I pick up hitchhikers. I know, I know, it’s not safe. Believe me I’ve heard all about it. I’ve even had an experience or two that told me I wasn’t on the brightest side of things. But I have rules for it and try to be smart. Each time was a calculated risk, and so far it’s worked out for me.
I did have to drop one guy off sooner than anticipated when he kept talking about all the ways a woman could get hurt by picking up hitchhikers. But other than that, it’s been relatively safe.
That’s why when I overheard a stranger trying to order an Uber and having no luck, I offered him a ride. He seemed harmless enough, and my friend Micki was on the way and said she’d go with me. It was a risk that seemed prudent to take. The poor guy actually needed to get back to the hospital. He’d signed himself out under the doctor’s protest, so he could visit his kids. And I believe God had our paths cross.
I’m not a risk taker. It takes me forever to submit my stories to publishers. I shy away from opportunities, and in general, I stay to myself and don’t venture out much. But lately, I’ve been trying to take more risks.
There’s a sign on the wall in my office that says, “Where there is no risk, there is no faith.”
And I’m starting to think that some of the risks I need to take have to do with not just giving strangers a ride but getting to know them, asking them questions, and being willing to not be liked.
I live in a tiny Christian bubble with Christian friends, Christian music, and a very narrow landscape of possibilities to show a stranger the love of God. Secretly, I tell myself my stories and blog posts will do it for me. But I think I’m missing something. I’m missing the other side of the story. Their side.
Originally, this blog post was supposed to be about community and how we are created to live in community and how we need each other. But then I got to thinking about what my community looks like, and I realized it needs to get bigger, be more diverse, entertain differences, and appreciate more.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a wonderful community. The other night I sat in the midst of a group of friends and felt profound gratefulness to just be with them, hear them laugh, share their stories, and share their hurts.
But now, I’m taking risks and expanding my community. I’m making new friends. They like different music than me, read authors I’ve never heard of, and don’t believe the same things I do. And some of it scares me. My imagination is strong, and serial killers are sneaky. But so far, I think I’ve chosen well. And I realized something. Faith actually means looking to God and trusting him in these ventures, not just taking the risk, but trusting my Father God.
My hope is to grow as a person and be a friend– a real friend to someone who doesn’t know the depths to which God has gone for them. If in doing this, my feelings get hurt or I face hard questions, I know God will help me. We’re not alone as we forfeit the comfort of our bubbles. No matter what, God never leaves us or forsakes us. Walking in faith means trusting him with my friends and my future. It is not hiding, being careful, and pretending not to see someone else’s needs or listen to their different point of view.
Giving rides to hitchhikers probably isn’t the best way to make new friends. And picking out people who are just like us isn’t good either. It’s time to hear new perspectives. Judge less, listen more, and risk getting to know someone who doesn’t look or think like me.
I should have probably written about my book. That’s the smart marketing thing to do, but I hope these words encourage you on your journey. THANK YOU to everyone who helped make my launch a HUGE success!!! I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness for YOU!
And if you’re interested in reading about a girl who desperately needs to escape the bubble she’s in, check out my new book For the Good of All!