If we want to ‘blossom’, we have to take risks

Do you know people who complain about their circumstances but don’t do anything to change them?

We can all fall into the tendency to ‘play the victim’ – to stay ‘safe’ by taking sympathy from others, yet not owning the choices we have as grown adults. And it’s always hard knowing what’s in our power to change, and what isn’t.

But when we remain stubbornly unwilling to seek help or support in making things better, it can be frustrating for those who love us.

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound,” wrote James Allen, of those who remain stagnant.

But of the man or woman who knows there is no way out but forward, Anais Nin said:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”


John 5: 1-8 tells the story of a suffering man whose attitude and life situation was challenged by Jesus:

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

This man had suffered for 38 years, and was presumably at the pool in the hope of a healing. The name of the pool ‘Bethesda’ translates to ‘House of Mercy’, and some writings say that at certain times an angel would come down and stir up the water. Then the first person to get into the pool after the water was stirred would be healed of whatever disease or infirmity they had.

Jesus, discovering the man had been sick for so long, asks if he wants to get well. Does he want to receive the healing the Son of God can offer? Is he really hungry for a new life? It seems the man is frustrated by other people going ahead of him when he tries to enter the stirred water. He is weak, and fed up. You could argue he’s making excuses.

But things are about to change. Jesus has come to bring healing. “Get up!” he says to the man. “Pick up your mat and walk.” And he does! For the first time in 38 years…

We might not see many instantaneous healings, but there are solutions to our problems if we look for them. Starting with Jesus. “Do you want to get well?” he asks us. “Get up!” he says.

Jesus promises to walk alongside us, whether we’re healed immediately from disease or not. He promises to offer guidance and wisdom in the midst of our emotional and physical struggles. As we search and pray, he brings people to our life that can point us in the right direction. But we have to be willing to work at things – to refresh our approach sometimes.

Change can be uncomfortable – terrifying even. But playing the victim gets tiring after a while. And sometimes we have no choice but to move forward. To risk blossoming.


  1. Oh wowza, another winning post! I “lay by the pool” for as long as this poor guy, played the whining victim and wore everyone out too. Not to make excuses, but I think it was a “blindness” of sorts–just as I didn’t “get it” when I’d read this Bible story, I didn’t “get it” when people tried to tell me I had choices–they sounded mean! And then, 3-1/2 yrs ago, the Holy Spirit sent revelation and it all clicked–I had power to choose, I just hadn’t realized it. Somehow, Jesus must have spoken to the man in a way that expressed truth and loving compassion, different from what he’d been hearing for 38 yrs. No one wants to be, is happy being, stuck. What made it worse for me was always being reminded, “you’re a smart girl, young and pretty and talented–you should be able to figure this out”. Gosh, I felt like a loser. But Jesus told me, “you’re not a loser–take My hand–let’s do this together!” God bless you and your family, dear sister–love, Caddo (yep, new blog for the vagabond)

    1. Thanks Caddo! New blog, yay! (thanks for keeping me updated)
      I get that – what you say about ‘blindness’. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas that need work don’t we.
      So true, 38 years seems a long time… but then something just clicked.
      I had a similar breakthrough. I realised I’d been playing the victim role for so long – stuck in a cycle where all my pain was someone else’s fault. But then I realised I had the power/ability to change that and move on.
      I’m so glad you’ve found freedom too, and that you’ve felt the hand of Jesus on your journey.
      Thanks so much for sharing!

      1. Thanks for sharing yourself with me–it’s just so easy to blame others, and circumstances; must be the enemy’s favorite technique to keep many bound for years. Bless you!

  2. Hey Ali….
    So challenging! To make a change we can’t just sit around. We have to get up and make the necessary changes and it’s so comforting to know God is eager for me to change. He wants my life to change for the better! He is not happy with no growth! Thanks Ali….


    1. Amen Rolain! Change requires active steps doesn’t it. Change means growth, and development. We just need to find courage, and follow His lead. So thankful God is with us all the way 🙂

  3. I think it is such a natural instinct to want our circumstances to change, it takes a little time for me to see that God has in mind for ME to change, not my circumstances. Thank you, for encouraging us to move forward with Jesus!

    1. So true Debbie. Yes, it’s always hard to know how much to ‘accept’ about our life and how much to be involved in the process of changing our circumstances. Thankfully God gives us wisdom, and strength to pick ourselves up and tackle our problems one step at a time 🙂

  4. Wonderful post! Change is risk, because we trade in what we know for the unknown. It’s easy to dwell on the possible negative side of change- things becoming worse, but we need to trust that God provides change as an opportunity.

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