By Caryn Rivadeneira
Seven minutes before the show started, my co-host Melinda leaned over and asked if I'd take the reins that day. We'd switch roles: She'd be the co-host, while I assumed the host role.
I said yes-as I usually do-before I even fully realized what saying yes entailed. Four months into this new job I'd become used to co-hosting Midday Connection, meaning I'd go ahead and ask questions of our guests, occasionally welcome listeners back after breaks. I'd even gotten close to good at simultaneously reading Facebook comments, listener emails and notes from the producer while listening to our guest, but I had never before signaled to our engineer that we were ready for our first "break," nor had I watched the clock creep closer and closer to zero as I tried to "hit the post"-ending my words with the music.
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My first attempt failed. I started a new sentence without enough time. Time ran out. The music stopped mid-sentence. I stopped talking, letting "Hope," of all words linger alone in the air, thinking we were off air. Turns out, I could've finished my thought ("...you stay with us."). The engineer would've worked me in.
This is just one example of the crazy ride this-venturing into a career in radio without much (okay, any) experience-has been. Though I am a trained journalist and know how to identify angles and ask conversation-inducing questions, a print journalist career can only prepare you so much for radio. Questions need to be sharpened; background affirmations or chuckles need to be axed (there's no editing "um-hmms" and rambling questions in live radio!). And all this learning has only been compounded by my mid-life status. When I thought my career path was obvious, here I am again. Starting something, learning something new.
Although this results in-requires, actually-failure, anxiety and life being flipped upside-down, being given an opportunity to learn something new is one of life's great blessings. Because in newness, though we have failure, we also have growth. Though we have embarrassment, we find opportunities for accomplishment. Though new opportunities may flip life upside down, in newness, comfort and complacency-two things that get in the way of what God is calling us to do-get tossed overboard and let us fall right into a sweet dependency on God as we step into his calling.
So how about a little challenge in the back-to-school season: What if we all start or try or commit to learning something new? Something way out of our comfort zone? Something that terrifies or stands to humiliate us? But something that will stretch us toward becoming more of who God has called us to be?
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Caryn Rivadeneira is a writer and speaker, along with being co-host and producer for Midday Connection, a production of Moody Radio. She's the author of five books, including the newly released Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed About God's Abundance(IVP, 2014). Connect with her at carynrivadeneira.com.