Monday, October 15, 2012

Security in Adventure, Change as Life

Last week, I began a new class called "Leading Through Crisis, Conflict, and Change."  This is the kind of stuff I simply thrive on.  The first thing we talked about was this quote:

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power (Alan Cohen).

There has been a lot of conversation around these words.  What do you think?  Some people disagree heartily with the last sentence.  They don't find security in the adventurous and exciting because they have a different idea of what security looks like.  For them, security looks like a big, soft sofa with pillows and comfortable blankets. Or maybe it looks like a fortress where nothing that is unknown can enter.  Maybe security looks like the same routine every single day. Wake up, go to work. Come home, eat supper, watch television, go to bed. Next day, same as the first.  Cohen says when things are no longer meaningful, security doesn't really exist.  It's an illusion.

God, as Creator, made us in His image. If we, like Him, are continually creating ... we can't be stuck in the same place.  He gave us imaginations and creativity so we wouldn't continue to do things the same way over and over so that they become meaningless.  There is no security in the meaningless.

I watched a lecture on Ancient Greek History yesterday. The speaker talked about the Spartans.  These people did nothing all day long except train for the next battle.  They had massive amounts of slaves who took care of their every need.  They had differing levels of these slaves as well.  Some managed the business of the city, trading and farming; others managed the households, taking care of every need.  Now, these slaves were furious. They did not like the lives they were forced to lead.  The speaker then compared this to the antebellum South and slavery that was in place there.  Why am I telling you about this?  Because every single moment of the lives of both the Spartans and the Plantation owners involved, at some level, fear of an uprising by the slaves.  Their security was based in slavery and yet that security was an illusion.  There was no real freedom, even though they acted as if they had everything they wanted.

This is the same stranglehold I believe a false sense of security has over us.  We are enslaved to the status quo, to the sameness of our lives.  We live in pain because it is familiar. Anything that might be unfamiliar is set aside and ignored because we might have to do something about it.

Yesterday's leap from the stratosphere by Felix Baumgartner thrilled me.  Even though he experiences claustrophobia and was scared to do that jump, he took the risk.  He crawled into a capsule that carried him 128,000 feet into the sky.  For him, the sky was no longer the limit.  For us, the sky is no longer the limit.  He changed the way we look at the skies. He did something so completely different than nearly everyone else on the earth.  His security is in the adventurous and the exciting.

I will never leap out of a capsule at 128,000 feet, but I will find my own adventure.

So, I've been thinking about what I believed security felt like.  For a long time, I would have said that it looked like my Father.  He took me / us on some risky adventures, but because He was there, I was secure in knowing I was safe and he could take care of anything.  As I grew older and understood my relationship with God more, I transferred a lot of that sensation of security to Him, knowing that He was taking me on some risky adventures ... things that stretched me, caused me to live a bigger life than I probably would have preferred, taught me to look at challenges through His eyes ... on and on.  All of the time, though, I counted on the fact that if I followed him, I was secure.

You see, It is His plan in my life and it will never be safe as long as I'm prepared to be fully alive.  Security doesn't look like safety.  Security looks like adventure ... it is exciting, there is movement and life, there is change and there is power.

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