Did you ever think that perhaps the main thing standing between you and your dream is courage?

Courage is the ingredient that helps us embrace risks that we’re otherwise unwilling to take, which is why your dream is still a dream, right?

What keeps me from taking risks is fear.  Sometimes fear is healthy, but often it’s not.  And when it comes to parenting, so many of us harbor fears about our kids.  We feel protective, but sometimes we allow our children to take so few risks that they will never learn firsthand what courage is.

The problem is more complicated because North American Christianity is peppered with prayers for safety, comfort, healing, lack of adversity, abundance and protections. Usually we teach our kids to pray that God would take them out of difficult situations.  What if we started asking God to lead us into a difficult situation?

I’m convinced that if people in biblical times lived the way we lived and prayed the way we prayed that history would be very different.  In fact, the Bible might never have been written because the stories would be too boring.  Who really wants to record the details of lives aimed at self-protection?

Standing between dream-fulfillment and the status quo are things like lions dens, burning furnaces, prisons, sea crossings, ark building and crucifixions. Heroes and even those who are simply obedient always muster the courage to embrace risk. The way we smother our children, they might get to see God’s power like that because we would never let them.

If that’s true, we might never teach our kids to really trust.  Courage can develop faith at a deep level, because to risk is to trust.

You are going to spend today doing something.  Why not encourage your child to take a risk?  Maybe you shouldn’t start with sky-diving off the second story roof, but I can only imagine there’s something in every child’s life that is worthwhile but is not safe, like:

Trying something new at the playground that currently frightens them.

Signing up for the course they likely won’t get an A in but that will stretch them.

Going on a mission trip (yes there are diseases and risks and plane rides and….).

Dealing with the bully by breaking the silence and talking to the teacher about it.

Befriending the child at school nobody likes and risking all their social currency in the process.

You and your child are going to spend today doing something.  So why not spend it taking some risks?  In the process, you might discover courage to trust at a whole new level.  And some dreams – even some of God’s dreams – might get fulfilled in the process.