The moment you hear these words is followed by the moment in the conversation when someone is about to pop your bubble and deflate your idea. Yes, Debbie Downer has officially arrived. Or maybe it’s not the voice of someone else but it’s your own self-criticism sitting on your shoulder.
I’ve been in both positions many times: The guy who quickly shoots down the creative effort of friends and co-workers, and also my own worst enemy in personal ambitions.
We justify this voice because we don’t want to be foolish in our ventures and take unnecessary risks. So when it comes to dreaming, we feel like we need to bring the voice of pragmatism and a “realistic” perspective to the table. Playing “devil’s advocate” in any situation makes us feel like we are being responsible with our ideas by thinking of all the reasons they could fail.
However, we must remember that in our hearts the voice of resistance weighs more than the voice of progress. What we call being rational might really mean we are giving in to fear. Fear often dresses up as reason because surely we all want to be reasonable.
With that said, I’d like to borrow Seth Godin’s language and suggest that the devil doesn’t need an advocate. The devil doesn’t need your help in suppressing imagination, and whispering thoughts of fear. The devil was doing all of that just fine before you decided to befriend him and be his spokesperson.
Instead, I think we have a better option. Those who are in Christ should have a bias towards faith, hope, & love. Not blind faith. Not child-ish ways, but rather child-like ways. We are called to advocate for the kingdom of heaven and not be those who shrink back.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” – Hebrews 10:39 (ESV)
The real question is –
- What is your default response when someone shares a new idea?
- Is your first reaction to find all of the reasons that the idea won’t work?
- Or, do you have the capacity to let you imagination stretch for a bit and discover every reason that it could work?
It’s a risky way to live, but remember that life with God is not safe.