Risk sometimes means making a move. I am part of a faith community in Sacramento and we are getting ready to move locations. We’ve been meeting at a church building in Tahoe Park for 3.5 years now, and the leadership has been assessing whether or not it’s the right place for us to accomplish our vision of revealing the Kingdom of God to the world around us. Strangely, we don’t encounter much of the world around us at the church building in Tahoe Park. To me, it feels isolated and stagnate. So we are investigating options for moving to a place where people are, where life happens, where we can bring the Kingdom of God to the world around us, instead of asking the world around us to come to where we congregate. It’s a new type of thinking for faith communities. And it’s risky because most people don’t like change, and the people who are a part of this community are no exception.
But sometimes risk means staying put and seeing something through when you feel like quitting. Some of the folks from my faith community, whom I love dearly, suggested that staying at the church building in Tahoe Park would be just as (if not more) risky than moving. I’m not sure I agree with that, because risk also means choosing the hard thing over the easy thing; it means choosing turmoil. Staying in Tahoe Park I think would be the easy choice. Moving is the hard choice, the tumultuous choice.
Staying put is the hard choice when you have been working on a project FOREVER and have seen no measurable results and you wonder why you keep wasting your time, spinning your wheels. The easy thing would be to give up and call it quits. This is how I have been feeling with a certain shared workspace project that I have been working on for more than 3 years now (THREE years!). The idea has seen many incarnations, and I’m currently working on the fifth incarnation, going on the third possible location.
There’s been all kinds of resistance, from people questioning the viability of the concept, to spaces being “available” but the previous tenant not moving out, to people saying flat out, “no, we won’t rent to you” (those spaces are still vacant, by the way). But for some reason I stick with it. I risk feeling forgotten. I choose the turmoil of depression. I choose the turmoil of wondering whether or not this thing will ever become a reality.
Don’t get me wrong, I have wanted to throw in the towel for sure — but that’s the turmoil. I go back and forth between giddy child-like excitement and questioning if it will ever work, if it will succeed, if I’m just delusional and deceiving myself. Seth Godin writes about this phase of a project and calls it The Dip. His explanation is that new projects start out fun and exciting, and after you’ve been working on them for a while they get hard and un-fun. I have been in this un-fun phase all year. But Godin argues that those who push though the un-fun phase succeed because those who stick with it through The Dip are a rare breed.
And operating on the belief that you are a rare breed, whether that means moving or staying put, is risky.