Fear is a peculiar thing. It compels us to avoid “risk” and idolize so-called safety. I had never thought of myself as a fearful person until I realized that I was allowing my life to be completely ruled by fear. It was not a fear of heights or darkness or strangers; rather, it was a fear of not being in control. Until my family moved to Africa in 2009, I had no idea that, in the quiet steadiness of my young life, I had never really had to give God complete control. I was so un-free in my carefully controlled life that it pains me to think of it. Yet, at the same time, I look at where God has brought me now, and I smile for all He has done in me.
Despite being someone who has moved twenty or so times, lived in multiple countries, and done all sorts of fascinating things, I never really liked adventure. To my mind, “adventure” was synonymous with “uncertainty” – and that was something I couldn’t bear. Adventure meant risking trust because I can’t be in control. Adventure meant that things might be different than I’d hoped or planned. Adventure meant adaptability. And if I was one thing, I was unadaptable. Was.
Now I can confidently and joyfully say that I love adventure. It is still scary sometimes in that it holds the possibility for so many unknowns, but I am safe in the hands of the One who knows all. Adaptability and flexibility are things I have been learning relentlessly over the past few years, and many of these moments have been exhausting and difficult for this list-loving, plan-making girl.
I still have those moments where I think I just can’t cope with not knowing precisely where this adventure will lead me – I even had some moments earlier this week! But now that I have had a taste of this freedom, there is no going back. I will live out this adventure with passion, my eyes fixed on my Lord, or I will not do it at all. I can’t do it alone; I need the joy of the Lord to be my strength, and I need Him to be strong where I am weak.
A few weeks ago I told God, “I feel like I jumped off a cliff, and I can’t see the bottom. Please catch me!” And God in His gentle way replied, “Sweetheart, you never left my Hand.”
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” – Deuteronomy 33:27 NKJV
I am discovering more each day that adventure is never a risk with God because He is both wholly sovereign and wholly good. A life of adventure is not a life of ease – it is not a place for clinging to false security but rather for recognizing the trustworthiness of my God. God alone is my safe place, and in Him I am free to live wild and love well. He has freed me to fearlessly embrace the fullness of the adventure He has called me to.
In Christ, our freedom is given all at once but lived in over time. It is the way of every great victory that the victors must learn to live in the fullness of what they have attained. All too often we act like we are still captive to the fears that we were in before Jesus. But that is the key: before Jesus. Once we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are set free by the redeeming power of His blood. This freedom is not merely a release from our sin nature; rather, it is an invitation to live in the fullness of the victory He has already won.
I went on my first zip line recently, but it didn’t seem very zippy – or very high. It definitely needed more adventure. I am laughing to myself as I contemplate this – I, the girl who was once unable to cope with unplanned situations, have become a lover of adventure with a desire to seek new things. I still have much to learn about walking in this kind of freedom, but I am enjoying noting the outward manifestation of true heart-transformation. The victory of Jesus at the Cross was total; fear and cowering no longer have a place in my life. I am learning to be a thrill-seeker in the best sense, because, deep within my spirit, I know the truth is that there is only One who is wild enough to satisfy my craving for adventure. Imbedded in the very core of who we are is an unquenchable longing for adventure because we are made in the image of our God, and our God is a God of adventure. So no matter how diligently we try to squelch it or how wrongly we try to satiate it, our longing can only be satisfied in the One who is adventurous by nature.
Rich Mullins said, “God is a wild man.” He went on to say that most of us would prefer a tame God who would always do the expected. But then again, that would be terribly dull – and terribly unlike the amazing nature of our God. There is a difference between “wild” and “crazy.” God is wild because He is untamable – utterly unconquerable. Living adventurously is about living wild as our God is wild – not about doing crazy (i.e. dumb, thoughtless, insane) things. Our God is a God of adventure, and He is calling us into a Great Adventure with Him. Adventure is about a process – it is about the doing and the going. To be fixated simply on “getting there” is to miss out on the beauty of what God is doing now. We are called to live lives that are as wild and limitless as our God.
May His kindness release you to live wild and love well. Be free, my friends!