My mother and I were talking about my eating habits this morning. Why? Because she’s a mother. Had there been even a hint of frailty or fatigue in my voice she would have FedEx’d me a few dozen chocolate chip and pecan cookies.

Come to think of it, I am feeling a bit faint (you’ve got my address, mom!).

Despite her concern that I’m not eating enough, I’m confident in my ability to live off the fat of the land, so to speak, for quite some time.

She told me that when I was a baby my three culinary loves were sweet potatoes, peaches, and rice cereal. My love of peaches has survived, lo these two score and four years, but my current feeling about sweet potatoes and rice cereal is likened to my love of root canals. Or is it roots canal? (Grammar humor always cracks me up.)

Back to my mother…

She told me my love for rice cereal did not even compare to her love for rice cereal. Why? The conventional medical wisdom of the day recommended “heartier” meals for children who did not sleep through the night. At three weeks old, my mother, on the advice from my pediatrician, gave me rice cereal so I would shut my pie hole for more than a few hours so she could get some much-needed sleep.

Rice cereal at three weeks. Are you kidding me? Add that to the list of things you can’t do anymore, but my overindulgence at a very young age may explain my inability to perform advanced mathematical equations. I’ve gotta blame something, right?

That is a glimpse into the practice of pediatrics in the 1970s. This is the same decade that gave us Deliverance, pet rocks, and the Bee Gees. My fellow Americans, these were not our best days.

Back to my mother (again)…

It was shocked to learn that I used to love a food product that repulsed me as a parent. I couldn’t stand the smell or the spackle-esque texture of my kids’ rice cereal. How could I bear the taste or the texture as an infant? Had I unwittingly committed some sort of hate crime by forcing this awful goo upon my own children?

It was while I was pondering that question my mother dropped some wisdom and totally blew my mind.

She said, “I guess rice cereal tastes pretty good if it’s the only thing you’ve ever eaten.”

Boom. Insert mic drop here.

In other words, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Unfortunately, even these many years later, I’ve not outgrown my bias toward the known. Even when facing a new challenge, whether it involves raising my kids, leading a team at work, or considering my retirement options, I will most often resort to a solution that has bailed me out in the past.

But what if you were designed to be a risk-taker from time to time? I’m not suggesting you adopt a reckless approach to your decision-making process, but why not investigate new solutions to life’s problems?

A quote, often misattributed to Albert Einstein, offers a warning to those of us mired in consistency: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Healthy organizations constantly dream up new ways to add value to their service, products, or customer experience. Similarly, I believe most people, as they take stock of their life, are dissatisfied with the status quo.

Based on my experience, whether you lead a corporation or are simply trying to live a meaningful life, the decision-making processes and methods that got you to the place you are today are not the ones that will propel you to achieve your next level goals.

What if the tried and true methods you’ve relied on in the past are, in reality, neither tried nor true for tomorrow’s opportunities? How can you discover new ways to overcome the challenges you’ll face as you enter a season of growth?

I’m glad you asked! Here are a few places to find some help:

  1. Find a mentor.

Spend some time learning from someone who has successfully navigated the challenges you’re facing. You might be surprised to find the best risk-taking mentor may be younger than you. That’s ok–be willing to open your mind to experiences unlike your own. Pay attention. Ask questions. And always buy the coffee when you get the chance to talk in person.

  1. Read a book.

I love the challenge of wrestling with an author’s perspective and advice about a problem I’m facing. Though you may not always agree with everything you read, considering an author’s solutions may lead you to discover a new way of overcoming a challenge. For example, when Jim Collins’ Good to Great replaced sliced bread as the world’s best invention (at least for the business world), I was able to utilize principles designed to revamp a Fortune 500 company to overcome some character flaws that were holding me back in my friendships. Next level relationship growth came from a business book. Pretty cool, eh?

  1. Read THE book.

You probably expected this one, especially if you read my bio. Admittedly, I’m pro-Bible, but not because I’m a religious guy. I’m a religious guy because I’ve discovered the timeless truths contained in the Bible. You might be surprised to learn that God, because of His overwhelming kindness, has given you access to wisdom that will allow you to take a lot of the guesswork out of tough decisions you’ll encounter when it’s time to grow.

Here’s the good news: Godly wisdom is actually pretty easy to come by. One of my favorite verses from the Bible explains how:

James 1:5 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (New Living Translation)

Yes, dear reader, there are things you don’t know about the growth that’s headed your way. That’s OK. Expect a few bumps along the journey, look in the right places for guidance, and get ready to experience an adventurous and meaningful life.


What I need to remember:

  • WE’RE UPGRADING TO TWO SERVICES. The Church @ Clayton Crossings will begin offering two worship services beginning Sunday, September 11. Why not think about attending one and serving during the other? You can get more information about joining one of our ministry teams here, plus you can find more details about the two-service upgrade in last week’s blog post.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASH. Crossings Students will host a Back to School Bash on Wednesday, August 31 at 6:30 PM. Don’t miss a ridiculously fantastic night of free food, big glove boxing, and a chance to win $200 in gift cards.


About me:

John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.


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