Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
Wendell Berry, The Timbered Choir
Most of us wouldn’t dare to scale El Capitan without a rope like Alex Honnold did last year. We also wouldn’t even think about circumventing the globe on a sailboat alone, sky diving out of an airplane, scaling Mount Everest, or stalking alligators on the Yangtze river.
We’re working hard to save our lives, not place ourselves intentionally in dangerous positions.
If you’re like me, you’ve automatically assumed adventure is not for you because the types of activities that get labeled as “adventurous” seem too crazy and just plain stupid to us.
We would never attempt to take that kind of risk.
But have you ever given your heart to someone- a child, spouse, friend, God?
Then, guess what?
You are already practicing the rhythm of risk. You are on your way to coming alive to your adventure with God! Sure, you are taking risks that the world will never broadcast, magazines will never publish, and even those closest to you may not recognize, but it’s time for you to re-frame risk today.
When I look back over my life with this new perspective, I realize I did risk. And oddly enough, the risks I remember all had one thing in common- love. And they were usually small and unnoticed. There weren’t many encouraging me from the sidelines to move beyond my subtle fears. But from an eternal perspective, the most meaningful risks are those taken when no one is watching.
Genuine risk culminates in the space of relationship- the quiet, timid, decisions you make a hundred times a day to give your heart to another, to keep showing up for people, to continue seeking God in the mystery of life.
Of course, our culture will never call this kind of stuff risk.
But our inspiration comes from a man who risked it ALL.
Jesus shows us the obscure and hidden path of loving God and loving people is where we discover heart-stopping surprises, breath-taking thrills, and the beauty of an adventure beyond ourselves.
Jesus’ walked His entire life in the rhythm of risk.
“God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8 (MSG)
“Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)
For the past nine years or more my husband and I have moved every two years. I’ll let you imagine how difficult it was to make and sustain friendships. At times, the pattern made me too exhausted to extend myself to others. I’d rather stay cloistered up with my children, coddling my excuses, and avoiding intimacy with people because I know it won’t last.
But looking back I’m so relieved I didn’t stay cooped up and comfortable. Instead, by God’s strengthening grace, I reached out my feeble hands to meet strangers, invited others in for simple meals, and shared vulnerable spaces of my heart with people I might not see again.
Every time, those risks felt trivial, but looking back, I see now- they were my El Capitan.
It may feel like you’re dying, but we will never regret keeping the rhythm of risk alive in our life. Giving without expecting anything in return, listening intently, initiating relationships, and cultivating a welcoming heart and home all require us to take the greatest risk- love.
Compared to people like an Alex Honnold who could die with one slip of the hand, who attract the attention of media and capture the attention of a crowd, love definitely doesn’t feel as risky in the moment.
I’m sure Ruth never considered her decision in the desert to travel with her mother-in-law to a new land anything that would change the world. But it did. And it changed her too.
Like Ruth, if we practice whispering yes to God’s consistent invitations to give our lives away, to climb our own El Capitan, we will find ourselves on the mountain top of gratitude, living in the land of His love, harvesting in the field of abundance, and feasting on joy.
However, we must acknowledge the truth. Risk means inevitable death. We die to ourselves and our plans and our idea of a good life. Thankfully, risk with God doesn’t stop there.
Risk opens the door for Him to reveal His resurrection power and move and provide in miraculous ways…it changes the world around us.
What would it look like for you to establish a rhythm of risk throughout your days?
Jot down what He’s stirring in your heart.
Do you trust that more of His beauty awaits you on the other side of the risk?
What a joy to travel with you this week! I am looking forward to sharing the new Sacred Adventures: A Travel Journal For Your Soul in the shop on Monday! 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.
This three- part series on the rhythms that awaken us to our adventure with God, also represent the three different sections you will find within our new journal.