Taking a Risk
by Joanne Ellison

Good morning,  Making Space for God friends! I have been thinking about something for the last few days. What if I choose to take a risk and then I fail miserably? I am embarking on a new season in the life of Drawing Near Ministry and we are in a time of great transition. At first I thought that it would be so much fun to shake things up a bit and then the reality of moving our Thursday morning Teaching & Worship Experience to another location began to sink in. Truth be known, I didn’t want to leave the comfortable “nest” where we have been for 17 years.

So I decided to talk to God about it….

And listen….

It became very clear that the Lord’s hand was in this change and the purpose was to spread our wings as a ministry and reach women in other parts of our city. As I began to pay attention to the Scriptures that the Lord laid on my heart, and the people who spoke wisdom, I realized that risks, ordained by God, are always worth taking.

The question is: “How do you know when God is asking you to step out in faith and take a risk?” There are some signposts that help us discern God’s will.

  1. Romans 12:2 exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern God’s perfect will. First step is to stay in the Word; read the Word and let the Word read you. The transformation occurs as your mind is renewed and God’s will is revealed
  2. Circumstances will line up as God begins to lead you in a certain direction
  3. Let peace be your plumb line; peace that God gives, not the world. People might tell you that you should not take a risk but if it is God, He will bid you come…
  4. If you step out in faith and have missed God’s call, its ok. The Lord will lead you back to where you need to be and get you on track. He is faithful.

I received a card years ago which, over the years, has given me the courage to take God directed risks:

 I must attempt something that is so big that if it is not from God it is doomed to fail– so when it works, God will get all the glory. 

Friends, when we make space for God to speak and we make space in our lives to listen to His voice, we will attempt things that seem impossible. I may be wrong, but I think that it’s better to attempt something so big that we think is God-ordained than to be fearful and attempt nothing at all.

Peter was a funny guy;  an impetuous, strong-willed, ready to take risk kind of guy. He attempted to walk on water and imitate His Master and at first he was a certified walking on water dude… but then he began to sink. What happened? He was primed for the risk and began strong. The Scripture tells us the waves caused him to fear. I suspect he looked down and realized that this was a bit careless to think that he could walk on water. Who did he think he was? The Messiah or just an imitation? I believe that Jesus knew he would sink. He wanted him to see what fear could do. Fear can cause us to abandon our God calling. Fear can paralyze the best plans we may have. And Jesus wanted Peter to experience both the exhilaration of walking on water and the desperation of fear.

Friends, we must attempt something that is so big that when it works, God will get all the glory. Without taking a risk we are blocking opportunities we have to give Him glory. Perhaps today you are considering stepping out in faith but fear is holding you back. Seek the Lord’s guidance and He will be faithful to see you through.




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  1. Fedelia Roper Rivers

    Joanne, how amazing this is that I shared about faith walking to one of my team members on this morning. I’m going to pass this on. So timely! Thanks

    • joanneellison

      We serve a mighty on time God indeed! xoxo Joanne

  2. P. Audrey Jaudon

    Hi Joanne, As Jaudon and I passed Ashley River Baptist Church on our way to dinner yesterday, I said to him that this is the location for DNG fall semester, and that this amazing ministry which has touched and changed the lives of so many women, will now be available to even more women in the tri-county area. What a wonderful teaching on Faith! I am excited and can’t wait to see what God has in store for his children in this new season of DNG! We walk by faith, and not by sight.

    • joanneellison

      Thank you dear Audrey! You are always so encouraging and you are right we do walk by faith and not by sight. I trust the Lord as He has led us there.
      Blessings and much love!

  3. Caroline B

    How fitting to read this while I’m at the coast. The waves were especially powerful this afternoon and I did fear my girls jumping in them. God reminded me to allow myself and them to conquer my fears and not alllow the enemy to steal my joy. Thank you for this today!

    • Drawing Near to God

      How wonderful! So glad it reached you at just the right time. Enjoy your trip with your girls!


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