There are times in life when, whilst riding shotgun, we’re sorely tempted to push over and take back the reins from the stage driver. At times this is necessary, but oftentimes we either don’t need to or we don’t need to do it so overtly.
Using the Wild West analogy we’ve perhaps agreed with God that we’ll ‘ride shotgun’ leaving the driving of the stagecoach to the Holy Spirit.
Why then do we retrieve the reins?
There are many situations in life where we feel that if we don’t take control now we’ll lose the ascendency or, worse, we’ll actually get to pay dearly for our situational timidity or ambivalence.
Yet, it’s faith that’s so very often cloaked in the garb of taciturnity. It’s faith that goes beyond the conscious mind that screams out, “Act (or react) now!” Faith orders and vindicates our restraint.
The Psychology of Experience (Times Two)
There are two forms of experience useful in this present discussion. The first is the actual experience of relations with our fellow human beings, and the second relates to the acquisition year after painstaking year of learning that we now apply, usually for our own (and others’) benefit. The latter is our substantial experience of experience.
It is not too far a leap to call this latter experience “wisdom”.
The latter ‘experience’ explains our reticence to barge into china doll shops riding a rodeo bull. Fifteen times bitten, twenty times shy.
Yet, how do we ‘strap on’ such experience to save us the heartache of learning?
Unfortunately there’s no short and easy answer to that one.
Enters the Risk of Not Risking
We’re more normally, by default, risk-takers.
This is most certainly true of our general approach to life—we don’t like to go about things the long, or standard, way around. We rather love finding the shortcut or the ‘more efficient’ way. We eagerly throw our instruction booklets back into the empty box so we build our flat-pack furniture ‘our way’. In the process, as irony would have it, we’re often found paying double and triple the cost in terms of rework.
This risk-taking anomaly is illustrated also in our communications. The trouble is our rapport with people all too often reaches the level of ‘preciousness’ or precociousness and we find our bull-through-the-china-doll-shop approach readily backfires.
Much needed and long-gained trust and respect is lost in one foul swoop; perceptions are forged that very moment, and these are not that easy to shift once they’re set. We like to think we’re a forgiving lot—humankind—but the truth is we find it incredibly difficult to bury the hatchet or forget a significant transgression.
Let me get to the point.
The key, perhaps, is learning to take a different sort of risk.
It’s risking to lose. It’s the risk of not risking. It’s more cautious and highly prudent, and willing to ‘cop’ a loss rather than risk putting the status quo at jeopardy. This method has a longer term reality sharply in focus.
This is not a timid play, but one involving much wise restraint.
It’s remarkable what we can find God doing as a result of such faith. But it must be experienced personally to be believed.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.