When risk is risky

It’s ‘Five minute Friday’ time, joining with Lisa-Jo Baker.

She gives us 1 word,

we write for 5 minutes flat – no backtracking or editing, throwing caution to the wind.

Check out others’ five-minute offerings by clicking on the button below.


This is my best five minutes on ‘Risk’.

Danger Cliff Edge

I’m playing Russian Roulette with my health at the moment.


I’ve had a week where I’ve enjoyed seeing people, I’ve spent time blogging. But I’m still in recovery from the recent exertion of going out to see the baptisms. I have mornings where I get up and I feel faint and dizzy. My battery feels like it’s running down faster than ever.


I’m still in denial at the moment. My instinct is always to just ‘go for it’ – take the plunge, risk it – it’ll be worth it. That’s how I’m wired, and it’s what society proclaims through a megaphone. Try every experience. Live for today. Just do it.


The trouble is that M.E. doesn’t know that risk is supposed to be rewarding. It doesn’t operate according to my wishes. My body has its own rules.


Sometimes risk is…well, risky. Sometimes it’s good to push ourselves, but other times it’s foolish to push the boundaries. Sometimes that’s what boundaries are for – to stop us going further.


I feel more acutely than most my limitations and boundaries, but we all have them. Some are inhibiting (like unnecessary fear), but some are actually healthy (like not standing too close to a cliff edge.)


How do we know when it’s good to push ourselves, take a risk, or whether pushing ourselves might just lead to a fall?


Over to you:

  • Are you risk-averse or do you like to take risks?
  • How do you know when to push yourself beyond your ‘comfort zone’ is a good thing, and how do you know when your ‘comfort zone’ is there to protect you?


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27 Responses to When risk is risky

  1. imperfect prose 26th June, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    praying for you, friend, for wisdom, for God’s healing touch, for peace.

    • Tanya 29th June, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Thank you so much for your prayers.

  2. Ian 24th June, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    Interested in your thoughts as I work in a Risk Function of a large organisation in the UK.

    Risk for me is about the chance of an outcome occurring (apparently the “lifetime risk” of contracting cancer is now 1:3) and also the severity of the outcome – e.g – benign / malignant, Treatable / Not Treatable etc, so when I talk about taking a risk I see this as considering both the outcome probability and the consequences….

    You have to weigh up both, yet we dont and many people take risks (such as smoking) knowing (Because the Government told them) that smoking is bad for you – it causes cancer, and it could kill you….

    Couples have unprotected sex and risk pregnancy – but is pregnancy and having children a negative outcome – as a father of 3 children (Albeit planned) I would say no, but for some people that may not be the case.

    I would say – look at life as being full of opportunities and take as many of them as you can – some will work out well, and some wont – but from experience, taking risks often leads to a better outcome providing they are in line with God’s will for your life

    I have a friend with arthritis, who knows that by doing particular things that she will end up in pain, yet continues to do these things as they bring joy and blessing to others – The reward exceeds the cost.

    Jesus took the ultimate risk for us, which led to death, yet through that death, others (You and I) can have salvation…… worth it? I think so

    • Tanya 24th June, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Hey there – great to have a perspective from a professional risk manager!

      I’m thinking through whether or not Jesus ‘risked’ things – it’s hard to say, because of course being God he knew the outcome of his actions. So he knew that going to Jerusalem would result in his death, and he knew that would bring salvation for us. It was sacrifice, and the ultimate one – but was it ‘risk’ in quite the same way as we experience risk? I’m not sure.

      Re: your friend with arthritis – that experience sounds very similar to Tim’s previous comment about risking his back to hug his children. I’m in awe of people that will experience physical pain in order to bring blessing to others (I guess that’s very much in line with what Jesus did). My illness is a little trickier to manage from that point of view – it’s not just the pain worsening but the muscle paralysis, and overexertion could bring permanent deterioration rather than just temporary, so the stakes are slightly different. (That doesn’t stop me from daily forgetting that the stakes are so high and just wanting to DO stuff!)

      It’s really interesting that you say that we should take every opportunity (which makes me think of that verse in Ephesians – make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil). I wonder if opportunity is different to risk? I think that’s quite a helpful perspective to have – to be weighing the risks but grabbing the opportunities – that seems like an excellent balance to have.

  3. Tim Carlisle 23rd June, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    I note that I am the first man to respond. What I don’t know is whether my response is different because men are different or because I’m different or a bit of both. For me if I know there is a risk involved I’ll tend to assess the risk. That is both the chances of the bad scenario from the risk coming into play, and the severity of it. So for instance at work, it may be a risk to do something but I’m more than likely to take the risk for the potential financial reward (to the company not me) that will come from it – if you like I’d prefer to roll the die and see what I get than to play it safe and watch the boat slowly sink – but then I back my judgement on something being worthwhile.

    The closest I come to you physically is my back and shoulder – whilst I am in pain every day, I can manage that by not doing too much – that doesn’t generally mean not lifting something heavy – that is fine as long as I do it right – what it means is not lifting for long. So I have to try to make sure I don’t carry shopping from town home by foot, I have to make sure I have meds as soon as things look a bit dodgy or I know I have four or five days of excruciating pain ahead – I’m really bad at doing this because I want to push through and it’ll be ok (right?) but then I’ve never taken pills – thankfully I have a wife who spots the symptoms and gets me to be sensible.

    BUT it also means that I can’t carry my son much, he’s six months and these are precious times – so my wife ends up carrying him a lot – but sometimes I know I may pay later but I want to carry him around, I to be close to him and so I do it, rarely but I do it knowing it could cost me – but the ‘reward’ is too great.

    • Tanya 24th June, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Thanks Tim – really interesting thoughts here. It’s made me ponder about how often we make decisions about risk with our ‘head’ or our ‘heart’. I noticed that your very logical weighing up about risk and the effects (which sounded like an excellently wise idea) was much easier to apply to a work situation than whether you should walk around carrying your son. I know this well – it’s hard to remember the ‘what are the possible pros and cons here?’ thoughts when your heart is stubbornly whining ‘but I really WANT to!’

      I think this is a battle that I experience frequently – my heart and emotions are always wanting to do more, but my head and experience tell me this is unwise. Sometimes (like in the case of seeing the baptisms) I just do it and hang the consequences! But I can’t afford to do this very often.

      If it’s any help (which it probably won’t be…), whenever I am wanting to hug my boy I do it sitting down. It’s surprising how often we stand when we could be sitting (don’t know if that’s worse for your back or better though…) The reward of making the most of these precious times though is indeed great – definitely with you on that. 🙂

  4. Tricia Whittle 22nd June, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Also having M.E. I completely understand and sympathise. Risk taking for me is like you with the Baptisms, you have to weigh up whether your desire to attend something is worth the risk of spending weeks in bed, completely devastated physically and mentally.
    My sisters don’t understand when I try to explain. They point out I’m not doing anything else so what does it matter if I spend all that time in bed 🙁
    I’m fortunate to have a wonderful husband and sons who see the effect these outings really have on me.
    On a more positive note we have to be grateful that we at least can do these things from time to time unlike others with this condition or some other long term illness.
    I hope your energy levels increase soon. Tricia

    • Tanya 24th June, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      So sorry to hear that your sisters are quite so dismissive. I know that people find it hard to understand but still… Glad that your husband and sons understand – that counts for a lot. It’s difficult to decide which things are worth the risk of days/weeks in bed, isn’t it? And yes – I am so thankful that I still get to choose my own risks, rather than being bedbound and unable to make any sort of choice. Like you, I am so thankful that my M.E. is not as severe as some. Thanks so much for using some of your energy to stop by here! Blessings.

      • Tricia Whittle 24th June, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

        Praying we both make wise choices this week about how we use our energy <

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