Learning to play the guitar was one of my goals in my early 20’s. Perhaps it was possibly because I was slightly enamored with the cute single instructor. But I borrowed my grandparents old guitar – the one that must have been purchased at a discount chain because it did not have a recognizable name or even a very good sound. Then I practiced. Sort of. Maybe for a week or two. Within months of this ambition, I met my husband who plays guitar beautifully. Listening to him strum out lovely melodies certainly involved less callouses. Less time to try to be good at something that did not come naturally to me. I gave up the guitar.
Today is my Dad’s primary election – the day he finds out if he will continue on in the state legislative race. Before you stop reading, this is not a post on why you should vote for him, although I could certainly come up with PLENTY of reasons. Neither is this a post on why you should get out and vote, although that would also be a worthy topic. Instead this is my thoughts on the value of taking a risk.
When I asked my Dad why he decided to run for state legislator, he said that if he chose not to run, he would always wonder what would have happened. He would have always wondered what if … To him, the risk was worth it even if the results are not what he was hoping for. Regardless of the result, I am proud of him for campaigning and for trying to make a difference in his state.
I am not naturally a risk taker. (I didn’t earn my nickname “Snowplow Queen” for nothing!) Recently I tried out to be a part of an event. I didn’t make it. That result bothered me more than I anticipated. In fact, I began to wish I had not bothered – that I had not put myself out there. I began to wonder if maybe I just didn’t pray about it enough as if God is a magic genie who only responds with enough persistent rubbing. Where is my faith if I cannot accept a “no” from God as willingly as a “yes?”
Now that I am getting older, the opportunities to put myself on the line are actually becoming less frequent. With my kids, they are happening all of the time, whether the issue is playing time on a sports team or trying out for various auditions. As a mom, I want to figure out how to support them without promising them the moon. That is one thing I always have appreciated about my Mom – she always had an encouraging word for me and never hesitated when I would mention my desire to do something. She has continued to live this out with my Dad – supporting him as he pursues his dream even though that means that she does not see him as often as his calendar has definitely been much fuller.
If I think about life lessons that I want our children to understand, one of them is that to take a risk is worth it. Even if the results are a bit painful, there is truth to the statement that you will never know if you try. As I look back on my life, I can see how God used failure in my life to redirect me toward the paths that He had intended all along. If I had not tried other directions, I think I would have been less clear of my calling.
The results of today’s elections are in the hands of the people for about another 9 hours. Yet ultimately, God is in the One who is in control. Our family may need the reminder of that tonight if the outcome is not what we hoped for, but yet since we have committed this endeavor to God, I think we will feel at peace. Regardless of victory or defeat, I know that my Dad will grateful for this season of campaigning. And I know that I am glad that my children have seen firsthand that taking a risk is worth the effort that is entailed.