Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)
TITLE: Full-grown Courage
By Marilyn K. Smith
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Ryee was eight and had been raised in a home that you could say was very unique. Her parents were very conservative folks and brought her up to take care of herself. Nature and all-natural ways of living were of utmost importance. Ryee and her siblings helped grow and harvest a family garden, took care of animals and were responsible for all their own school work (which often didn’t get completed). She could run and jump and win any race on the playground. She could round bases during a baseball game like a deer—graceful and very fast. Ryee loved life—all life—dogs, unkempt and smelly—cats—wayward and scared. She loved bugs, trees and sunshine.
Ryee was beautiful like a flower but tough like a weed! As her teacher, she often exasperated me. She didn’t listen and wanted her own way. She would fight any boy any minute over anything, especially when that boy was her twin brother. Once I turned around to find them on the floor of my classroom in a full-fledged confrontation. Hurrying over to stop the fight, I demanded, “Stop! What in the world are you fighting about?” She said to me with a stubborn look, “He took my pencil off my desk!” The angry, but now humbled brother said, “I couldn’t find mine so I borrowed yours for a minute.” In her eyes he had thrown down the gauntlet.
Of course Ryee was a student that brought more than her share of upheaval to the classroom but in a strange way, I found myself envying her! I was brought up in a “Southern” household where girls never fought. I was taught to be “lady-like” and well-mannered. I never argued with my parents, tried to obeyed them the best of my ability, always did my schoolwork and was polite to my teachers. However, something inside of me always wanted to be a free-spirit and do the things deep inside my soul—not harmful, ugly things, but things that would surely have brought a surprised look to my mother’s face and a scowl to my father’s.
I grew up with an admonition of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” and “better safe than sorry” but it’s difficult to live that way and still be what a Christ-follower should be. Christ calls us to take risks. I was warned not to talk to strangers but Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 NKJ). Jesus admonished, “Don’t worry about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink” (Matthew: 6:25 NKJ) but I was taught to “be prepared” and “save for a rainy day.” My parents were certainly Christians but they were from a generation that encouraged safety and reserve and one of the things you did not do was bring any sort of “disgrace” to the family. It was a fairly safe existence until you made a mistake. When you did, terror reigned. So you stepped lightly and took few risks.
My parents were good people and I know that they were trying to help me avoid any calamity in my life. They wanted the best for me. However, now I know what was missing. Grace was not a part of that existence. Sadly, I did not understand that until adulthood. It has been a valuable lesson learned in my life. Grace makes freedom possible and freedom makes taking a risk not so risky. Grace brings forgiveness and forgiveness restores. Furthermore, when you take a risk for the name of Jesus, courage to risk more and more becomes as natural as your next breath. And courage, full-grown, enables you to risk it all, like our Lord.
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