cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Playing It Safe

This may seem contradictory on the heels of Monday's post. Too bad.

Do you know that there are companies who sell helmets? I'm not talking about bike helmets or football helmets. I wish I was. There are actually helmets for babies to wear so they don't bump their precious lil' noggins while they're crawling around (eating dog food and who knows what else off the floor). There are slip-proof knee pads for new crawlers (can you see my eyes rolling?). These two products are the most ridiculous "safety" items I've heard of. There are countless products designed to keep babies and kids safe. I dare you to Google it. 

By the time we suit them up with all this safety gear, they won't be able to move. 

Call me a minimalist. We cover the outlets and teach our children which cabinets and doors they are allowed to open. 

Before a bunch of people start coming to the defense of their favorite safety item, let me state that I willingly admit there are situations where minimal safety precautions would be grossly inadequate.


This preoccupation with safety is a symptom of a much greater sickness. We're creating impenetrable safety nets around ourselves, our families and our ministries. My and my family's safety comes before anything. I don't stop for hitchhikers because they might be serial killers. I don't volunteer at the homeless shelter because they're unpredictable. I don't want my teen to go on a mission trip to Mexico because there are drug lords roaming the streets. 

Catching my drift?

It's a slippery slope, friends. Pretty soon we're contented to merely survive this life and be able to retire comfortably. We're not doing the hard business of loving. Do you know how elusive service projects are for kids of all ages? My oldest daughter is barely old enough to help on-site at a few ministries in our large city. We've been turned down for much-needed volunteer positions because my girls would need (and I would want them) to come with me. Even in our ministries we've placed precautions above gospel-passion. 

The result? We are suffering from a self-inflicted paralyzation. A widening age range of people don't know how (and don't care to learn) to serve outside themselves. Safety and comfort are all they've known. Instead of hands-on love, we've relegated our "service projects" to promising to pray for someone and cushy mission trips in which the highlight is going to Disneyland and the beach. 

By the time I suit up myself and my family with all the "safety gear", we are unable to move for the Kingdom.

 Abandoning the constrictive safety nets does not necessitate abandoning common sense, but we need to recognize that Jesus doesn't always work within the confines of common sense.* Last I checked Jesus was a risk-taker. It's rather convenient to ignore that little tidbit from the Bible. By nature, I personally am not a risk-taker. I'm a consider-the-worst-case-scenario kinda gal. I get nervous when I think about my children riding Ferris wheels.** But I should not let my fears dictate the gospel. And neither should you. 

Can we begin slicing though the safety nets and watch what God can do in a life lived outside restrictive safety?

Scissors In Hand,

*I'm pretty sure Jesus is OK with fire extinguishers and similar apparatuses.
**I'm a work in progress, people.


  1. Oh yes girl, let's cut those nets! I honestly think this is why we aren't in a conventional ministry position right now.

  2. Thank you for posting this - very refreshing! We do not baby proof (even outlet covers are used sporadically). People think we are crazy when we divulge our dislike for baby proofing. Because we intentionally parent we take the time to train the children beginning when they start to crawl what things are acceptable to touch and what are not. This also teaches them to exercise self control from a young age. And yes it is hard work but it pays off when I go to another person's home and do not have to worry about my children getting into their cupboards, fridge, or toilet! I even deliver my babies at home because I feel that hospitals have so many precautions and safety protocols in place that they are actually harming and placing more mothers and babies in danger (I recommend the documentary "The Business of Being Born"). Every little daily correction we teach them is building them up so that they can productively serve within the Body of Christ later on. I like to think that I am actually serving Jesus as I teach my little ones not to swim in the toilet! =)Yolanda

  3. One of the hardest things I ever did - and that I got a LOT of criticism for - was to not only *let* you go, but to encourage you to go with Teen Mania to the Zulu Nation in Africa. After teaching our kids to follow Jesus, we then have to not only let them follow Him - we have to encourage them to follow His lead. The hard part is watching Jesus lead our kids to scary places. Hopefully I will be so busy going where I am sent that I will only have time to dish out a little more encouragement!
    And, no worries - I survived all the outlets (no covers), hot irons and ironing boards, no seat belts, wringer washing machines, red food coloring, and both a crib and a play pen that would cause most of today's parents to faint. Oh, and the bassinet - in the back seat of the car... Some of the new safety things are nice, but some of them just leave me shaking my head and wondering "who thought that one up...". Great post!

  4. Nicole, It's hard to be in a conventional ministry position if you're living radically. Sadly...

    Yolanda, I've heard fantastic things about that documentary, but I haven't made the time for it. I need to check that out!

    Mama, thanks for taking the heat for me. It was a wise parenting decision. :)

  5. Just the other day I read about Jesus healing a leper. He did something unheard of in his day. He touched the man. He didn't seem to worry about catching anything at all.

  6. I wouldn't have had it any other way! Scary as it was, I knew it then and I know it now. =)


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