Explore. Discover. Pioneer.

These are words that have an appeal to them yet to live by them takes on a whole new meaning. I battle with myself constantly on these words. They are words that I want to define my life. They sound exciting and alluring. They make for an inspiring social media post. But when it comes down to it, it’s actually quite challenging to take up these words and place them as a banner over my life.

I’m finding that both musing over the words and living the words are necessary.

Part of my victory comes because I have decided to fill my mind with difficult challenges. Sometimes this makes me feel like a fake because I think about it way more than I do it. But my reality comes from my thinking. If I never think about living a life of risk and discovery, I will definitely not try it or even recognize opportunities to do so.

Therefore, the other part of my victory comes from acting on my thoughts. If I only think about living by faith but fear and control keep my fingers gripping onto my possessions, I’m not actually living by faith. In his book The Final Quest Rick Joyner says, “There is no courage unless there is real danger.” Risk isn’t really a risk until you act.

Yesterday Charles and I went on a hike that he called CYOA: Create Your Own Adventure. It wasn’t your average hike with predictable outcomes. Neither of us had been to where we were going. The car was struggling on a steep dirt road (at one point, I thought we’d be stuck in the middle of the desert). We parked on a random spot on the dirt road and eventually found a “trail” that pretty quickly came to a dead end. Do we turn around? No way…this is CYOA! So we trudge through the desert in the middle of Devil’s Canyon, making our own trail. Climbing on rocks, dodging cactus and resting under a Joshua tree. We did not see a single human on the trail and no one knew exactly where we were. To be honest, if Charles had not been leading the way I would not have explored past the dead end or ventured further into the canyon.

This is when I realized again my love-hate relationship with exploring and pioneering. Breaking new ground is hard work. Making a new path scraps you up a little bit. The well-traveled road is tempting because it’s comfortable, ‘safe’ and predictable. It sets my control and fear at bay…and that is exactly why I must go off the path. I must explore and force myself to break new ground. I must protect my soul from comfort and ease. I must not obey fear and comfort.

Risk and adventure are spiritual disciplines for me. I do it to remember that I am not in control and that my little sphere is not the center of the universe. I do it to remind myself that the status quo isn’t always the best choice and that nothing of value comes easy. I do it to be mindful of the God who is with me and guiding me.

At the end of my life, I want to be known as one who emptied myself completely, owing this world nothing and finding everything in Christ.

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