Not too long ago, I balanced precariously on my pink yoga mat in a trendy Minneapolis yoga studio. With one leg crossed around one knee and my arms intertwined, I slowly bent to the left to hold the pose. Some yoga experience may have been required for this class, but it was clear that “some” experience meant more than my casual after-work yoga classes in my company’s cafeteria. I stared at the muted yellow wall ahead and with sweat glistening on my forehead, I debated unraveling myself from my awkward position and walking out the studio door. I didn’t, however, and left the class with a feeling of accomplishment. My body may have been in pain, but I pushed myself to try something new and that was something to be proud of.
I’m not a risk taker. Nine times out of ten I take the safe option, so signing up for this class by myself was a little daunting. As I grow into my later 20s, I’m recognizing my need to push, to challenge and to take risks. I purposely place myself in these types of situations to challenge my preference for the safe, the comfortable and the expected.
During my junior year of college, I followed a recommendation from my Mom to lector at Mass on campus. With a busy schedule and apprehension about the public speaking, I had avoided adding another commitment to my calendar, but I decided to attend the training and act not only on my Mom’s advice, but the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When I stood at the ambo to lector for the first time, peace washed over me. As I read the words of St. Paul, I made eye contact with several students in the pews. Paul’s words had never been as meaningful to me as they were in that moment, and that’s when I knew why I was led to take that risk.
These risks may appear trivial, but they pushed me to trust when I no longer had my security blanket wrapped tightly around me. Catholic singles do the same when they sign up for CatholicMatch, go on a first date or try something new solo. As we all know, few rewards can be attained when we’re stagnant and unchanging. It’s easy to become guarded in romantic relationships, pour ourselves into our jobs and refuse to try something new. Our security blankets can hinder the gentle push of the Holy Spirit leading us to the next adventure.
When we take risks, we display our trust in God. When we open our hearts and surrender all of our hopes and dreams to Him, He pushes us into situations that challenge us but ultimately reward us. The Holy Spirit is our guide in this life, and we can lean on this presence when facing any new experience.
I won’t be jumping out of an airplane anytime soon, but each and every day, I will be challenging myself to open my heart a little more to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and God’s holy protection.