Having let go of a lot of significant things about our former life, and having made an ongoing decision to step into a new life, new adventures, and new focus, we’ve found these 6 things to be true and necessary for taking risks and going in unproven new life directions. 

Continue Reading for the Article and the Episode Notes…

Six Things You Must Be Willing to Do Before You Can Embrace YOUR Great Adventure

Having let go of a lot of significant things about our former life, and having made an ongoing decision to step into a new life, new adventures, and new focus, we’ve found these 6 things to be true and necessary for taking risks and going in unproven new life directions. 

These 6 components were originally in episode 012, recorded on the canals of Venice, Italy. We’ve recorded so much content, we believe some of it is worthy of re-broadcast, but rather than re-broadcast, we just took the 6 main point from the episode and built and entirely new episode around them, just to see how our perspectives may have changed over the past 2 years. This is a totally different podcast using a similar outline to the one we used back in episode 12

#1 … We have to be willing to embrace a new path

You cannot walk a new path and the old one at the same time.

African Proverb

This seems pretty simple, but sometimes we think we can hold on to everything we like about our present situation while reaching for the things we desire about a different situation. 

The journey of grief and loss has taught us that sometimes things happen that changes everything in our lives in some way. Major life changes usually do change almost every relationship in some way, large or small. 

I think of the scripture describing the transformation of our lives through God’s work in us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 

The “new” cannot come until the “old” has passed away. 

If you don’t want to embrace a new path, new ways, new relationships, loss of some relationships, etc., then don’t think about risk or a new great adventure, because you love the path you are on more than the one you hope to embrace — and it’s good to simply know that. 

#2 … We have to be willing to take risks

Risk is a situation involving exposure to danger, harm, or loss. 

On every great adventure you lose something BEFORE you gain something. It is the “tunnel” of risk you must pass through to obtain that for which you hope. 

Sometimes we choose what we will give up, other times, we don’t know what we will lose or give up, and yet other times we lose things we did not anticipate losing. 

On our honeymoon we went to the Smoky Mountains. We hiked miles every day. One day we chose the Chimney Rock trail. The face of the rock was steep and a little perilous (we did not know there was a back trail to the top that was tame). We started up the rock face. I began to panic because I feared risk and loss. If one of us fell and was killed one of us would face compounded pain and loss. We paused. We talked. We decided we could not live our lives alway choosing the safe route.We risked going to the summit, because, if you don’t go to the summit you do not experience the joy of view. 

We risked going to the summit, because, if you don’t go to the summit you do not experience the joy of view. 

Death bed confessions consistently reveal that at the end of our lives we MORE regret the things that we did not do than the things we did do. 

#3 … We have to believe that either path will be okay

Most things in life work out fine. We have a concept that there is only one path and if we miss it, our life will be ruined. While sometimes true in the case of ill advised, reckless, and morally wrong choices, yes, absolutely one decision can ruin your life. 

When you sincerely are trying to do the right thing, doing the best you can to make the right choices, and your heart is aligned as best it can be with the heart of God at your present maturity level, most of the time, neither path will be a disaster. 

We often tell the story of how we were inspired by a decision we made while on sabbatical to go see the Matterhorn rather than just rest in Chamonix our last day there. We discussed the choice, and came to the conclusion that either choice would be the right choice at the end of the day. We asked ourselves the question, which thing, at the end of the day, would we be most glad about. 

This line of reasoning and decision making inspired us in pursuing our great adventure. We knew God would not punish us for being unwilling to take the risk, but we just did not want to miss the life God had for us. 

It takes the pressure off when choosing a path if we will just realize there probably isn’t a perfect path, and if we failed to take something into consideration with sincerity, it will most likely be okay at the end of life. 

Make sure to calculate the risks. Risks are acceptable, uncalculated risks are not acceptable. 

#4 … We must be willing to face disappointment 

There will be disappointments. If you stay, if you go, if you play it safe, if you take risks, you will still face disappointments. 

The great adventure… well, for us, there have been some disappointments, we were prepared for that. Not everything has gone as smoothly or as easily as I hoped. Not everyone we hoped would be on board is on board. A lot of people simply don’t care, as is always the case. 

Anticipate disappointment and count it as a cost for all of the incredible things you will experience that you will not want to miss. 

Frankly, I was disappointed when my wife died. Disappointment is not even the word for it. It is hard to keep perspective in these times, but having gained perspective, I would not forego the live, our family, and the experiences we had on the journey because it was going to end with a huge disappointment. 

Think of your adventure in reverse. Am I willing to sacrifice all of the thing I know will be awesome about this adventure or path, simply because I know there will be some disappointments. 

#5 … You have to be confident in your ability to hear and solve problems.

I’ve said it many times, but you have to believe in God and you have to believe in the work God has done in you through the years. You’ve prayed for wisdom, you’ve gained a lot of experience and maturity, and you have the ability, with God’s help to navigate problems. 

If the path or the adventure is not all we hoped it will be, we are experienced enough to redirect. If we face unanticipated challenges, we have the ability to navigate them. If it blows up in our face, we will simply pick the next available path and navigate to safety. 

#6 You have to decide “No plan B”… with a willingness to accept “Plan C.”

When we anchored in our decision to embrace a calling to Africa we had no plan “B.” Africa was plan “A” and there were no escape routes. It required the burning of bridges. I let go of an elected position decided by the will of a large body of people. Chad McAtee was elected to take my place. I moved my stuff out of my office, he moved his stuff into his new office. 

We don’t have a plan “B,” and in my mind, if we fail, I’m finished, I’m done; however, the reality is that if we “fail,” a plan “C” will surely emerge. When we engage the many faceted ministry in Africa we already know we will need to be flexible and roll with the mission in the way it progresses. 

I do not have an alternative plan, but if this one blows up, I know we will roll on into something we will love and would not have experienced had we not had the willingness to embrace our plan “A.” 

When our spouses died, that is exactly what happened. Our plan “A”s were totally decimated and we started down the path of a plan “C” that we never considered, and that is trust, hope, and faith… experiencing God’s great adventure, the one we could not have imagined or anticipated. 

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