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.