Adventure Awaits: When Adventure Becomes a Habit

I was never much of an adventurer growing up.  I was the kid who watched as her friends hurtled around a rollercoaster while I stood safely on solid ground.  As a teenager, I held my peers’ belongings as they climbed and swung and scrambled their way through the ropes course at summer camp.  Even in my early years of adulthood, every venture was carefully planned and the risks conscientiously calculated.  To me, spontaneity was a bad word.

My sanity revolved around well-constructed plans determined to the smallest detail, with every possible outcome weighed and accounted for.  Any waver in those plans and fear descended upon me as my mind worked frantically to assess and avoid potential problems.

Because of these habits, I used to think that being so organised and reasoned in my thinking was a poor character trait.  But what I’ve since realised is that it is not the skill itself (indeed, a God-given gift) that is the problem, but the attitude and premise behind it.

My motive for considering every detail had always been control, whether I had realised it at the time or not.  I liked to be prepared so, naturally, I felt the need to examine every possible outcome so that I could prepare for it.  Any deviation in my plan, however, would render me stressed and anxious. That anxiety would manifest itself in a variety of ways; trouble sleeping, repeatedly playing out various scenarios over and over in my head, rehearsing conversations if I anticipated conflict and confrontation, tension in relationships… essentially, I just drove myself crazy!

The reality was, of course, that I was never in control to begin with.  By desiring to control, I had actually placed myself in God’s role (no wonder I experienced so much anxiety!)  At the root of this need to control I was simply stating, “my ways are better than God’s ways.”  Ouch.

Fast-forward a number of years and many valuable lessons later, I have let go of my need to control because I recognise and personally know the One who is truly sovereign over all things.  I know He loves me more than I could ever imagine and therefore His plans for me are good and will not lead to disaster.  That does not mean I am promised an easy life, but I have broadened my perspective to see that my life is about more than just me and my own comfort.

My life is to be lived in worship to the Almighty God who created me, saved me, redeemed me, and has purposed me for greater things.  My life is an instrument in God’s hands to be used for the growth of His Kingdom, so that others may experience the love, forgiveness, and freedom that I know.  My life is a dynamic, visible expression of God’s power and glory.  My life is not about me.  But here’s the best part; when we surrender our lives and prioritise God’s purposes over our own, He will shower us with gifts, abundant provision, daily surprises, and opportunities far out of our own reach.  He will give us the life that we didn’t know we wanted, one far beyond what we could dream up or achieve for ourselves.  This is what life looks like when adventure becomes a habit.

I no longer need to feel prepared for the situations I face – whether forecasted or not – because I trust God to meet every need in every outcome.  I still have to be a good steward of what He gives me, but the best way to prepare for any outcome, I realised, is to consistently and entirely depend on God.  When I relinquish control, I create opportunity for my faith to grow.

My perspective has been completely transformed and His peace is what now guides me.  In relinquishing control I’ve experienced a new freedom; my once mundane and highly regimented daily routine is now viewed through the eyes of an Indiana-Jones-like adventurer, anticipating all the surprises God has in store for me every single day!  I am still organised – yes.  I still make plans – of course.  But I hold them loosely in my hands.  I am no longer seeking to control the outcomes of these plans like I once did because I rest assured in God’s sovereign purposes for my life and know that, no matter what I face, He is the answer that I need.

If everything in our life was certain, I reckon we would either be epically bored or incredibly afraid.  Can you imagine knowing what was to come; knowing what you would face in a few weeks, months, years?  Would that really bring you peace?  I don’t think so.

What about in relationships?  Would we want to definitively know every opinion, every thought of our friend or spouse?  Surely not.  There is no relationship if there is no freedom.

American author John Ortberg said, “We all think we want certainty.  But we don’t.  What we really want is trust, widely placed.  Trust is better than certainty because it honours the freedom of persons and makes possible growth and intimacy that certainty alone could never produce.”

The same is true in our relationship with God.  When there is certainty, faith becomes obsolete.  Faith is no longer faith when the outcome is certain, but faith in a certain God who holds an infinite number of possibilities is a faith that thrives.  Faith surrenders everything to God and anticipates a good outcome.  Faith remains steadfast even in the midst of doubts and unanswered questions.  Faith relinquishes control and permits God to solve our problems for us.  We rarely understand how God will act, but we remain sure that He will.

We need to stop viewing uncertainty as such a terrible thing.  It is not upon certainty that we seek to place our trust, but on the feeble plans that we have made ourselves (as if our plans are ever really certain!) and in them we try to find some comfort.  But when our peace is dependent on circumstances, it is not really peace.  Let’s be honest, our comfort zones are not really all that comfortable.  We spend so much time trying to maintain the delicate balance of status quo that we rarely have the opportunity to actually make ourselves comfortable.  True peace is dependent on our trust in God, regardless of our circumstances.  The only things we can be certain of is anything that is spoken forth by the voice of God.  His word alone is certain.

Instead, there is fun and adventure to be found in uncertainty!  When our faith is firmly rooted in God, we welcome the surprises that uncertainty brings because we are assured that God has a purpose; He can bring good from any situation.  We have to trust His plan, trust His timing, and trust that He loves us and is motivated by that love.  Uncertainty paves the way for miracles and non-coincidental ‘coincidences’.  We can either choose to face uncertainty worrying about all that could go wrong, or face it with anticipation of all that God could bring about through it.  Nothing is uncertain to Him.

Growing up, my uncle used to often tell me, “Faith is spelled R. I. S. K.”  But there is a clear difference between a foolish risk and an inspired risk.  A risk motivated by rebellion, irresponsibility or selfish gain is one that will likely cost far more than we anticipate, whether we pay for it now or much later.  But a risk – as determined by faith and obedience to God – is an action that declares to the world, “if God doesn’t come through for me, I’m in big trouble!”

An inspired risk is one that lays all our hope on the One that has called us.  It is a response that depends entirely on the faithfulness and provision of God, for it is impossible in our own strength.  When our circumstances scream at us to run in the opposite direction, faith encourages us to charge ahead.  The conviction in our hearts is what strengthens us to keep going.  That is an inspired risk.  That is faith.

And with the Almighty God on our side, we should be the biggest risk-takers on earth.  When the shepherd boy David faced Goliath, he did not hesitate in stepping forward because he understood that he was not facing the giant alone; “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

That is not the war cry of a man who is uncertain!  He knows his God and has the faith to take a risk to save his people from total devastation.  David placed himself in an entirely vulnerable situation, knowing that he would die if God did not come through for him, yet he did not waver.  David did not question whether he should put his life on the line because he believed that God would show up.  He believed that the God who had rescued him from lions and bears as he watched over his sheep, would protect him once again on this day as he faced a greater challenge than ever before.  He trusted that the God who had anointed him as the next king of Israel would fulfil His promise and not allow him to perish before his time.  That is faith.

2 Corinthians 9:6 promises, “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”  This is true of our finances, our love, our gifts and talents, but I believe it is also true of our faith.  When we operate in little faith, we see very little of God’s power.  But when we throw all common sense and control out the window in pursuit of God, He will show us His power in unimaginable ways.

Don’t you want to develop the kind of faith that confronts giants; that defeats armies with a shout of victory; that walks on water?  Then we need to exercise it.

During one of my trips to New York City I had no agenda, I simply allowed God to lead me around the city.  I walked, I prayed, I stopped and had coffee, I read a book.  And all the while I watched for opportunities; opportunities for the Holy Spirit to prompt me into action.

Having gotten lost in Greenwich Village, I met a homeless man named Malik.  Our interaction was brief but I brought him to the nearest store and bought him lunch while exchanging some chit-chat.   He remarked that I must be from out of town because New Yorkers never stopped or paid any attention to him.  

The next day, as I sat on a bench in Central Park reading my book, I was nervously approached by two Christian college girls who asked if they could pray for me.  It was their first day in the city as part of a short-term mission team, so I graciously returned the favour and encouraged them as they embarked on their outreach in the Big Apple. 

As I returned home on the subway that evening, I spotted a woman who was struggling  to juggle all her shopping as well as her young family.  I simply offered to carry her pushchair up the stairs to ground level.  

None of these acts are particularly noteworthy, but they were small acts that made a big difference to those individuals in their moment of need.  As I walked around the city, I saw so many people facing difficulties and desperately in need of Jesus – homelessness, aggressive or rude attitudes, people struggling with their sexuality, idolatry of material possessions – the list goes on.  But there are people with those same needs in every town and city around the world.  We can all do something, we just need to be alert to opportunity.

Perhaps you are waiting for the right ministry role, the right spouse, the right job, believing that those things will bring with them adventure.  But adventure is less about your circumstances and more about your attitude toward your circumstances.

We cannot live our lives always waiting for the next ‘big thing’.  Spending our time focusing on the big thing that we want (even if it is a God-given desire) causes us to miss out on every little thing occurring along the way.  Learning to be content with the present – whatever that may look like – is learning to trust that God knows what He is doing.  He knows what good gifts to give you and when to give you them.  If there is discontentment in your heart, then identify why that is and ask God to help meet that need.  Use your frustrations and passions to drive your holy pursuit after God.  Don’t miss out on today’s adventure because you are too busy dreaming about tomorrow’s.

Living a life of faith and adventure is not just about the big milestones either.  We need God daily.   We need to invite Him to be part of our everyday, run-of-the-mill, just-another-day-at-the-office kind of days.  This journey is not to be embarked upon alone because He promises to walk with us.  We don’t just need Him for the big steps, we need Him for every step in between too.

In the book of Exodus we read about a man named Moses (we touched briefly on his life and the plight of the Israelites earlier in the series).  Moses was born in Egypt to an Israelite, but Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was afraid that the Israelites were growing too much in number and feared they would rise up against him.  Therefore Pharaoh put the Israelites to work as his slaves, to weaken them and remind them of who was boss.  He also commanded that all baby boys born to Israelite families should be killed to purge the nation of Israel, and Moses was one such baby.

But God had a special purpose for Moses’ life.  Moses’ mother tucked him up in a basket and hid him among the reeds on the River Nile in an effort to spare his life.  As his sister watched, Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and she took him to the palace and raised him there as her own son.

When he was grown, Moses watched in horror, one day, as an Egyptian beat one of his own people, an Israelite.  Enraged, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  But Moses grew afraid when he realised that his deed was known to Pharaoh, who sought retribution for the murder of one of his men, so Moses fled into the desert.  There he remained for 40 years.

In those forty years Moses tended sheep, married the daughter of a Midianite priest, and started a family with her.  For two scores Moses lived in relative obscurity, no doubt choosing to forget the events of his past and settling comfortably into his new, much humbler abode.  I reckon that he expected to remain there for the rest of his days, with no plans of his own to return to the land of his birth.  But God was just getting started…

Though Moses hadn’t known it, God had been carefully and purposefully steering him through life, until God’s appointed time to reveal Himself.  Four decades were what was needed to prepare Moses for his God-ordained adventure, and then God began to unveil His plan.

Moses still had to overcome fear in order to carry out all that God had called him to do, but he trusted God and was obedient to Him.  He was not perfect – he made mistakes like the rest of us – but as Moses grew in obedience, God’s power grew within him.  During his time in the wilderness, Moses encountered God, was instructed by God, and was equipped by God.  Then God told him, “Go!”

I love to read about Moses.  He is one of my favourite Biblical characters because he is just an ordinary man who was called by God into an extraordinary destiny.  Every step of obedience led to greater opportunity, greater responsibility, and greater miracles.  He is one of the few men or women in the Bible that we have the privilege of tracking throughout their entire life, and not just seeing a window into their lives for a short period of time.  This allows us to follow Moses’ entire adventure, from start to finish; for all the big moments and every season in between.

Just like us, Moses had to first encounter God and learn about His Creator.  Depending on the tales of his Israelite heritage was not enough to prepare him for the great tasks God would call him to.  Moses had to discover the great I AM for himself.  He needed to know Him personally.

Next, Moses journeyed to discover who he was and the special purpose God had strategically placed him for.   It was no coincidence, after all, that Moses had been found by none other than royalty when he had been hidden from Pharaoh’s men as a baby.  Though he had been brought up in the Egyptian palace, he was an Israelite and deeply cared for his own people.  And as God shared with Moses all that He was calling him to do, He helped Moses to overcome the insecurities and doubts that filled his mind.  

God then ensured that Moses was well equipped for the adventure he was about to undertake; demonstrating His own power and some of the miracles He would perform, as well as providing everything that he would need, including Moses’ own brother, Aaron, to assist him in speaking with Pharaoh.

Moses faced opposition and challenges time and time again but he always knew exactly where to take them; he was confident in repeatedly returning to the Lord for help and guidance.  He also waited, sometimes for decades, for God’s guidance into the next season, but as Moses walked in obedience, God responded faithfully, and, for Moses, adventure with God became a habit.  He was in constant anticipation of what God would do next.  He did not cringe or cower at seemingly impossible situations because his trust – developed throughout his lifetime – was in an unwavering God.

God used Moses to save the Israelite nation from Egypt and from the hands of Pharaoh, and lead them into the desert.  The Israelites would eventually reach the Promised Land, as vowed to Abraham many years earlier, but that was not to be part of Abraham’s or, indeed, Moses’ adventure.  It would become part of someone else’s adventure.  Instead, Moses’ chapter included confronting an angry king and leading a daring escape from captivity.  God was the author of the Israelites’ tale, and He authors each of our stories as well; He decides when to feature us as the hero.

Having escaped Egypt, Israel began their long trek through the desert on the way to the Promised Land.  Meanwhile, God caused Pharaoh to change his mind, and he ordered his chariots to pursue the Israelite slaves and return them to Egypt.  (“But why?” You might ask, “why would God cause that to happen?”  Well, keep reading… God does nothing without reason).  As the dust rose from beneath the hooves of the thundering horses, the Israelites panicked.  They were faced with the Red Sea ahead of them and Pharaoh’s angry horde behind them.

Then Moses turned to the people and announced, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moses, as leader of the Israelite people, could have panicked in that moment also.  He could have shouldered all the responsibility of saving them from this sticky situation.  He could have despaired at their bad luck.  But Moses knew better than that.  Moses now lived every day as an adventure; he was no longer the timid man he once was.  He had learnt that the outcome of this situation was not his responsibility as long as he walked in faithful obedience to God.  He had no answers for the people, instead he pointed them to the One who did.

The Lord will fight for you.  He will work for you.  See the salvation of the Lord.

“Let’s do this together, Moses,” was God’s response.  “You do this, I’ll do that, and we’ll rescue our people together.”  

Moses listened and obeyed, God brought His unrivaled power, and the people of Israel walked through the parted Red Sea to safety.  Why was it so easy for Moses to hear and obey God when He asked him to hold his hand out over the sea?  A body of water does not simply part if you wave your hand over it!  But Moses had seen God do it before.  He had already experienced God’s power and seen evidence of God’s miraculous ability.  And with every step forward, his faith grew, as did His knowledge of the God of Israel.

This miracle was staged by God; it was the perfect set-up to reveal His power.  Up until that point, few had identified God’s hand in the events that had led to the Israelites’ departure from Egypt.  But now, well now, God had everyone’s attention!  Not only were the entire Israelite nation assembled for this great act of God, but He had prompted Pharaoh to bring his entire army too!  No-one present that day missed the hand of God at work.

That day, the Israelite nation turned to God and trusted Him and His chosen leader, Moses.  That day, the entire Egyptian army perished when God lifted His hand and the waters of the Red Sea rushed back into place.  That day, the Israelites were truly free; their enemy could no longer pursue them, and God’s power and glory had been displayed for all present.

We may not yet have the faith to hold our hands over the sea and believe that God will part it, but we do have the faith for what God is asking us to do next.  Whatever that may be, big or small, muster up the courage and step out in faith.  Remind yourself of what He has already done in you and through you.  Recall to mind the countless times you have seen His faithful answers to prayer or miraculous intervention in your difficulties.  Strengthen yourself in the Lord and believe that He will act again, even if your circumstances say otherwise.

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to visit Montenegro as part of a short-term missions team.  My local church in Scotland was partnered with a church in the Montenegrin capital city, Podgorica, but our work was primarily with three Balkan refugee camps in the eastern town of Berane.  The first team that went out in 2010 were involved in installing a toilet block in one of the camps; that which we affectionately called ‘The Container Camp’ because the families there lived in metal shipping containers.  

Upon their return, the team presented to the church all that they had done on their trip.    On that particular night I happened to be manning the Information Desk at the back of the church.  And on that particular night I carried extra information about our Montenegro partnership, including a sign-up sheet for people interested in going on the next trip.

As the team shared their experience, they explained the different work initiatives they had been involved with in the camp including work with the children, and maintenance work to improve the basic facilities that were available.  They told stories of a head-lice infestation amongst the young ones, and shared photos of team members knee-deep in sewage.  Then they called for volunteers to be part of the next team that would visit a few months later.

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly ‘high maintenance’ kinda gal, but I do appreciate my home comforts like my hair-straighteners.  Somehow, I didn’t think this was the kind of trip that had time (or need) for hair-straighteners, so I was ready to politely decline the team’s request.  But God had other ideas…

Nothing in me wanted to join that next team, yet something in me knew I had to.  My mind began to race, my heartbeat quickened, and everything around me swirled in slow motion.  I was terrified to volunteer, but it was an excited, expectant kind of fear.  It was as if my hand had a mind of its own, and before the team’s presentation had even ended, the sign-up sheet lying on the desk in front of me already had my name scribbled at the top.

For the next three years I participated in the annual aid trips to those Montenegrin refugee camps.  I fell in love with the people and longed to make more of a difference in their lives.  I delighted in building relationships with the individuals, especially the children, in each camp, and endeavoured to learn just a few words through which we could communicate and play games together.

But that third return trip very nearly did not happen.  You see, my personal finances were a struggle that year and common sense told me I could not afford to go.  I had already agreed to co-lead the team, however, so the question was not if I was going, but how.  I had little more than the amount required for the first half instalment but I was worried about clearing out my bank account, leaving me broke for the remainder of the month.  Not to mention my concern over where the rest of the fees would come from when the second half instalment was due.

I pondered my predicament over lunch with a friend one day and explained the situation.  I did not want to miss out on being part of the trip but my circumstances had me feeling defeated.  Yet we have learnt that God is not defeated by circumstantial evidence; if He wants something to happen, it will happen.

As the deadline for the first payment drew ever closer, I continued to pray and consider the best way to move forward.  Somewhat reluctantly, I decided to take a risk.  I recall journalling about it and stating, almost in diva-like fashion, that God would just have to come through for me.  He had put me in this predicament and therefore He would just have to get me out!  So, only a day ahead of the deadline,  I cleared out my bank account and paid the first half instalment.

And then the miracles began to tally.  The very next day, I received a cheque in the mail from the friend I had previously had lunch with.  She had spoken with her husband after we had met and they had felt compelled to give me a financial gift.  Its amount matched the first instalment I had paid not 24 hours before.

A week or two later, I was approached at the end of the church service by a member of the church finance team.  This was nothing particularly unusual, as his work would sometimes overlap with mine, but our conversation that day was not about business.

“Someone would like to give towards your Montenegro trip,” he told me,  “for the next three months, they will contribute towards the remainder of your fees.”

And they did just that.  To this day, I have no idea who that anonymous supporter was but I am incredibly grateful for their generous contribution which provided for me in ways beyond just financial.

I couldn’t believe it; my entire trip fees had been covered and God had proved Himself faithful once again.  But He was not done yet.

Around that same time, I came home one day to find an envelope had been slid under the front door of my apartment.  Ordinarily, my mail was posted through the main front door to the apartment block and I would pick it up from the lobby on my way past before I entered my own apartment.  But this envelope had clearly been personally delivered, right to my own front door. It only had my name on the front, with no mention of who or where it had come from.  And inside was a small sum of cash.  The mystery of that gift was never solved either.

Then shortly before we left the country, I received a final financial gift.  This gift covered the cost of my spending money and the petrol I needed to drive the 500km round-trip to the airport.  By the time I boarded the plane, I was better-off than the day I had taken a risk and paid that first instalment.  God had not only provided, but He had made available His abundant provision.  Those months and that experience completely transformed my understanding of God’s generous spirit and the ways in which He works.  It challenged me to be more generous and to be more readily available to walk in obedience to Him, trusting Him to provide all that I need along the way.

I personally experienced God come through for me in just a small way, but its lesson and impact on my life was huge.  Even now, years later, I often recall that testimony when I am faced with financial challenges.  I am reminded that when we walk in obedience and take a risk for God, He blesses us with far more than we ever sacrificed for Him.  We cannot anticipate or understand the ways through which He works, but we can be sure that He will surprise us.

That first risk; that first step of obedience to pay the first instalment; that first act demonstrated that I was willing to pay the price to follow God’s call.  That action became the catalyst for God’s blessing.  All too often we do not take that first step because we fear it will cost us too much, but when we give our all to God, He always returns with more.  Our obedience brings breakthrough and leads to blessing.

God knows what we need, when we need it, and how to provide it.  Sometimes, He gives differently to what we expect.  Sometimes, His provision is not financial but relational or circumstantial.  Sometimes, He withholds it for a little while to give us time to settle our eyes on Him first.  But He is not defeated by our needs like we often feel we are.  Our needs are an opportunity for His miracles.

The circumstances that the Israelites faced had looked like a check-mate, but not for God.  God never faces check-mate.  The rules do not apply to Him.  His power extends far beyond what we perceive or imagine.

A short time later, after the Israelites had been wandering through the desert for nearly three months (which is just a pinch in the forty years they would live there), they began to complain to Moses about their lack of food.  They argued that they would rather have died in Egypt with full bellies, than die of hunger, but free, in the desert.

So God told Moses that He would rain down bread, called manna, from Heaven and instructed the Israelites to collect only what they needed to feed them and their families for that day.  Moses pointed out to the people that their complaining was not against him, but against God.  But God had heard their moans and promised to provide food for them daily.  This would demonstrate to the people that He was the one true God and that He could, and would, provide for their needs.

Each morning, as the sun rose, the heat evaporated the morning dew and left behind the thin, flake-like manna that God had promised.  The people collected what they needed for that day, ate, and were satisfied.  Yet some were disobedient and kept aside a little extra.  By morning, however, the bread that had been saved from the day before smelled and had bred worms.  

God then instructed the people to collect twice as much on the sixth day so that they were provided for on the Sabbath, without renouncing the day of rest.  On the Sabbath, the extra bread that had been collected the day before remained appetising and nutritious.  And yet others were disobedient then, too.  They ventured out of their tents on the morning of the Sabbath in search of food, but they found none.

For forty years the Israelites were provided for in this way.  For forty years God met their needs, one day at a time.  They were entirely dependent on His provision and His remembering of them.  But He did not fail them once.

We may not be on a forty-year pilgrimage through the desert, but God calls us to live this way too.  Saving for a rainy day is not recognised language in God’s Kingdom.  He seeks to meet our needs every single day, just one day at a time.  God does not forget, He does not run out of food, or money, or clothes, or shelter.  When we submit to Him and call on Him to meet every need, He is faithful to hear us and respond.

Kathy Keller, wife to Pastor and author Timothy Keller, stated, “God doesn’t give hypothetical grace for our hypothetical nightmare situation.  He only gives us grace for our actual situation.”  So there is no point in us becoming concerned over how our needs may (or may not) be met in weeks, months, or even years to come, God will meet those needs when they arise, if they arise.  For now, He is only interested in your needs for today.  So let Him know what they are; what you are anxious for, what bills need paid, what decisions are playing on your mind.  He is our daily provision.  He is our daily bread.  For with Him, comes everything else.

Oswald Chambers said, “To trust in the Lord is to be foolish enough to know that if we fulfil God’s commands, He will look after everything.”  Our understanding is not a condition upon which God decides whether or not to act, but our obedience is.  During my search for an apartment in Germany, I got caught up in a rental scam.  It would seem that they are quite common; they used beautiful photos of an apartment, it was offered for a very reasonable monthly fee, and they claimed to use a well-known website for money transactions.  However, as emails went back and forth and I treaded carefully down this path of interest, I continued to pray for wisdom.  

I eventually identified that it was a scam and was able to successfully end all communication without parting with any money or personal details.  It was a frustrating and disappointing set of circumstances yet God had still been present throughout.  He did not let me down or allow me to get hurt or shamed.  Sometimes, He takes us far enough down the track so that we can see His hand at work, but never far enough that He can’t step in and save us.

When I lived at home with my parents, I wanted for nothing because my Dad provided.  I didn’t need to worry about where the money, or food, or rent came from, I just enjoyed it.  And isn’t our Heavenly Father just like that?  Does He not also take care of His children? We need only receive it.

But society teaches us to save, and to invest, and to protect our assets, does it not?  Shouldn’t we be ensuring our pension payments are in place so that we are provided for in retirement?  Yes and no.  God calls us to steward well what He has already given us, but that should not come at the cost of our dependence on Him.  We must be careful not to become so entangled in the pressures of the financial climate that we forget who our real Provider is.  Money, wages, pensions, savings, investments are all just methods through which God may choose to work.  Then again, He may also choose not to.  Our hope should be in Him, not in the means by which He works.

Remember, walking with God is an entirely foreign concept to the world.  God’s way often contradicts what the world expects us to do, but we should be careful not to become so complacent in the world that we lose sight of what God is asking us to do.

One of the biggest hang-ups we fight is the desire to be a people-pleaser.  Well, here’s the truth: Jesus was no people-pleaser, and we shouldn’t be either.  We are called to love people, but our goal is to please God.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, he warned them not to listen to those who adjusted the gospel for their own selfish gain or, perhaps, to ease their own conscience.  He warned them, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Notice that we can only do one or the other: please man or please God.  We cannot do both, for those very desires most often contradict one another.  If God is pleased, we need to stop worrying about who isn’t.  

When we run after His best for us, it is inevitable that we will leave people behind.  Relationships with friends or even family members who do not understand our convictions may begin to drift.  This is one of the most difficult sacrifices, perhaps, that we are called to make in our pursuit of Him.  But God remains faithful and present, and will provide us with meaningful relationships and people to run with us as we continue to chase after Him.

Matthew 19:29 promises that everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for His name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.  We must not allow emotions or earthly connections to hold us back from fulfilling God’s call on our lives.  But in God’s economy, the blessing always far outweighs the cost, whether in this life or the next.

People may think we look foolish, but few have made a difference in this world without appearing just that.  Seek wise counsel and weigh everything up against the Word of God, but don’t let the opinions or ideas of others hold you back.  Resist allowing the voices of others to define who you are.  Fix your eyes on your Shepherd and Guide, and faithfully follow His footsteps.

Our priority must be to walk in obedience to God and He will provide all else that we need.  Community is vital, but be careful to choose people who will encourage you, build you up, support you, and urge you ever closer to Jesus.  The good intentions of others are to be carefully considered and prayed over, but God’s Word has the final say.

Be encouraged by the testimonies of others and be inspired by what God has done in their lives, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because God worked in a certain way in their life, He will work the same way in yours.  God is the Creator; He invented creativity so give Him space to be creative in your own life.  Trust Him without borders and give Him free reign to do a new thing in your life, something He has never done before.

Isn’t the creativity and diversity of humanity beautiful?  Does creation not just declare the beauty and glory of a loving Father?  Why do we try so hard to all look the same when we were carefully and purposefully designed to be unique? 

We need to shrug off the opinions and expectations of others; the fear of what they think of us or the mould they try to squeeze us into.  When we embrace the life God has for us, it will not look like any life before it.  What matters is that which God asks us to do, not what others expect us to do.  Perhaps you’ve been waiting for permission to be yourself.  Well here it is – go, be you!

There will be people who don’t get it, and maybe even people who try to stop you.  But let God deal with them, you just focus on being the best version of who God made you to be.

When adventure becomes a habit, peace and contentment become routine, because we learn to be satisfied with each day as it comes.  We anticipate great things in the future, absolutely, but we do not forget to enjoy and savour the present.  

When we pursue peace, we inherit an abundant life.  The distractions that once occupied our minds no longer plague us because we rest assured in the divine sovereignty of God.  If we learn to correctly adjust our attitude, the uncertainty in life, once an ordeal, becomes an adventure!  Pastor Bill Johnson said, “You don’t get the peace that passes understanding until you give up your right to understand.”

When we truly recognise who God is and how He loves us, we will be content with whatever path He takes us on, because we understand that His will for us is more secure, more exciting, more fulfilling than anything we could achieve ourselves.

This life, this adventure that you are living, is a journey, a process.  It is not a single point in time, a destination, a goal, it is every insignificant moment in between.  Don’t waste them.  Don’t miss the minutes because you are too busy counting the hours.  Allow God to open your eyes to what He wants to say and do in each second, only then will life become a crazy, exciting, fascinating, awe-inspiring adventure.

Committing every day to God – every moment, every decision, every opportunity – is the only way to truly live a full and abundant life.  It calls for us to live a life of consistency and perseverance.  It requires that we live a life of progress, not perfection.

When we learn to live one day at a time, we reach a tipping point.  Here we are, we’re sat  at the top of the rollercoaster, and this is where the thrills and excitement of faith really kick in.  We have no idea what happens next, but we are assured that life with God is so much better than life done any other way.  No matter our needs, our struggles, our battles, this is where we are meant to be.  This is what we were created for.  So let’s throw our arms in the air and enjoy the ride.  Here it comes!

 

This blogpost is part 10 of a blog series, Adventure Awaits.

Part 1: Created for Adventure

Part 2: Beginning the Adventure

Part 3: Designed for Adventure

Part 4: Essential Tools for the Journey

Part 5: Facing Opposition

Part 6: Embracing Challenge & Change

Part 7: The Waiting Game

Part 8: Anticipating Adventure

Part 9: Packing Light

Part 10: When Adventure Becomes a Habit

Part 11: The Greatest Adventure

 

4 thoughts on “Adventure Awaits: When Adventure Becomes a Habit

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