the first day on the lake and waterskied on the second day. And, he was only 4 years old at the time!
I was like, “No way, momma is not trying that stuff. Do you know what it would mean if I got injured????” Apparently, my freak-out response rubbed off on my daughter…she had no desire to try. I have moments of regret about that because I can see how I may have contributed to her missing out on an opportunity to experience what it feels like to glide on water. She is way more athletic than me and probably would have been awesome.

I realize that people are watching me. I realize that risk taking is often a part of life and a part of what Jesus asks us to do when he told us to, “Pick up our cross and follow Him.”

I think some of the biggest risks I have taken so far in life are: 1) packing up and moving to Dallas without knowing anyone, without a job and without an idea of where to live, 2) enrolling in seminary and 3) starting my blog.

My move happened when I was in my early twenties. It seemed like a huge risk at the time, but I was young and fear did not resonate the same way it does now. Worst case scenario, I would have failed and had to pack up and go home. Best case scenario, it would be a great risk with great rewards. It turned out to be the latter. I met my future husband and as a result, have a beautiful family.

Some may not think of enrolling in seminary as a major risk, but for me, it was. I felt completely ill-equipped. I was a church-goer, but I was limited in my understanding of the Bible. As far as I know, we have no pastors in our immediate family so I am a first generation seminary trained woman in my family. I felt completely out of my league at times. There were people enrolled in my classes that had been pastors for years, chaplains, missionaries and children raised in Christ-centered homes. To say the least, it was intimidating. However, I knew that God had called me to be there and that He would, through the Holy Spirit, equip me with what I needed to succeed. That risk also paid off. I interacted with people I would have not normally ever come in contact with. I was able to openly share my faith with people as they asked me, “What do you do?” and it is but just a springboard to the many opportunities that lie ahead.

And lastly, my blog is a huge risk. Recently, I had a site that featured one of my blog postings. It was not a Christian site. The person who ran the site wrote a small blurb about me and my blog based on what was on my blog. He said that my blog was “a little too religious for him.” I sort of giggled at that when I read it. I am glad that he got Jesus out of my blog. That is my goal. Is it risky? Yes, because not everyone I know or come in contact with is as deeply in love with Jesus as I am. Will I be persecuted for what I write? Perhaps. Will people think I am one of those “weird Jesus people?” Maybe. Will people in my own family think I have completely lost it? Perhaps. Am I okay with all of the what-ifs? You betcha.

I do not know how many risks I will take in life from this point on. I can probably say that there may not be a ton of risks that will be the adrenaline-rush risks that thrill seekers take. But, I am completely committed to taking leaps of faith that are often wrapped in risks so that God’s glory may be revealed in my life and the lives of others that I will come in contact with. The Bible is full of people who took risks, even women, during Biblical times.

Esther saved the Jewish nation. Judge Deborah went to battle. The woman whose son died went directly to the prophet Elisha. Mary said “Yes” to carrying a child. The woman at the well shared her encounter with Jesus with her village. And on and on. (And yes, there are some great risk-taking men too!)

If any one of these women had decided that the risks were too great and walked away, their story would have been much different. Not only that, their inaction would have greatly impacted the lives of so many.

I want to be known as a woman that takes God risks – big, bold, faithful, expectant God-ordained risks. Not just to appease my own adrenaline rush or fulfill a bucket list, but so that others may see God’s glory in and through my life.

Only Jesus can give me the courage to overcome my irrational fears. Thank you Jesus, in advance.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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