On Monday, April 16th the new Sacred Adventures: A Travel Journal For Your Soul will be available in the shop! We have spent the past year designing this creative resource for you and we are excited to finally be releasing it into the world! At Art of Adventure, we believe our souls were created to travel with God into the unknown, to take tiny risks, and to explore the depths of His heart within the beautiful expanse of our everyday lives.
In this 3-part series, I will be introducing three rhythms that awaken us to our adventure with God. These also represent the three different sections you will find within our new journal.
You can read yesterday’s, the rhythm of savoring here and today’s is on the rhythm of exploring.
Have you ever heard of Grandma Gatewood?
She hiked the Appalachian Trail, not once, but three times. The first time in 1955 at the age of sixty-seven. Emma Rowena Gatewood was an extreme hiker and ultra-light hiking pioneer who was the first woman to hike the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail.
Not only that, she walked 2,000 miles of the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Portland, Oregon, averaging 22 miles a day. She traveled to every state of the continental United States.
When she first headed out the door to hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 with a small denim bag filled with an army blanket, a raincoat, and a plastic shower curtain, she was wearing a simple pair of Keds sneakers and told her adult children, “she was going for a walk.” (you can learn more about her story here and this book I’m about to read!)
Imagine if every day we woke up with this same desire to go for a walk with the heart of an explorer- ready to discover God’s voice and love in every crack and crevice of our life?
Imagine if we cultivated the extreme simplicity, quiet passion, raw curiosity, and fresh vigor of a Grandma Gatewood in our soul?
When I think of the rhythm of exploring I hear the simple, yet profound declaration of this 67- year old woman saying, “I’m going for a walk” and then eventually becoming a hiking pioneer of her day. I also picture my son outside on his hands and knees, dirt under his nails, with his face two centimeters from the soil telling me, “I’m hunting for bugs!”
Schoolwork exasperates my son in 20 minutes but discovering the world of insects can hold his attention for hours. I watch as he turns over rocks and peers in cracks in search of his many-legged companions. His fingers are quick and gentle. He catches them unharmed and keeps them as friends for days.
The rhythm of exploring awakens our senses as much as it does our dreams. Exploration is a kind of recurring celebration of transformation and new life. We approach every season with a heart of wonder, on the hunt for opportunities to discover the depths of His heart.
Although most of us won’t be undertaking the Appalachian Trail with a pair of Keds shoes and a small knapsack or turning over rocks and holding up wiggly green creatures under a magnifying glass, aren’t we are all dying to explore more?
The Bible urges us to walk (for further study read: Is. 40:31, Gal. 5:16, 25, 1 Jn. 1:7, Eph. 5:2, Col. 2:6, 2 Cor. 5:7) , to get outside the lines of the pages we are always coloring in, and follow Jesus into the dirt, into dreams, charting new territory into places we never dared to go.
What will it take for us to trust Him though (“Without trust, no human being can live,” writes Henri Nouwen)to bring back the rhythm of exploration into our life, to unearth our childhood innocence and truly be born again?
My husband and I often talk about this adventure with God as a treasure hunt, a searching for clues along our walk. We are always on the lookout for what He is up to, or about to do.
If He says, “Try it and see what happens,” we hope to be the kind of people who aren’t afraid to take the step towards His surprising directions. We tend to operate from the basis that, indeed, anything is possible with Him.
You can also find both of us in tears as we drive and listen to Guy Raz interview unlikely entrepreneurs on his podcast. Our hearts jump and twirl when we hear of people like ourselves fearlessly and humbly pursuing a seemingly ridiculous idea on their heart. These are the ones who have not let the rhythm of exploration die in their lives. They have kept it alive through the same extreme simplicity, quiet passion, raw curiosity, and fresh vigor that a person like Grandma Gatewood possessed.
Although, most of the people on the show have probably never peeked in the Bible, they speak a language I know. Faith and trust.
The entrepreneurs talk of making countless mistakes, sitting in failures, feeling stuck, hopeless situations, and unexpected barricades, but still they keep playing, cultivating wonder, peering over the edge, peeking in the cracks, turning over rocks, and putting on the shoes…
they keep walking, every single time.
I just read today, “As people dredge the unknown, they are engaging in a highly creative act.” Even more interesting, it was noted that “an incredible 50 percent of patents resulted from what could be described as a serendipitous process…survey respondents reported that their idea evolved when they were working on an unrelated project- and often when they weren’t even trying to invent anything.”
What does this all have to do with the rhythm of exploring and coming alive to our adventure with God?
The God we follow invites us to walk, but not just aimlessly. He is inviting us to conduct our lives in a more childlike manner, exploring the paths of our days with excitement and expectation, following the Holy Spirit’s leading, and speaking the language of faith, love, and truth with every step. God understands the destination isn’t as nearly as important as our perspective.
“Explore with me today,” He welcomes us even in our withdrawn ways.
Whether you are sixty-seven or six, it’s not too late to start seeing the world, your days, through the eyes of an explorer, ready to travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery.
You never know what you might find when you let wonderlust (my re-wording of the common term wanderlust) get the best of you!