RISK! It’s a scary proposition.


RISK! It’s a scary proposition. Especially when you’ve risked and been hurt. Whether it’s a failed marriage, a broken engagement, unrequited love, being lied to, cheated on, or simply ignored, we’ve all felt the exquisite sting of opening our hearts with trust and hope only to have expectations betray us and be left picking up the pieces.

But the trick lies in how we pick up those pieces. Too often in trying to make some sense of the hurt that has befallen us, we conclude that the only course of action is to put up a wall. We go into protection mode during the healing process. This is normal and perfectly understandable; it’s even healthy…for a time. But when we conclude that we must keep that wall up, and that the world and it’s potential relationships are threatening and fraught with almost certain pain and rejection, we stop healing and start to cut ourselves off from much of the joy in life. We shut out (or at least greatly subdue) love, romance, connection, fun, twitterpation, etc. We even cut ourselves off from the opportunities to find these things.

Sometimes we shut down or shut off because we make a blanket determination that people can’t be trusted, or that relationships equal pain. Sometimes, we conclude that we must have poor judgment to have let the hurt happen in the first place. Some even feel that they attract bad relationships or are simply fated for heartbreak. Whatever the reason, we begin to close off our hearts to avoid pain. We figure that if we can just analyze every step and predict every outcome, we can avoid ever hurting again — or at least as much as we once did. We fool ourselves into believing that if we shut off our hearts and use our logic, we’ll be safe.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is something far worse than being hurt in a relationship again. It’s far more dangerous, destructive, and tragic. It’s become an epidemic among the mid-singles in the Church, and it’s only getting worse. The one thing worse than being hurt again is never risking. When we don’t try to love again, and try to feel as passionately again, and try to exercise faith in the opposite sex, or in God’s plan for true love, then we lose an essential part of ourselves. We allow part of our heart to die. We lose part of what makes us human and part of what makes us divine. And losing these parts only diminishes the other good things in our lives we want to keep.

Sure it’s scary to risk, especially after we’ve been hurt. But risk is a requirement in any thing we hope to gain in life. Whether it’s a business investment, reaching out in faith to God for a blessing, trusting another human being, or any other endeavor, nothing is ever gained without risk. For those who seem to find themselves trapped in a pattern of “bad investments” that lead to heartbreak, they should probably not risk until they’ve spent a little time identifying and resolving some issues. But they shouldn’t conclude that eliminating the risk is the way to happiness. Nor should anyone else.

It is true faith that allows us to put the past in the past and move forward with a “perfect brightness of hope” toward one of the most important endeavors we can be engaged in here in this life — the love between a man and a woman that leads to eternal glory and fulfillment.


By Christopher Esseltine



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