Thursday, August 06, 2009
Choose Your Own Adventure
A little over four years ago I took my very first missions trip. I had traveled before but this was my first trip overseas where the sole purpose of it was for a mission and purpose other than being a tourist. I flew to London England to be a part of a soccer (aka football) camp for teens in London. The goal was to have a football tournament in one of the fields and then invite the teens who came to church at night to hear a gospel presentation.
I came back after the trip and I remember lying in bed at night my first night back, exhausted but more fulfilled and excited then I could remember ever being.
I whispered to the Lord that night, "If You and I can have adventures like that, if You can promise me a life that exciting, I will do whatever You want. I'll stay single. I'll sell everything I have. I'll quit my job. I'll do whatever it takes, just give me that kind of adventure."
I know I am not the only one out there who has read "Captivating" or "Wild at Heart." Both of these books speak to some of the irreducible basics of a human being's original design. While each of us has been uniquely knit in our mother's womb and there are things about us that God has put together in a way that are unlike anyone else on our planet; there are also some things about us that are in all of us. God has put them there because we were made in His image and we are like Him in some ways.
One of the things that these books talk about is a person's need for adventure. We long for some grand wild enterprise....our own story, so to speak. I know I can relate to this a lot.
In my own life I can begin feeling the monotony of things and I almost feel claustrophobic in my own life. I start to feel like the walls of life are closing in around me and I might scream if there isn't a change or a feat to undertake soon.
When I was a little girl I was fascinated by the "Little House on the Prairie" books and I used to dream about living during those days. Life was certainly not boring....every day was an adventure and exciting because if the crops weren't in the family might die! If the crops weren't harvested, the family might die! If the food wasn't canned, the family might die! Everyday life was exciting simply from the sheer knowledge that things had to be done or the consequences could be life or death.
I am certainly not complaining about all of the modern conveniences we have now. I enjoy and appreciate the privilege of being able to go to the grocery store for my food, or tossing my laundry into a machine that washes it for me, or even something as simple as having electricity to read by at night instead of a lantern. However, I also sometimes wonder if all of these modern conveniences have dulled life to an extent now that we are now left to invent all sorts of new ways to fulfill this part of us. Our daily life is no longer an urgent sense of life or death, so how do we feed this part of ourselves?
For some, this need for adventure is now for all intents and purposes virtual instead of real and we live our adventures through TV or movies. Some people do wild things like jump out of airplanes or bungee jump. Some people just create their own drama-filled lives.
When I was little I used to read a series of books called "Choose Your Own Adventure." In these books the reader would get to the end of a chapter and would have to put themselves in the shoes of the main character. The chapters always ended with a decision that the main character had to make. As the reader, you got to chose for the character. If you chose one way, you flipped to a certain page and continued reading. If you made a different decision, you flipped to a different page to continue reading. I always cheated with these books and skipped to the end so that I could be sure to chose the path that lead to the ending that was most adventurous.
In my "Choose Your Own Adventure" life, I cannot flip to the end to see what my life becomes (other than the truly final chapter). I don't really want to chose my own adventure either. My ability to create my own adventure thus far has landed me mostly a lot of heartache and trouble.
I also know this, I do have a choice... to have as much obedience to the Lord as possible. I am praying that the God who created me with a need for my own adventure is the God who fulfills this desire within me. I DO want my *own* adventures. I want a life full of them. I want to live a life filled with my own stories and plot-lines, not someone else's. So, I say "yes" to the choice to obey what is in front of me right now, and trust that the grandest exploits await me!