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STORY: Taking Risks to get out of Dark Places

Like most people who win the lottery, Jessica’s life became miserable. She became unpleasantly entitled and very few friends or boyfriends stuck around after they got what they wanted out of her fortune (too ashamed to face her after their greed overtook them).


But at least she was left with a nice house with oppulent amenities. It had state of the art LED smart lighting in every room, but her life in it was very dark. She spent most of her days looking for a TV show she wanted to watch, and being grumpy at how people are all pretty much selfish.


About half of her days, she didn’t even get out of bed. Her butler brought her meals she asked him to cook for her.


One day she had asked the butler to come but was too lazy to put on clothes as she was walking around. Plus it had been a long time since someone had put desiring eyes on her. She watched closely but he was very disciplined to keep his eyes on the floor as he set the tray on her nightstand. He bowed to her and went out. This guy valued something else in life than immediate pleasures. What else was there in life?


So that evening she made sure she was fully dressed when he came back in again. He knocked and glanced at her as he came in. He put her dinner on the table and turned to leave.


“Dan, wait a second, please.”


He turned and faced her politely.


She asked, “What gets you out of bed in the morning?”


“Well, your breakfast, Ms. Jessica,” he smiled. She rolled her eyes.


He appened, “Nah, I know what you mean. I think I get my worth by serving. It fills me up, one might say.”


“Serving people sucks. They just take things from you.”


“It is an acquired taste, I suppose.” He folded his hands behind him but then, scrunched an eyebrow. “Well, actually, it’s not exactly people I am serving first.”


She waited for him to continue until she finally blurted out, “Well, who?!”


He struggled with how to say it and not sound crazy. “I… kinda give God little dares. Like I ask him to tell me things to do. I don’t always hear right, or sometimes it’s just too crazy what he asks, but when I do, it’s pretty fulfilling.”


“That does sound crazy,” She looked back at the TV. “I haven’t gone to church since I was a kid.” “Oh, I don’t go to church either anymore. They aren’t super eager to have more divorced 60-year-old men. And I was kind of a basket case for like ten years anyway. I wouldn’t have contributed much.”


“You were? Why?”


“Oh, mine was because of the divorce. I was kind of like you, wasting my life away in front of the TV.”


“I can’t believe you’re talking to me like this. Don’t you know I can fire you?”


“Yes.” He smiled, then added, “This is actually what I mean. I asked God to let me help a sad person, like I had been, and I told him I would do what he told me to do. I saw your ad and felt like he wanted me apply for this… and also to say that just now. Kind of crazy, but exciting, right?”

She was staring at him. “Yeah, I guess so.” A moment later she said, “So what pulled you out of your pit? The thrill of doing things that could get you hired, and then fired?”

“Basically.” He seemed perfectly at peace and in fact eager to see where the conversation was going. “I was a lawyer. I had tons of money- set for life. But no friends after the divorce. So I didn’t have much to lose by doing stupid things God was telling me to do. Now it’s just fun watching what will happen.


“Wait, so you aren’t even a butler?”


“Good thing I know how to cook, at least, right?”

“And you don’t need my money?”

“Guess it makes me a little more okay with saying honest stuff when God asks me to. You have the benefit of that too. When you have everything you need, you can risk a lot. I mean it’s probably worth it if it will make you less miserable, right?” After a silence she asked. “So what would you say I should do?”


“What do you want?”


“Another million.”


“No you don’t. And it doesn’t work like that. Let me re-phrase: what does your heart long for?” He waited, then glanced at the TV. “Here, turn that off.” He took the remote from her hand and pressed power. “Now listen really hard. What hurts you?” She hesitantly closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and shuddered.


“It’s okay. Lean in. This felt like an even more risky part for me, at first. Can I put my hand on your shoulder?” She nodded and he set a kind hand on her shoulder. “But it makes everything better.”


His hand felt like a father. She began to sob. “This feels horrible.”


“Joy comes a bit slower than pleasure.” After a moment he added, compassion filling his voice,


“What is it your heart wants, Jessica.”


“I want to be reunited with my mom again. And my sister.”


“That would be a lot better than a million bucks, right?”


She nodded.


“Okay now,” he started tenderly, “Listen to what God is asking you to do. It’ll probably be a little scary. But it’s a good scary. It’s that threat of something so scary and so good which had the power to get me out of bed each morning."


“Send her some flowers? She loves stupid cactus flowers. That’s what came to mind. But I can’t do that. She really hurt me!”


“Oh, I’m sorry, Jessica. That’s really hard. Stuff for strangers is a lot easier. But you can do it.”


She waited a long time, shuddering breath, crying with her eyes closed. “You’re sure it will get me out of this bed?”


“I don't know, but it can at least get us out of here right now. I’ve seen cactuses at Pike Nursery up on Piedmont.”


She finally looked up at him and asked, “Is your accent even real?”


“I’m from South Africa.”


“I knew you were too nice to be British.”


“I resent that. I was a really mean lawyer.”


“Well, now you’re my chauffeur. Go get the car dude.”


“He smiled and nodded. I’ll meet you in the garage, Ms. Jessica.”


---


When we have everything we need: a job that supplies, friends that we can maintain, enough extra time to watch several episodes of TV each night, then we probably also have enough that we can take some risks. What little risks can you take that God is calling you to do. It will be things that you don't want to do, but do feel right.


Probably first it will be making a seemingly undeserved effort to love on someone you have beef with. Then maybe it will be cutting back on some of your little indulgent pleasures.


If you're feeling an apathy in life right now, try walking into an adventure with God.

If you don't give it a shot, I don't think you can blame God for letting you feel stuck anymore.


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