Missing Out on God’s Grand, Whimsical Adventure

After a terrifying episode involving being asked to dance by a stranger, I learned an important lesson about my “comfort zone.”

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A couple months ago, I read a book that redefined how I looked at my life. I posted on it previously— A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. The crux of the book was living life like it was a story. It’s a difficult concept to explain in one or two sentences, so I’ll just link to my previous post on the subject. 

https://spencerrayart.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/its-not-about-the-destination-its-about-the-journey/

God has a grand, whimsical adventure set out for us. After reading the book, I knew I had to live differently. The status quo wasn’t gonna work anymore. I had to get out there and live adventurously. Take risks. To find God in the most whimsical situations. There was one big problem— I’m actually pretty reserved. I don’t like taking risks. I, like most humans, am afraid of change. My comfort zone is, well, comfortable. I don’t want to leave it.

This all came to a head a couple weeks ago. While on a Destin, Florida vacation, my family and I were walking through the Harborwalk Village boardwalk.

This place.

Down a ways on the boardwalk, there was a free concert going on. Two country music songwriters that had written some chart-toppers for bigger names were performing. I don’t listen to country, so I didn’t recognize the songs, and I also didn’t like some of the alcohol-heavy lyrics. So, I wasn’t having a great time. All of a sudden, a blonde young woman probably about my age got up and started dancing. She was inviting others to dance with her, mainly other girls and some 6-year-olds. It wasn’t just mindlessly dancing, either— it was closer to slow dancing. I avoided direct eye contact, mainly because I thought she was nuts. With an irony that could only have come from the Almighty, she came up to me and asked me to dance with her.

At this point, time froze. Since most of you don’t know me personally, you probably don’t know that I am not suave, and I am terrible in a sudden crisis. So, as this rather attractive young woman asked me, a single young man, to dance with her, I… froze up, and quickly shook my head no as a knee-jerk reaction. Immediately, I knew I’d most likely made a mistake. She moved on, asking my younger brother and my younger sister. They also said no. 

Now, I don’t suggest that you accept every strange offer you get, or that you accept an invitation to dance with every stranger you meet. What I was being asked to do wasn’t sinful. Again, you probably shouldn’t accept every strange offer that comes your way. The reason I felt bad is because I was too afraid to leave my comfort zone. I was too afraid to answer a call to adventure… not one that called me to something unsafe, but to something pretty harmless that would only end up giving me a good story to tell. 

So why do I talk about all this? As Christians, we can’t afford to be too shy. We can’t afford to hide in our shells. We’re called to “go forth and make disciples of all nations,” and being too afraid to leave our comfort zone will hinder that mission. Along with that, the stories of our lives can only be hindered by fear of change, by fear of leaving our comfort zone and following God’s grand, whimsical adventure. If we sit around in our comfort zones and ignore the call to adventure, we’ll never develop as characters. We’ll never change. We’ll be the same boring people we were before. When we feel God calling us to adventure, we can’t ignore it. We can’t just sit around in our nice, comfortable lives and get boring. If we hear a call, we should first pray. If you feel very strongly that God is telling you no, then don’t go. But, if you feel very strongly he’s saying yes, go for it. Adventure brings about character development. It teaches us things we never would have learned had we not gone. 
So, next time a pretty girl my age asks me to dance, will I say yes? I dunno. I’ll let God be the judge there. Will I start trying to leave my comfort zone, and answer the calls to adventure? Definitely.

Were you in Destin on the night of July 12th? Are you as scared of dancing as I am? Comment below!


It’s Not About the Destination— It’s About the Journey

Can we apply rules of good storytelling to how we live our lives?

Think about it. You've seen it a thousand times in the movies— somebody's living a boring, normal life until something happens that calls them on a great adventure that changes their lives forever. That's the beginning of most stories we humans have ever told— normalcy, call to adventure, character development. It's a great basis for a story, which is why we use it for every one of 'em we tell. 

Except for our lives. 

The most important story we tell is the story of our lives. Yet, in life, we don't tell the best story we can. We settle for staleness and ignore the story God has called us to. He's got a grand adventure planned for us, but we'd rather just sit around and eat Doritos. 

Where is this all coming from? I read a book recently that changed how I think about life— Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the book, Miller shares the lessons he learned while turning his life story into a movie. It's a great read, and throughout the book he teaches principles of storytelling and tells us how we can implement them in our life story. After reading the book, I began to think. When was the last time I answered a call to adventure? When was the last time I got out of my comfort zone? I shocked myself when I realized that it had been a very long time. Like seriously, I couldn't remember the last time I'd done it. It startled me. So, I began to think, 'What adventure does God have planned for me? Why am I ignoring the call?" 

Think about Finding Nemo. It's one of my favorite films, but think about how boring the story would have been had Marlin just given up after Nemo was taken. The whole movie is Marlin being forced out of his comfort zone. When he finds Nemo and returns home, he's changed forever. He's no longer constantly in fear and worry, and he no longer wants to hinder Nemo and keep him inside. If he'd never gone out in search of Nemo, he'd never have changed. He'd still be the same character. 

The journey is a time of refining and change. Going on the adventure God has planned for us won't leave us the same once we come out on the other side. If we live without changing or without undergoing character development, we're not living a great story. 

In our lives, we need to get out there and live. We need to continue using our brains and following our morals, yes, but we need to start living great stories. 

Here comes the challenge. I took it upon myself to make a list of fun little adventures I'd like to go on. Not a bucket list. That's too confining. Once this list is complete, I want to start another one. I picked 24 items (you don't have to do that many), including poke a live fish, grow a beard, play bagpipes, learn to juggle, and many more. 

Start an adventure list to start tackling with your loved ones. Make some memories you'll regale others with around the fire twenty years from now. As stated in the movie Up,  "Adventure is out there!" Go find it. Go grow as a character. But still use your brain and your better judgement. God's calling for you probably isn't to die like that hairy El Macho guy from the second Despicable Me movie.