Risky Behavior (The Good Kind!)
T. Suzanne Eller

"Peter said to Jesus, 'If it is You, Lord, tell me to come to You on the water.' Jesus said, 'Come!' Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.’” Matthew 14:28-29 (New Life Bible)

A long time ago I took a risk with God. Opening my heart to Him meant that I would be vulnerable. I had learned that if I stepped outside my carefully constructed walls, I could be hurt. Was I willing to let God past those barriers? Letting Him in became a first step in a life of risky behavior - the good kind! My mantra – the beat to which I marched – became “do it afraid.”

God had plans for me that I could never imagine. If I could go back in time, I would find a young girl sitting outside on a curb, afraid to go back into her home because of the chaos. She was hurting. She was angry. She wanted to run away and never come back. I’d wrap my arms around her and tell her that God loves her. That He had plans for her life that she couldn’t even imagine. I’d tell her to take risks.

It was a risk to become an author. It was a risk to become a speaker. But there were other, more personal, risks that came first. It was a risk to believe that I could have a loving, safe and fun family. It was a risk to break free from the entanglements of my past and embrace who God intended me to be. It was a risk to take the mask off and be myself with others.

Every time I took a step outside my comfort zone, I grew spiritually. I discovered God’s destiny rather than operating within the limitations of my own experiences. I discovered a powerful truth along the way: When we take calculated risks, we discover talents and facets of our personality waiting to be developed.

But Suzie, what if I put myself out there, make myself vulnerable, and wind up getting hurt? Fear can be our largest obstacle to stepping out in courage. A step of faith might not look like success to others, but every risk can ignite more courage. But still, what if I fail? Take time to consider the other “what if’s?” …

-What if you live in authenticity and discover new and lasting relationships (even with those in your own home)?
-What if you face your fears and overcome them?
-What if you unmask your emotions and actually deal with them?
-What if you tell your secrets and they no longer suffocate you in the hidden places of your heart?

Step out of your boat, as Peter did, and discover who you are and what you can do as a child of an amazing God. It’s a calculated risk, and it’s worth it.

Dear Father, I am climbing out of the boat today just like Peter. I hear Your truth instead of the voice of doubt and fear. I trust that You know me as my Creator. Help me to take a baby step today toward You and my destiny. Thank You for reaching out and helping me walk on unfamiliar and exciting waters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller

Visit Suzie’s blog

Application Steps:
Write down this word in five places where you can see it throughout the day: ANTICIPATE

(Begin to anticipate what God can do in your life.)

It is important to differentiate between a calculated risk and risky behavior. Risky behavior—the bad kind—is anything that goes against Scripture or that has the potential to physically or emotionally harm you or your loved ones.

A calculated risk:
o Is planned and has a specific goal in mind. (I want to be a speaker, so I will go to a training conference, take a course, connect with others with the same passion.)

o May cost you something (thus the word “risk”), but you’ve weighed the cost vs. the benefits and the possible advantages are worth it.

o Is trying new things, exploring talents that lie dormant, and reaching out to new friends.

o Is believing that you can be accepted and valued for who you are.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 1:19-20 “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe in Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (NLT)

© 2009 By T. Suzanne Eller. All Rights Reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the marching orders, Suzie. I often allow fear to keep me from moving forward, but I've tasted enough of the amazing life I have when I embrace the dreams Jesus has for me to know that I don't want to miss the ride...it ROCKS!!!

Miss all you boomerbabes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you,

I feel God was speaking directly to me this morning. Thank you for being his conduit. I do not want to miss all that He has for me. I want to hear the call He has for my life. To make a difference for His kingdom here and now. I also grew up in a home with chaos. I do not want that for my young children and I rely every day for the Holy Spirit to transform me into a new creation so they will see Him through me. God bless you and the Proverbs ministry.
M. Tobey

Blogger anonymous said...

God spoke to me today through you. I am in the process of being interviewed for a job that will take me - by myself, no husband, no kids - over 1000 miles away from my family and my church family. Just this morning I was driving to work and telling God about this nagging fear I'm having about the possibility of making such a drastic change in my life even though I can see so much potential good to come out of the situation. I asked my God who knows everything to help me view this opportunity with very open eyes and to choose the very best path for me. It's still scary but knowing God is in control let's me be more comfortable about the possible coming move.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suzie, I love the part where you encourage us to consider the "other what ifs"...!!! Rarely do we have that conversation w/ ourselves or God. Phenomenal idea and one that I look forward to putting into practice!

Sweet Blessings on you day!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, ladies. I love hearing from each of you. Hey, we are having a fun little giveaway at my site. Come check it out. http://tsuzanneeller.com

Blogger Tulabell said...

T. Suzanne Eller, the paragraph below has really spoken to me in a most recent experience I have had regarding my "comfort zone."

"Every time I took a step outside my comfort zone, I grew spiritually. I discovered God’s destiny rather than operating within the limitations of my own experiences. I discovered a powerful truth along the way: When we take calculated risks, we discover talents and facets of our personality waiting to be developed."

Yesterday I approached a man who looked homeless and hungry. I was entering the drive through of a fast food restaraunt and he was walking slowly right by my side, he would often look at me as he walked. I knew God was prompting me to give to him, I didn't have any cash on me but I still could have asked him what he would like to eat...but no I didn't dare roll down that window and feel uncomfortable. God gave me an even easier chance just after that. As I was just getting my food the man was entering the restaraunt right in front of me - I had my window already down from taking the food and I could have just simply handed him the food. But I didn't. I felt terrible after that, worse than I would have if I had went outside of my comfort zone. I wept in the parking lot of my work after I ate and asked for His forgiveness.

I am a newbie in my walk with God and so I knew what I was supposed to do but didn't dare! I am glad you too have felt that same way. I know I will grow once I do start going out of my comfort zone. I guess the first time is all it's going to take. God forgave me though. I am not sure why, He made it all very clear to me as well as putting it all together so perfectly. I hadn't planned on even stopping at that particular place until the last minute. I failed to take the chance. Next timevhowever I will know better as I am still getting to know the spirit and how it moves in me. Please pray for me to be more obedient.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I was also reading a portion of "If You Want to Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat" by John Ortberg this morning. The part I read this morning was about fear and not letting it keep you from what God is calling you to do. I definitely think this is a clear sign that I need to be focused on Him, because he is calling me to do something Great for Him. I see God is trying to get it through my thick skull to give me to similar messages in the same morning.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for putting yourself out there. I too grew up on a home where I did not know what expect when I walked through the doors. Honestly I adopted my friends families. Now that I have my precious son I never want him to experience that kind of uncertainty.

Now that I am older I have an additional family, my brother and sisters in Chirst. How wonderful is that? There is a stirring within our church. I sense great things happening. There is a stirring taking place within me too. One I cannot ignore. One that will call me to step out of the boat.

Thank you for reminding me that the doubt and insecurity that stem from my childhood do not define me. I am so much more than that as I step out of the boat I will not be alone.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear and anxiety have always been dominant in my life. I always seem to be looking back and not forward so this was very helpful to me. I am putting ANTICIPATE on the cards and trusting God to look and move forward as I hold on to God and His Word. Thank you, Lord, for this devo.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I had a dream about a risky person that I know God has placed in my life. He has told me just as clearly as He can (without audibly speaking) that I am to reach out to this person, even though she is a lesbian. The risk is huge, and Satan always attacks me by saying that I am risking my family. But I have to step out in this, and I desperately need all the prayers I can get. Thank you for this very timely devotion!

Blogger all4him said...

I've just signed up today and just want to thank you for this devotion this morning. I battle with fear due to low self esteem...but I do trust God and I'm getting better!! :) Thank you so much!!

"Every time I took a step outside my comfort zone, I grew spiritually. I discovered God’s destiny rather than operating within the limitations of my own experiences. I discovered a powerful truth along the way: When we take calculated risks, we discover talents and facets of our personality waiting to be developed."

I loved this part as well, but have a really difficult time with feeling disappointment in not really getting my hoped for results.

I feel sometimes like I am doing this, but with no tangible return. I have faith that God has a plan for me and He knows I am doing what He called me to do, even if no one else acknowledges.

So my question is how do you re-evaluate to make sure those risks I am taking in trying to reach out to other women, trying to give my heart authentically, and trying to move forward with those dreams God has placed on my heart are the RIGHT risks when nothing seems to work out?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week I spoke in the Chicago area. On Wednesday night I bombed. Honestly, I was surprised I didn't hear whistling sounds and see flashes of light. Half-way through I realized it wasn't going the way I wanted. I was prepared. I had prayed. My heart was in the right place. When we don't see results, or worse the results aren't what we hope, it may cause us to want to run back to that safe place where we don't put ourselves "out there", but this is what I do know: If I do that, then I stop growing. Maybe your steps won't result in affirmation or the results you hope, but it's still a step! I've taken enough steps now that one bad night or a negative result isn't going to knock me backwards. I will evaluate. I will see if there's anything I can do differently, but I won't stop taking risks. So, my answer to your great question is you keep taking them, you keep learning about whatever it is you are hoping to do, you stop every once in a while and make sure that the Boss is in on your dreams and goals and that you are on track, and you gain confidence. Not in your efforts, but in who He is and what He is doing in your life. We are a results-oriented society, but most results are going to be very small, building one act, one step, at a time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thought. What we believe to be a "bomb" or failure might appear very differently to others. We tend to be very hard on ourselves as women. I share the story of speaking in Chicago because the next day I spoke to the same church and it was a "smashing success". But it's not about me or the affirmation. It's about running after what God has for you, whatever that role might be, large or small in the world's eyes. : )

Blogger Jacqueline said...

This is the first time I've clicked on this link and because I am a crafter myself, I really loved the first part about Ps. 139! Amen.
Thank you for sharing!

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