067 – Adversity Makes it Possible for Life to be a Great Adventure

An adventure is an exciting or very unusual experience, one that is  bold and risky. If the outcomes are certain, it is not an adventure. If you already know what you will see, encounter, and navigate it is not an adventure. Adversity grows us, prepares us, and emboldens us to live an adventurous life. We’ve decided that one of the criteria for the paths we will choose in the future–it MUST be an adventure. 

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As our friends know, we are in major transition… still! Everything has been changing in our lives for over 5 years and everything continues to morph into something new. This journey began with the loss of our spouses. It began in pain and progressed to travail. Foundational to my life are three decisions I made up front in the grief process. #1 – I will be whole again no matter what it takes. #2 – I choose to believe that good things are going to happen in my future that would not have happened without this tragedy happening first. #3 – The pain of this journey cost too much to waste, I will make a difference through this pain.

Another Tough Anniversary Causes Reflection

This week was the anniversary of Dave’s death and Donna’s near death. Anniversaries are reflective. you take inventory and resurface the “whys.” I feel sheepish sometimes to keep bringing this up, but unless you’ve lost a spouse you have absolutely no idea or imagination of how it shreds your entire life, especially if you had a good and healthy relationship of being “one” according to God’s plan. You don’t just lose someone important to you, after 30+ years you lose who you’ve become, you lose yourself and have to figure out who you are in Christ in your new reality. I’m tired of the sideways glances I sometimes get because I am “still” dealing with this after 5 years. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g changed, has changed, and hopefully, will keep changing. 

Calibrate Life is about pressing beyond the tough stuff and living life again. It is leveraging the adversity in YOUR life to go places you could not have gone before. You can be out for the count or you can get up and find an awesome new life that you could not have known in the status quo you lived in before you got jarred out of it. 

God constantly tries to show us things, teach us things, grow us, but adversity, loss, pain, tragedy and trials thrust us into the travail that brings us into new life. 

That which has happened to us (read Philippians) has served for the furtherance of God’s agenda in unique ways. I don’t want to minimize my colleagues who are just like we were 6 years ago, but I firmly believe that most of us HAVE survived pain and near devastation. This is not a “David and Donna” story, this is universal. 

So, as we are fine tuning our next steps, having jumped off of the luxury cruise liner I’ve ridden on for 23 years and climbing up on a raft to be carried by the currents to destination unknown, we are choosing our next steps carefully. 

We’ve Decided Our Lives MUST be an Adventure [12:07]

Our lives have become a great adventure, and I want to keep the adventure part. I don’t want to live the rest of our days in mediocrity, status quo, drifting. This journey cost way too much to waste what we’ve learned on things that don’t matter. 

I don’t want to plant a vanilla church where we’ve got to fined a guitar player, a drummer, and people to “work” the nursery. No. If we plant a church I want to do so with the realization that a church is not a “what,” it is a “who.” If we go to the other side of the world and lend our gifts to those to whom we are called, I don’t want to spend 80% of my time operating a structure and only 20% of my time investing the uniqueness of what God has given me. I’ve done that for too many years already. 

Over 5 years ago we were shaken onto a new path. We feel our future must be an adventure. 

What is Life as an Adventure? [13:57]

We went on an adventure to the French Alps. We explored and experienced things we’d never seen before. We rented a mazot in an unfamiliar place and we were not quite sure what was going to happen. The exhilaration of not really knowing how things will work out or what will come next is an adventure. If we go back and rent the same mazot, go the same places, take the same routes, it will not be an adventure. If we go and do new things and expand our experiences to the next level, then it will be another adventure. 

I am learning the joy of adventure. We just returned from South Africa. We rented a car in Johannesburg and did a lot of exploring. We explored a good bit and had many adventures. It is exhilarating to fly into a new place and explore and figure things out as you go. 

Adventure is the opposite of status quo.

An adventure is an unusual experience, one you have never had before, or one that is outside the norm. It takes courage to go on an adventure. There is always risk involved because you cannot experience unusual things and unique paths unless you are willing to embrace the risks they may present. In fact, the potential for risk make it an adventure. Perhaps not life threatening risk, but risking the experience of the unknown, risking inconvenience, risking the comfort zone we love so much. 

In an adventure the outcomes are uncertain.

For it to be an adventure the outcomes must be uncertain. We can plan, calculate, strategize, and have a good estimate of the outcomes, but adventure necessitates that the outcomes are never fully assured, and we accept the reality that some outcomes will be something other than those planned or expected. 

What is Life as a Great Adventure? [26:51]

The Great Adventure is more than a singular adventure. The great adventure is protracted. It is a life adventure that requires living life within a sense of risk and the unknown. Surrendering our lives to God is a great adventure. Everything changes. We embrace the living of unusual lives. Everything is defined by the decision to follow. It is risky, the future is unknown because it is not of our making, and we become explorers of the new God-reality. 

Having lived life in my comfort zone for many years, the call to step into a great adventure was both appealing and frightening. “Great” is an adjective denoting something unusually or comparatively large (dictionary.com). “Great” coupled with “adventure” describes an adventure of great proportion, an out-of-the-ordinary adventure, an unusually grand adventure. A great adventure is going after a life transformational path that will take you places you never thought of, open doors you did not know existed, and will lead you to a fulfillment you cannot even imagine. The risk is, what if you don’t make it? What if it blows up on you and you are sorry you left your comfort zone. This is why the great adventure must be a God adventure. 

A great adventure is going after a life transformational path that will take you places you never thought of, open doors you did not know existed, and will lead you to a fulfillment you cannot even imagine.

God prompts us to trust him. To follow him outside our comfort zone to places unknown. We have to trust God that the place we end up is better than the place we would’ve ended up had we not followed him. How can an ordinary and timid little boy end up as a fearless explorer and adventurer? I am just following. The path placed before me is a matter of obeying or disobeying. God calls us to the great adventure of following him and stepping into the unseen realm where our life purpose is discovered with an overwhelming joy.

The Great Adventure is not about outcomes, successes, or wealth. The Great Adventure is about adventure and joy. It is breaking free of the gravitational pull of a comfort zone that will always result in mediocrity. The Great Adventure is a moonshot from which we may not return, but the joy of experiencing the fulfillment of all that God has breathed into us emboldens us to risk what we have for the greater thing God has for us. If we survive, that is a bonus, if not, the joy of the adventure was totally worth it!

Adversity Launches us into the Great Adventure [33:20]

Adversity causes the status quo to evaporate. What once was, the life in which I found great comfort, no longer exists. It is gone. It has evaporated. 

(Donna) sometold me I could do anything I wanted to do now. It made me angry. I was doing what I wanted to do…)

What do you do when you lose everything? You realize nothing is holding you back, you aren’t risking anything because everything is already gone, and you are totally free to pursue the things you’ve always wanted to pursue. Your anchors are gone and a Great Adventure awaits. 

Calibration Tools… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead [39:25]

  1. What are the “things which have happened to you (Philippians)?” Consider the adversity, the hard things you’ve experienced. How have those shaped you? What has your adversity prepared you for?
  2. Consider the things you’ve lost. It could be hope, dreams, a job, an opportunity, a person, a love, a friendship, etc. How have your losses prepared you to pursue the God-adventure that lives deep within you?
  3. Are you battling the status quo? The things we dreamed at first get knocked out of us by day to day reality. What bold paths must you doggedly pursue to lift out of the status quo you know is not God’s heart or plan? What are you willing to release to move into the adventure zone?

Finally…

Settlers settle. They started out for California and Oregon, but they settled in Indiana and Oklahoma. It is so easy to settle. All you have to do is decide to drive stakes and start clearing the ground. Is the audaciousness of what God has shown you worth it? Is it worth the risk and the discomfort. 

Our loss cost too much to not take the gold refined in the fire and spend it on something of eternal worth. I’m still not sure exactly what our future looks like, but I am sure, it has to align with God’s great adventure.

 

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