Risk and Learning or Stagnation

Work has been extremely busy lately. The type of busy that starts the day with a sprint and does not let up until the end of the day. I do not say this to boast or complain; I assume, for many of you, your workdays are like mine. For those of you who do not know, I work for a Christian university. Over the past five years or so, the department I am a part of has hit its groove. Every one of the team members works extremely hard, but they also work smart. They get things done. Due to their talent and work ethic, we have seen incredible success build year over year.

The formula is in place, and it seems all we need to do is keep the machine running. Recently, however, our team has been given more responsibility to see if we can replicate our success in other areas of the university. Since December, we have been provisioning systems, building strategies, allocating budget, preparing marketing, hiring, and training staff. We are now at the point where the infrastructure is almost entirely in place, and we are beginning to run. There is one concern though; it is risky.

Just because our strategy has been successful in one area does not mean we will see the same success in another. There are a hundred variables in play. The entire project is a learning process, which brings me to the point of this article. As Christians, once we find what works for us, the temptation will always be to stay in our lane to keep things comfortable. If we have something good going on, why risk with new endeavors? Why push out of our comfort zone and force ourselves to try something new? I believe the answer is because that is how God has designed us.

Our creator has given us certain faculties and attributes that should be in constant use. Like a muscle, if we do not use them, they will begin to atrophy, and so will our wellbeing. Have you ever felt like you are in a rut? It is never a pleasant place to be. One of the reasons ruts happen is because we have stopped learning and taking risks. Even if we have reached great success in what we are doing, if we are not taking risks and growing in knowledge, the excellence we have attained has already started dying a slow death.

Ruts are autopilot, and autopilot pulls us away from fulfillment. I will not drag out this post. Rather, I will leave you with these questions. Right now, what risks are you taking? Whether it be with your career, in loving your family, or in living for Jesus? What deficits in your knowledge are those risks revealing to you, and what effort are you putting in to learn what you need to know? If you have no clear answers to these questions, there is a good chance you are stagnating. You probably have too much mental time on your hands. If it has been this way for a while, you already know that Satan loves it when you are idle because, as a Christian, he can suck the spiritual life out of you using a myriad of temptations.

I do not know for sure if the team and I will see success with our new initiatives, but I know the risk and learning required of us has sent us to our Savior’s feet; the only place to find true wisdom. By trusting in Christ and being willing to adapt and learn, we have confidence we can figure it out. Even though I am running faster than I have for quite some time and unsure of the outcome, the slow death that accompanies stagnation has had to back away. There is a life here not found when things are on cruise control.  As Christians, God has created us with durable souls full of everlasting life, and they come alive in challenges. Embrace the life he has laid out for you. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

-D. Eaton

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