Risking Growth

Yesterday evening Dave and I attended the wedding of the daughter of friends of ours. It was lovely ceremony and celebration.

The officiant was a Presbyterian minister, whose address to the couple spoke beautifully of some of the gifts these two young people bring to their marriage, and the challenges they would face. But the line she spoke that kept coming back to me was a very simple one: She spoke of marriage as requiring a willingness to risk who you are for the sake of who you could become.

Isn’t that the risk we face in all change, in all opportunities for growth? Invitations to change, opportunities to grow, by definition, always require us to risk who we are for the sake of who we might become.

And that makes change and growth a bit frightening. Who we are is comfortable. Even when we are not fully satisfied with our situation, our environment, ourselves – we become accustomed to the situation we are in. Changing that seems unsettling. Even more so when things seem to be going well. Why upset the apple cart? Why fix something that doesn’t seem to be broken?

But to fail to grow is to fail to thrive. It is to accept being less than our true selves. (To quote St. Irenaeus, “the glory of God is a human person fully alive.”)

To thrive, become fully alive, we need to step out of our comfort zone. We need to risk who we are for the sake of who we might become. Time and time again.

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