No one dreams of living a meaningless life, therefore we are all haunted by the big questions. What am I doing with my life? What am I going to major in? What am I going to be when I grow up? Who am I going to marry? Where am I going to live? What am I going to do this summer? Where am I going to go to college? Even to the point of what sort adventure am I going to have this weekend? Basically we are all wondering how we are going to impact the world. Leave a mark. Do something that will matter. No one wants to be forgotten.
Asking these questions is good because it shows we don’t want to be just ordinary, but that we long to be the most extraordinary version of ourselves. The tipping point in this dreaming state is being too consumed by the big questions that we become numb to the small questions. We forget the significance in the small adventures, the day-to-day life impacting experiences.
As I near the end of this five month life changing experience with Youth with a Mission I am beginning to hear the questions: What did you learn?
When I look at the experience as a whole I realize I lived one crazy adventure the last few months and I am leaving more of who I was always meant to be than I ever thought imaginable. Reality is adventure changes our lives. Every big adventure impacts us, but as I began to think more specifically, what have I learned while being on outreach in Los Angeles? When I think adventure I think South Africa or Nepal not LA, the place I have lived for several years now.
I was frustrated that the Lord said LA because it sounded like a mediocre adventure not a great adventure. I felt this way because I had outgrown enjoying small adventures. Growing up is so good, but there must be a reason the Bible says to have faith like a child. A child lives for days outdoors creating games of pirate ship on their everyday played on playset. Same playset, but new day, different adventure.
If I have learned anything from doing an outreach in LA it is that every ordinary day is just waiting to be taken as an adventure. Like, that casual Tuesday that Tory and I decided to take a bathroom break at Starbucks and ran into two hippie kids, within hours we all became best friends while simultaneously getting life lessons from the Famous Armenian comedian Playboy Jack that was sitting like a mobster outside of Starbucks with his friends. He loved Jesus because twelve years ago Jesus showed up in his bedroom and he hasn’t touched drugs since. After a lifetime of drug addiction this change was significant. After offering to buy us coffee he told us his story and influenced ours. He exclaimed that he now, “Dances with fear.” Just hearing him say the number twelve struck the childlike cord in me, earlier that morning the Lord had casually highlighted the number twelve while I was reading through his word. It was simple, it was childlike to notice, but it made the whole situation more fun even if it was only more fun for me.
Adventure even to the simplest point only fror one’s own amusement can change a person’s outlook on life if they let it. As I ran this morning I ran up Hill to New York, passing Michigan I ran right into a Lake until I ran smack into Elizabeth who was helping with the casual Nissan Commercial then I proceeded home by running around down Hill to get some Rite Aid to turn home. If you didn’t catch on those were street names that I ran on this morning. So simple, but yet so enjoyable for my own laughter. The Nissan Commercial was happening just down the street from where we live I guess that adds adventure from the perk of living in LA County.
Fear is stripped away when we begin to take notice of the simple joys. Yes, of course, I still ask the big questions. I desire to live in the tension of dreamer and living in the moment. I believe this desire is accomplishable. Noticing each moment’s coincidence could decide your next big adventure. God speaks constantly, if we start listening we learn a lot about our own lives. I wouldn’t be going to Alaska if it were not for this idea. As I felt like I should actually apply for the Alaska fishery job this summer I took it straight to the Lord. Unsure of what he was saying I began to request specific signs to know this is actually where he is leading me deciding that I will be pleased with either outcome. Often this is called casting a fleece. Within three days I had at least five random signs that spoke that Alaska was the next big adventure. It was simple things from people who had no idea what I had been praying about that brought the words that would determine my summer adventure. It was as random as someone asking me if I was from Alaska, to the T-shirt I found for free at a thrift shop saying Alaska without me realizing it until Violet pointed it out, to our speaker being from Alaska.
Many often claim they can’t hear Gods voice, but what if that is because they are looking for the big signs when the small signs are just passing by left and right?
It doesn’t mean going out and seeking the best adventure of every moment, but enjoying the things that come your way when you are living an ordinary day. It is appreciating the conversation that began with a stranger complimenting your overalls that you decided to wear that day. Take simple steps and listen close. Childlikeness is key to enjoying and finding the big adventures for your life.