"Adventure" is a noun and a verb, but I'm going to describe it as a lifestyle. When Bilbo Baggins said, "I'm going on an adventure!" he was talking about an epic, physical, dangerous, and impractical journey. By that definition, adventure is something we should all experience, but it's not sustainable on a consistent basis. If we expect our experiences to be magnificent every day, then it won't be long before we tap out. What I'm talking about is adventure as a philosophy.
For most of my teen years, my dream was to settle down and live a stable, small-town life. To be specific, I planned to buy a horse ranch, write for a living, and get married at age 23. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with that dream, it's far from my current aspirations, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. The only thing that hasn't changed is that I am still a writer. Through experience, I realized that I based my goals on an idyllic picture of emotional safety. God gave me a desire for adventure, and I decided to lean into it. Now, I see there's no way I would be happy with that life I'd imagined because I wanted it for the picture in my head but not the everyday reality. I've learned that God's purpose for my life isn't black and white. I still enjoy the little things, like campfires and drives down dirt roads. Every day, I think about new ideas or places to explore, but I also crave simplicity.
We think an adventurous life is full of busyness and thrills, but we see that isn't true when we look at Jesus. His life was not necessarily full of exciting activities or material discoveries; He was an adventurer because of the pace He lived and how He went out of His way to change lives with radical actions. His ideas were different and unsettling, but He moved forward in faith. Adventure loses its meaning when we apply it to every activity that is remotely outside of our routine. What makes us adventurous is how we pursue change. We find a rhythm when we realize that risk doesn't mean discontentment with simplicity. What it does require is the rejection of complacency.
God created an amazing world, full of diverse people and natural wonders. When we explore beyond our familiar surroundings, we gain insight that inspires us to bring that spirit of discovery into our daily lives. But as much as travel excites me, that doesn't mean I was designed for adventure any more than anyone else. I believe that I can be just as much of an adventurer in my hometown as I was in the hills of New Zealand. How? By stepping outside of my comfort zone. It takes risk to invest in a new idea, connect with new people, and also to trust God.
It takes risk to learn about the Bible because it is hard for us to understand God's wisdom. "What if I'm interpreting this wrong?" "What if I fail to follow God's Word?" or "What if I follow Jesus and my life turns out terrible?" are all thoughts that I've had. When we look at our faith with a sense of adventure, we face the twists and turns with excitement not dread. It's an ongoing and unpredictable journey after all. We need those pivotal moments where we take the leap and choose the road less traveled. It's not about what your life looks like from the outside; it's about how you live it on the inside. True adventure isn't a hashtag on a post about "5 coolest places to road trip." It's not something we should ignore if we aren't on vacation. Adventure in our journey with Jesus makes the difference between “religion”, or just following the rules, and a genuine relationship with Him. We connect with people through what we do, so how will we change lives if we don't step into the unknown?
You don’t have to skydive or hike a mountain just to embrace adventure, but those “leisure” activities are important if they inspire you. Don’t let anyone tell you they are a waste of time. God wants us to draw close to Him through His creation.
“In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him…” - Psalm 95:4
There is time for courage and time to rest and feel His peace. We find satisfaction when we create rhythm with intent. When we strive to live on either side of the line alone, we lose sight of our purpose and chase after goals that will leave us empty. We gain freedom when we drop our baggage and embrace the adventure of following Jesus. How will you take your next step to pursue adventure?
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.