audrey deford

art of adventure feature

Practicing the Art of Adventure :: Brittany Stoess

audrey deford

What does it look like to practice the art of adventure?

On Fridays we feature a woman who is Practicing the Art of Adventure in her daily life-stepping into the unknown, embracing change, trusting God, leaving fear, and loving extravagantly, all the while, traveling deeper into His heart. It is our desire that through their lives and stories of adventure you will be inspired & challenged to say YES to God’s invitation to follow Him. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, may you see that everyday is an opportunity to practice the art of adventure as you abide with Jesus.

We’d love for you to join us here each week!

So…what adventures is God leading you into?

How can you practice the art of adventure in your everyday life?


Grab a seat and take a minute of your day to read this encouraging interview from Brittany! Brittany and I connected recently {we randomly stumbled upon each other through Instagram!} and instantly realized that God had led us together! We both share a heart to empower us as women to embrace adventure in their everyday lives. I am incredibly excited to see how God will grow our friendship as we work more together in the future.

In her interview Brittany shares with us three ways that have helped her move beyond her fears, how she’s currently stepping out of her comfort zone as an introvert, and where she struggles to trust God. We pray through her words you will be inspired and challenged to say YES to some new adventures in your own life!

Read all the way through to see the details for our giveaway today!

First, introduce yourself {tell us where you are from, your favorite place to go or favorite thing to do, and what a “normal” day looks like for you!}

Hi! I’m Brittany. I’m a hand-lettering artist living in Chattanooga, TN, with my husband (Mike) and dog (Riley). I run a small online business called Adventure & the Wild, where I sell outdoor/adventure-themed, hand-lettered products. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking in the mountains, reading a good book, and drinking all the coffee I can get my hands on 😉

What is your current season of life right now & where are you having difficulties trusting God?

Oh gosh, I could write a book on this. I’m very much in a place of figuring things out, both personally and professionally. Most days, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing with my life! Just being an adult is hard, you guys.

Right now, the biggest thing that I struggle to trust God with is finances. I can’t tell you how many times anxiety over money has kept me up at night—paying the bills, paying off debt, beating myself up over spending too much on stupid things, trying to balance the budget at 2am.

The thing is, I know God has promised countless times that He will provide, and He has proven it over and over and over in my life. Yet I still struggle to trust Him, every time.

Share with us a specific example of how and when God has met you when you’ve walked into the unknown with Him?

When I was 21, I was dating this really amazing guy who I had been best friends and genuinely in love with for 3 years. Everything was going beautifully, we were great together, we were talking about getting married…and then one day, out of the blue, I got a very strong impression that God wanted me to break it off. I struggled with it for awhile, but He kept confirming over and over, in various ways, that He truly was asking that of me. I can’t even convey with words how heartbreaking this was.

Over the course of several months, He taught me what it meant to really let go of control, to trust Him, and to dive headfirst into the unknown. It was a fight, but once I finally let it go, He transformed me.

Even though it was incredibly dark and painful, I have never experienced more joy than I did during that time. And as I continued to walk with Him and follow Him, not knowing where He was leading—He led me right back to that same guy, who has now been my husband for 2 ½ years!

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We’d love to hear what step(s) out of your comfort zone you have taken recently or will take soon.

Ha! I’m a pretty introverted person, and can be hard to get to know (unintentional, because I really do love people, but true). I’m a perfectionist and have become a pro at being “selectively vulnerable” (you know, where you share some hard and honest things, but curate it so you still have control over how people view you).

God has been teaching me a lot about letting down my guard and risking being vulnerable—the real kind, not the curated vulnerability that I’ve become a pro at—to connect with others. This is so hard for me, but I’m trying. I have a coffee date scheduled with a new friend this week (and am honestly freaking out a little), but…small steps.

How do you hear God’s voice most clearly? Is it a time of day, a place you go, a thing you do…anything!

It always shifts a bit with the season of life that I’m in. He tends to speak to me most in nature—through sunsets and shooting stars, the mountains and colorful leaves. He’s always leaving little reminders of His love for me everywhere I look. He also speaks to me as I’m writing. I always say that I never know what I think until I write it down, and somehow, God always manages to use that to speak to me as I put the words to paper. I fully believe that He can use anything to get through to us, and I so love how He speaks to each of us in ways that are meaningful to us as individuals. So much proof of how deeply He knows and loves us!

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So much of walking with God on this adventure is about facing our fears, embracing change, and trusting Him…what is one of your biggest fears that keeps your paralyzed from saying “Yes” to God’s adventure for you?

This goes back to the whole perfectionist thing, but I often feel like I have to have it all figured out FIRST, before moving forward. I struggle with that so much. It seems so ridiculous when you break it down (“I can’t do this because I don’t have my social media planned out for the next decade and what if my business fails because I don’t have the perfect thing to post on Instagram today?!?”), but it’s hard! It applies to all areas of life, not just business. I struggle with embracing the messiness of faith, too—feeling like I have to know exactly what I believe about every single thing. Although that’s not reality,  I’m always worried that I’ll have the wrong answer.

And how do you overcome it?

  1. Remembering the simple fact that faith and life and business are messy. I think about how I would respond if a friend came to me with the same doubts and fears that I’m struggling with, and I usually realize—I’m not giving myself enough grace.
  2. The book Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey. It’s focused on the journey of sorting through what you believe as you get older and it really hit home with me. Also, literally anything by Brené Brown.
  3. It sounds strange, but working out! I’ve made fitness a priority lately, and see so many parallels between it and the rest of life. If you waited until you’re perfectly fit to start working out; you would literally never get anywhere. It’s the same with everything else: you have to just start. You won’t be perfect, but the more you keep going, the closer you’ll get to where you want to be. Working out is a good concrete reminder of that for me.

What does a life of adventure with God look like for you?

It’s about complete and total trust: leaning into the unknown, following the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and trusting that God knows what the heck he’s doing, even if it doesn’t always make sense to me. It’s that willingness to take risks, and to do hard things, because I know that wherever He leads me, that’s where He will be as well.

A life of adventure with God is also about contentment. To me, adventure is also about finding ways to explore what’s around me right now and see it in new ways. God is in the business of making all things new, and it’s only when we let things get too familiar that we lose sight of that. It’s always my goal to see the world through fresh eyes each day, and really appreciate what’s in front of me.

And before you go…we’d love to hear how God led you to start Adventure & the Wild? What is your heart behind the shop?

I worked in the nonprofit field for awhile before starting Adventure & the Wild, and really loved it. However, my position was only a year-long term, and once it was finished, I didn’t have many prospects. I’ve always loved hand-lettering and art, and had thought it would be fun to do it for a living. It seemed like everything was pointing in that direction, so I took a risk and opened for business!

Like I’ve said, I am passionate about adventure in all of its forms—the abstract faith-based kind, and the literal outdoors + travel the world kind. I wanted to share that message with others, and while my designs tend to focus primarily on nature, road trips, etc., I make a point of incorporating the bigger message in my weekly(ish) newsletters, social media, and just the way I interact with my customers. Those one-on-one connections have so much more depth + meaning, and I’m grateful God has used my business to open up those opportunities!

 

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Brittany would love to hear from you!

Find her on Instagram
Sign up for Campfire Chats to be inspired to live adventurously & get some discounts on her beautiful shop which reopens on the 14th!
and ofcourse check out her website!


{Giveaway!}

Share what new adventure the Lord is leading you into these days in the comments below and you will be entered to win a journal from the Art of Adventure shop as well as one of these beautiful prints from Adventure & the Wild!

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Comments (5)

  1. Love this interview! A lot of what Brittany says resonates with me as an introvert. I am focusing on trusting in faith everyday and feel as though Hod has a new adventure planned, but right now I am to wait. I am ok with waiting because I trust, but it is so hard to know what to do with those waiting moments! So right now everyday is an adventure moments, and learning to live with my own identity as it is.

  2. I just became the children’s pastor at our little church. Its definitely an adventure I wasn’t planning on, but I am loving it.

  3. Oh wow, where do I start with my new adventure! About a year ago I felt called to go back to school to finish out my BA. Taking that leap and applying to Washington State University was BIG and I got in for Fall 2015! What followed was a crazy adventure of following God and didn’t make any sense to many people but we did it. The short of it is, my husband got a new job Pullman (February), I finished out my part-time admin job (June), our girls finished school (June) and we moved to Pullman (June). Then October I felt called to change to the Online Campus and my major…here’s what followed….Garrett getting a new job (December), me finishing out at WSU Pullman (December) and moving back to Seattle (December). YES, we moved across the state twice in 6months. It’s been a huge growing period for me as I’ve entered into balancing school, kids, marriage and family. Plus just a change in our housing situations twice in 6months. This said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything and while it hurts I’m ‘enjoying’ the stretching God is doing.

  4. I so loved reading your interview because I am also an introvert and we have similar fears. Just meeting a new friend for lunch is a stretch – I know. I also guard my words very carefully around new people. I don’t want anybody to see what I’m not. I only want them to see my good qualities. I’m excited to see how God is changing me though and making me more outgoing and willing to share into people’s lives. LIfe is too short to not be with people in your spare time – right?

    1. Hey Gloria!

      It’s awesome to hear that God is stretching you in similar ways! It’s difficult, but I know that I’m growing through it.

      And I definitely think that it’s a balance. I’ve learned to recognize my introversion as a gift, and fully believe that quality alone time is both needed and a GOOD thing (we all need time to process what we’re learning + invest in things that keep us recharged and mentally healthy). But at the same time, it’s so important to invest in relationships + build a strong sense of community with others. We need each other!

      Thanks for reading + replying! 🙂