Running across that electrifying line rarely has an effect on me. Sure, crossing that line leads me into the unknown and it sometimes even starts with that unpleasant reminder of what I am leaving behind. My split-second decisions and my leaving no time for contemplation leaves me chasing dreams, goals, pursuits, and ideas only partially aware of the outcome. This danger, the unknown ending, the rush of adrenaline, and the excitement of being free in the moment drives my life. I will be the first to admit it; I live for the risks, the chaos, the unknown, the curve balls, and anything else crazy in life. All of that put together? I am one dangerous person to hang out with.
But, after slowing realizing that I am in fact dangerous, I began to wonder what kind of dangerous I am. What squirrels to I end up chasing? What does each electric shock truly represent? Who am I taking such risks for? And what do I do with those unfortunate squirrels once I catch them?
There are so many times that I end up chasing items, goals, desires that are either not meant for me specifically, or not meant for me as a child of God. My heart has a way with running away from the me I want to be, with seeking things that are not really what I want to live for. I can be as risky, as assertive, as impulsive as I want to be; but, if what I do is not for the Lord, if what I do is not guided by His Word, it becomes worthless. My goals must be committed onto the Lord if I can even hope to watch them succeed (Proverbs 16:3).
That is the bottom line, the foundation that my risks must be based upon. But, let's take it a step up now. I can commit my actions to the Lord; I can commit any right action to the Lord, but they will not always succeed. My lack of contemplation with the tasks that I often dive into may be seen as a bad thing, but it can be a good thing if taken correctly. In one of my favorite quotes, Donald Rumsfield states:
Success tends to go not to the person who is error free because he also tends to be risk adverse, rather it goes to the person who recognizes that life is pretty must a percentage basis. It isn't making mistakes that is critical, it's correcting them and getting on with the principle task.
While I do have successes, my lack of evaluating all sides of an issue does lead to more mistakes that some may say could have been prevented. But, I have found that it is not through my successes that I learn the most. When I fail at something, not only do I have a drive to do better next time and exceed the last outcome, but my heart learns more lessons than it would if I succeeded. I learn humility, selflessness, perseverance, forgiveness, knowledge, etc. But even more pointedly, I might have missed out on this learning opportunity if I had taken days to evaluate all angles; I would have missed out on a radical decision that may have seemed to cost me more (when in reality I gained more); I would have missed out on excitement; I would have missed out on risk.
However, let's step up even higher while talking about risk. What kind of risk are we talking about? We already know godly risk, willing to accept mistake risk; what are we missing? Courage vs. stupidity. This is where it gets tough. There have been so many times when I start out thinking I am being courageous only to find out at the end, it was really stupidity. The line between the two seems thin and impossible to distinguish. But, C.S. Lewis decided he may be able to clarify it just a bit:
Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
When I first read this quote, it completely went over my head; what a perfect item to really study in that case. I finally began to truly understand what he means. Courage is not separate from anything. Courage is apart of every good thing, every thing that is pleasing to God. Everything we do that defies the Devil and our human nature demands courage. We do not just up and do it.
Risk, boldness, dangerousness, and chaos all evolve into a totally different meaning. What I may call risk is more likely recklessness. What I call boldness is more likely confrontational. What I call dangerous is more likely deadly. What I call chaos is more likely an absolute mess. That is what my lifestyle truly represents if I chose to let those words define me. But, the key to living a dangerous lifestyle, to crossing that electric fence and chasing squirrels, is seeing and portraying it as not a separate characteristic, but rather one that is incorporated into everything we do for Christ. It may not seem as enjoyable or crazy sounding, but trust me, it is a lot more radical than anything I could conjure up on my own.
Will I be the dog that crosses that fences because I desire to be bold in Christ's love? In Christ-like virtues? In Christ-like attitudes?