Do You Want to Go on an Adventure?

Adventure
(Originally Posted – July 2015)
     Eleven days backpacking and canoeing in the Adirondack Mountains. No running water, no deodorant (I’ll pause while you wrinkle up your nose), completely unplugged from technology, and carrying approximately two and a half changes of clothes. I had spent so much time telling God that I wanted to go on a grand adventure. But the night before I left for a trip that seemed pretty adventurous, I was afraid. 
     Oh man, was I afraid. Afraid of excessive B.O., afraid I was in lousy shape, afraid to be stretched spiritually, afraid of being bitten by some malaria carrying mosquito. Ok so the last one was probably an exaggeration, but still, I had a laundry list of fears.  
     But here’s what I learned: adventures are not easy. They are not even always pleasant. Think about why we love adventure stories. It’s not because everything is always hunky dory. The knights of King Arthur, Harry Potter, all our favorite Disney princesses faced a challenge or a hurdle, something they had to overcome. Or even look in the Bible at David, Joseph, or Esther.  Without that there would be no story. Those characters wouldn’t be heroes. Without the dragon or the rival kingdom, without Dudley or the Tri-Wizard Tournament, without a sea witch or a lack of dress for the ball, without a giant or jealous brothers, it wouldn’t be an adventure. 
     And you can bet each and every one of those characters was afraid. You can bet the going got tough. But we love the story because they made it. They pushed through whatever was thrown at them, because they knew there was something bigger on the other side. That’s part of what I learned. We get so freaked out about temporary discomfort. As humans we’re creatures of comfort; and one our favorite pass times is complaining when something isn’t going the way we like. But there’s something to be said for learning how to be uncomfortable. Yes, challenges, things that stretch us are no fun at times, but when we persevere and don’t wimp out the first chance we get, we actually get the chance to see what’s on the other side. On my trip that meant physically pushing myself on a difficult portage or a long hike, and getting to see the view at the summit or experience the feeling of reward and accomplishment. In life it means experiencing the bad days and the sad days, and becoming a stronger person or learning something through them. If we’re scared of ever being uncomfortable, if we avoid leaving our comfort zone at all costs, how will we grow? 
     For me, it boiled down to a trust thing. I love to be in control, love with a capital L. But the thing about an adventure is that you really can’t be. You don’t know what’s going to happen next; you’re not on a schedule; you reach the end of your ability to manipulate your circumstances. So what do you do? Do you freak out and try harder to figure it out? Or do you make a decision? A decision to trust God, the One who brought you on this adventure in the first place. The One who has the ability to keep you entirely safe. The One who is actually in control of your circumstances. The One who knows what’s at the end of the adventure and has a purpose for each step along the way. Realizing that you are utterly powerless to control this thing brings an incredible amount of freedom. It allows you to just be present and soak up the experience. And it comes with a stillness like you’ve never experienced before, trust me. All it takes is acknowledging that God’s got it, because you can’t. Let Him take you on an adventure. 

 

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Love In the Everyday

(Originally Posted – February 2015)

City
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and old songs and new songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.”

Jesus talked with people.

Jesus walked with people.

Jesus ate with people.

Jesus prayed with people.

Jesus suffered with people.

We see Him talking with a woman when she comes to get water from the well.

We see Him meet his disciples on the road after He has been resurrected.

We see Him eat with the tax collectors.

We see Him pray with the disciples in the Garden before He is arrested.

We see Him grieve with Mary when Lazarus dies.

So what would it look like for us to love people like Jesus did? If Jesus were here right now, would it really look as different as we think?

We would see Him talking with the worn and exhausted single mother behind Him in the grocery store line.

We would see Him walking along Main Street with the man who just lost his job and his hope.

We would see Him listening to the girl pouring out her heartbreak over countless cups of coffee.

We would see Him kneel and pray with the broken man who just lost his wife of 50 years.

We would see Him holding the hand of the sobbing woman shattered by her cancer diagnosis.

He would be meeting people in the swirling chaos of their lives. He would be the one to hear their desperate cry for a miracle and run to them with arms wide open. He would freely give whatever he could to sooth the aching soul of another. Just like He always did. Jesus was in the business loving up on people. It didn’t matter how disheveled or worn or messed up they were. He took the time to love them in His everyday.

He asks us to do the same.

The Darkest Nights

Just a note: I’m beginning this new blog by sharing a few posts from my old blog. To see more archived posts, visit: http://teanwarmsocks.blogspot.com.

(Originally posted – January 2015)

The stars are brilliantly bright tonight. The multitude of them covers the sky, darker than a pocket. I have an overwhelming affection for the stars. And on nights like tonight, they remind me of two things.

One. They leave me in absolute awe. The Creator of those stars, that vast expanse of beauty and intricacy, sees me. He wants my heart. His thoughts about me outnumber the stars in that sky. Wow.

 

Night sky praise

 

Two. The stars shine the brightest; we see them the clearest, on the darkest, coldest nights. Kind of like life. God has shown Himself to me most clearly on my coldest days. He has taught me lessons that I was not capable of understanding at any other point in my life during the hard times. In my times of greatest pain, I have seen Him at work more clearly than every before. It’s incredible, really. Just like the stars shining on a cold, but clear night.