What comes to mind when you hear that word? Do you recall a specific experience of heart-thudding wonder? Are you filled with a longing for something more, something bigger than your current life?
Webster defines adventure as “the encountering of danger; a daring, hazardous undertaking; an unusual, stirring experience, often of a romantic nature.” Immediately I picture isolated climbers on snow-capped peaks. Yet the chances of me being one of those fearless climbers? Slim to none. I admire their vision and devour stories of their accent, but I have no desire to put in the time, training and money to follow their footsteps. I am quite happy exploring the endless trails that don’t involve crampons and bivouacs. But my heart is still filled with anticipation and excitement when I hear the word adventure. I want to be part of a grand and meaningful story. I long for daring undertakings and stirring experiences.
My days, however, are filled with bills and laundry and baby drool. Have I put adventure on hold while I stay at home with my son? Is this the boring comma between the Interesting Things that fill my life before and after raising a family? I easily believe that. I hear Big Stories of women moving their families to Africa to serve the poor, or traveling around the world with their husband and kids for a year and I think – this is what I must do! To have adventure I must follow in their footsteps. And this is nonsense.
I am learning instead to see the adventure in the everyday, the ordinary life that surrounds me. The wonder of watching my son explore and learn about his tiny world. The challenge of deep and meaningful relationships with the people placed in my life right now. The hard, beautiful work of forging a marriage with someone so similar yet so different from me. My unique role within the larger Story in which we all play a part.
This Story includes all of humanity and it unfolds like an intricate tapestry. The Hero of this Story is not me. My ego desperately wants to be the center of my story – and, if I’m honest, a lot of other people’s stories as well. But the starring role of this Story belongs to Jesus. After all, He wrote it! He has been around since the Story began and He is the End after the final chapter. There is freedom (and a great deal of relief!) when I accept that I am not the Hero. I no longer have to write an epic tale for myself, but I can join Him in His adventure. This might mean He leads me somewhere grand and daring and I won’t hesitate with fear and uncertainty because He goes with me. But He might leave me right where I am and challenge me to be daring and adventurous in the ordinary and anonymous. God is just as magnificent and wild and bold and dynamic here as He is in a small village in Africa. He is not tame, but He is good and loving and so desperately wants you to see your true role in His crazy Story!
Perhaps you love to rock climb or kayak churning rivers. Or you get excited when you travel to countries and cultures far from where you call home, immersing yourself in new places. Maybe an adventure for you is walking across the street to meet that neighbor you only wave at in passing. Search out what stirs your heart. Food, painting, woodworking, sewing, relationships, teaching – any of these can be part of your adventure. Talk to God. Ask Him to show you the ordinary adventures around you. Don’t spend your days longing for the life you don’t have, but uncover those daring undertakings around you. Join Him in His adventure story and your life will be anything but tame and boring!