The Problem With Reducing Risk.

I’m a cautious person. I will set boundaries and make up rules even when none exist and there’s no need for any. I do so because I have this ingrained belief, at times, that something could, or is going to, go wrong. As a husband and a father I tend to use my energy to reduce as much risk as possible. However, this can create huge problems!


I was struck by a paragraph I read, the other day, in the book Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. He says this:

Most men spend the energy of their lives trying to eliminate risk, or squeezing it down to a more manageable size. Their children hear “no” far more than they hear “yes”, their employees feel chained up and their wives are equally bound. If it works, if a man succeeds in securing his life against all risk, he’ll wind up in a cocoon of self-protection and wonder all the while why he’s suffocating.

I had to re-read this several times and allow it to sink in. Immediately, I found myself examining my own life. I replayed recent interactions I’ve had with my children when their adventurous spirits were getting “a little too out of control,” and I asked them to stop before something broke. I mentally went back to a few moments when my wife wanted to maximize the free time we had but I was too busy worrying about work issues or whether the checking account was balanced.

Instead of fully engaging in the life of my family, over the years, I’ve spent so much time worrying about safety and security. Will we have enough money? Will everyone stay healthy and safe? Will we survive the dark days of life?

I’ve turned down my daughter’s request to dance in public more times than I can count. When my son wanted to use a pile of scrap wood in the backyard to build a tree-fort last summer, I said no because, “there’s just no way we could accomplish that using that type of wood.” “We need a plan,” I argued, “we need the right type of wood, we need time. We don’t have any of that!” You should’ve seen the look on his face. It haunts me to think about it.

We are always in search of a plan aren’t we? We are always claiming that “there’s not enough time.” We tend to say no to our children or our spouses way more than we say yes. I know I do.

So my question is- why? Why do we do this? Why are we so afraid of risk? Why are so fearful of living life to the fullest? What’s stopping us? What’s stopping you? What’s stopping me?

There are times when I look at my life and wonder what happened. What happened to that 22 year old college kid who would’ve dropped everything and taken a road trip to Wyoming just to say he did it? What happened to that 12-year old boy who used to romp and roam, barefoot, and care-free on hundreds of acres of land? What happened to that man who threw caution to the wind, danced in the rain, sang at the top of his lungs in public, or bounced off the walls because his favorite band was coming to town?

Do you ever wonder about your life like this?

Please understand, I’m not saying that I want to return to age 22, or become a 12-year old kid again. And I’m not advocating carelessness or irresponsibility. I’m challenging lost adventure. I’m taking a moment to check my own life, and evaluate what’s most important against how I’m actually living. I want to live every moment of life to the very fullest that I can.

Truth is, I love my life. I love it a lot! I feel so incredibly blessed to have the family I have, the wife I love, and the friends I cherish. I bet many of you feel the same way. If that’s the case, isn’t it time we start taking advantage of the moments we’ve been given? Isn’t it time we throw caution to the wind, stop worrying about all we have to get done or whether there’s enough money, and invest fully into the lives of our spouses, our children, and our friends?

Isn’t it time we stop reducing risk and just go for it? Isn’t it time we live?

Question: Have you found yourself worrying to much about trivial things? Have you told your children no more than you’ve told them yes? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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