By chance.

Take a chance.

Give someone a chance.

We hear it all the time. It is how we cover up for feeling called to do something or to show love authentically. We hide the true motivation inside the glossy charm of chance. It makes us feel safe and perhaps, calculated.

A chance sounds like something temporary and not long-lasting in the slightest. Usually followed with the junior high, peer-pressured saying of “What could it hurt?” This question is meant to be simple, but it is sly. If you are opening yourself up to a chance and have nothing to lose, why would you do either?

Showing up in good times is easy. Good times are fun. A celebration of all going well. But showing up in hard times can been seen as taking a chance. Your comfort zone may be rocked, and your vulnerability limits may be tested.

Time after time, when I have taken a chance and truly showed up in my life for good or bad times, it has changed me. I change from being an assuming by-stander, who, let’s be honest, can be a judgey-mcjudgerson when not fully engaged, to someone trusted and more aware.

We get tricked into the easy life that we may have or that we may so desperately want. That kind of life doesn’t take chances and it doesn’t grow. Why? Because chances can mean getting hurt. Disappointments. Feelings. Loss. Pain.

Since Easter was just celebrated only a few weeks ago, it makes me wonder if God had just taken on life in the flesh as a chance. Of course not. God wanted to experience chances, live like us and feel pain we all have known.

When we become intentional of our decisions and time, and open ourselves to including others, we learn that everyone — even us — deserves a chance. Taking a chance on one another truly means taking a chance for ourselves to be more like Jesus:

• Feeding the hungry — no matter the situation.

• Caring for children — no matter the assumption that someone else will.

• Including the elderly — no matter if we are too busy.

• Accepting whatever privilege we have and using it to come alongside others — no matter the differences.

• Remembering those who grieve — no matter how they seem to be doing.

A prophetic writer recently passed away on May 4. Rachel Held Evans, 37, was one who took chances. She would want us all to be more like Jesus. Take the chance to lessen the hurt of others and in turn help heal ourselves.

In Rachel’s book, ”Searching for Sunday,” she says, “Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed, it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken and enacted in the presence of other people. I was reminded that try as I may, I can’t be a Christian on my own. I need community. I need the church.”

So, what are you waiting for? Will you get hurt? Yes. Sometimes.

Do it anyways. Start taking real chances. I dare you.

Kristin Wooldridge, who works in the Office of Student Life at William Jewell College, wrote these remarks for students at the Liberty High School baccalaureate, taking place Friday, May 17. Wooldridge submitted the writing on behalf of the Liberty Area Ministerial Alliance.

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