I have finally come to realize that my life doesn’t have a normal.
My life is the one and only thing I could ever wish it to be: a big, grand adventure. I didn’t even have to leave my current place of residence to find it. The adventure came to me.
- an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
- to engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.
I chuckled when I saw these definitions (thanks Google). They could not be more true. Adventure could also be known as that place just outside your comfort zone where you grow the most.
“Adventure is not a destination. It is a lens through which we view the world.”
Two days ago on February 12, 2018, I celebrated a one month milestone. One month of being in a formal friendship with a very special human being named Darcy. The start of this friendship back in January began a process of searching for the true me. I had always intended that 2018 would be “the year I find myself”, but I wasn’t prepared for the search to start as early as the 12th of January or for it to be so different than I had planned. In December of 2017 I was pretty convinced that I would be starting 2018 as well as my 18th year of life alone, by myself with the Lord. By January (the 1st to be exact), I had come to grips with that and was prepared to live the rest of my life as a single person.
I am so thankful the Lord brought me to that place of surrender before I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.
I would consider myself an outdoor adventurer. I love the challenges of exploring the world without motorized assistance. I find so much contentment in being a part of the natural world by living outside. Exploring territory that, to me, was previously unknown is thrilling. But my absolute favorite thing about living in the outdoors is discovering how God created it to be. When I’m out hiking on the ridge and it starts to blow really hard I can’t go inside the house and shut the wind out. Sometimes I can’t even put on more layers because I am already wearing all that I brought with me. In those situations I have to figure out what the Lord created to shelter me from the wind. Enter the valleys! So when it blows, down into the valleys I go. When the snow is too deep in the valleys or the valleys are too icy to be safe for me, up to the top I go. It is this challenge of figuring out how to use God’s creation to survive in God’s creation that makes me so so happy and content.
With a physical hike, however, comes a mental hike.
In these past two days I have been hiking the mountains of my mind. The climbs are tough, the shale is abundant, and the winds blow fierce. But through all of this I see so clearly that the shale, the wind, and the incline were not created purposely to discourage me or to make my climb harder but to make me stronger and more knowledgeable. Yes they make the climb harder, yes they can make me discouraged but it all depends where I’m looking. If my expectation is to reach the top of the mountain, instead of live the journey I am going to get more discouraged because it seems like there is so much that gets in my way. However, if I have the mountain top as a goal, but keep my focus on each section one at a time it will be so much easier mentally. I don’t know the challenges each section of the hike will bring. I have no idea! But I do know that each section adds up to equal the hike. Each section must be gone through, there is no way around, under, or over. The only way is forward. In the journey of life, going back doesn’t even get you around that mountain. Sooner or later you will come up to it again and have to go over.
My relationship with Darcy has taught me so much about hiking the trail of life. The best part? I’m not hiking this hike alone, humanly speaking.
I don’t know.
Those three words (four if you fill out the contraction) have never been so real before. I didn’t know what was going to happen when I went to work January 12th and I still don’t know what is going to happen from moment to moment 34 days later. The difference is, though, that when I woke up on the 12th I thought I knew what I would be doing that day. Now, on the 14th, I know that I don’t know what is going to happen in 5 minutes. And ya know what? I’m completely fine with that.
Now, does this mean I throw my hands in the air and say “I don’t know” all the time to everything? No. I still plan for things I want to do, places I want to go, but I don’t try and plan the journey. I embrace the goals and dreams God has put in my heart, but I am willing to live whatever journey He has prepared for me between now and the fulfillment of that goal.
It is good and I think it is even necessary for us to have goals and dreams. They can help keep us motivated and moving forward in life. The problem starts when we have expectations for how we are going to get there. For instance, I want to finish school today. Normally I would write out a list of what subjects I’m going to do when and how much I’m going to do of that subject for how long. Usually, this would leave me a frustrated, tired, grumpy girl at the end of the day because I didn’t get it done the way I wanted. Now, I think “Today I need to get school done.” Do I make a “how much for how long” list? No. I write a list of the tasks that need to be accomplished in order for school to be considered done. I have the goal of finishing today’s school in mind but I live the journey. If the Lord gives me inspiration for a blog post in the middle of Chemistry homework, I take the time to sit down and write it. Then I continue on with Chemistry. True story by the way. 🙂 I have it on my mental list today to sew some curtains for my room. If something were to come up between now and tonight that would prevent me from sewing, I would simply keep the goal in mind and try again to accomplish it tomorrow. But I would not allow the curtains not getting sewn to wreck my attitude. The Lord knows. If He wants the curtains sewn the same time I want them sewn, He will give me time to accomplish it.
“I don’t know” are some of the most truthful words I have ever said.
I don’t know, but Jesus does.
Let’s focus on the journey of life. This is the trail we hike in our minds and hearts. When it gets dark, you can’t just turn on your headlamp and keep hiking. You have to depend on illumination that is bigger than you can provide. For me, that light is the Light of Jesus.
“You Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into Light.” Psalm 18:28
“For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28 NKJV
The land of formal friendship that Darcy and I are exploring is just as foreign to him as it is to me. Even if one of us had experience I doubt it would do us any good as each relationship is created to be so unique and different than any other relationship past, present, or future. As I mentioned before, it is on this hike that I have learned the truth of the words I don’t know, but Jesus does. The terrain ahead and the valleys we just came through… we didn’t know they were coming. We had an idea, but we didn’t know for sure and we didn’t know how we were going to get through them. But the Lord was there. He knew, He had prepared a way and because we sought His way, followed His direction, and spent time at His feet waiting we made it through. Difficult? More than words can say. Worth every scratch and heart break? Without a doubt. Everything we encountered on the journey out of that valley made us stronger because we depended on Him to light our path. We are stronger together and stronger in the Lord because of the grueling hardships we have encountered on our journey so far.
“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For [God] is with me; [His] rod and [His] staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NKJV
“Send forth your Word, Lord, and let there be Light!” Shine Jesus Shine by Graham Kendrick