“Adventure is an attitude, not a behavior.” ~ Luci Swindoll
In 2001 when I first heard this quote I never would have understood the impact it would have on life today. Thirteen years ago I read this quote while I was riding the train from
England to France and delightfully soaking up
each moment of my archaeology study abroad program in Europe. I was so excited about each moment that jet lag was something I thought was for wimps as I happily observed all of my surroundings and quickly tried to document in adequate words all that I was seeing and learning in my journal. In the late afternoons and evenings I would take my sketchbook and try to copy all of the beautiful buildings, landscapes, and people that I was meeting. All of these memories are forever preserved not just in my little journal or sketchbook but are deeply written upon my heart.
As I studied and lived abroad in four different European countries I not only was taken in by the extreme beauty and cultures but I fell more in love with the Lord. The Lord used those adventures and learning experiences (both the good and the difficult times) to write precious promises on my heart of His love, mercy, faithfulness, and presence.
And I promised myself, long before pinterest existed and quotes came out (*smiles*) that I wouldn't be like others that I saw, but that I would be "an adventurer". I would continue to travel and to live life fully and take all of the experiences that I learned with me.
And in the following ten years after living abroad I was able to do just that. The Lord led me to live in five different states, I traveled extensively throughout the United States (and out of the country), had one of my favorite "adventures of all" (teaching High School students), fell deeply in love with ballroom dancing, experienced a miraculous physical healing from the Lord, had the heart-wrenching first hand experience of working with refugees and sex-trafficking victims, experienced extreme heart break and the beautiful way the Lord heals our broken hearts, spent hours volunteering in causes that I was passionate about (even running a half-marathon), and celebrated loudly and lived life with my amazing tribe and friendships. In a variety of different ways (through those things listed here and numerous things not listed) I was able to be "an adventurer".
I absolutely loved my life. There were incredibly heart-wrenching things that occurred during those ten years (and in the years since) but I loved following where the Lord led and truly saw each day and all of the adventures as miracles.
And to be honest... it is what I thought life would be like... I assumed that life would continue and then I would get married, become a mama and live my favorite adventure of all. And honestly, I never EVER would have expected, dreamed, or even imagined that in the past three years I would become primarily bed-ridden and house-bound due to fighting advanced stage Lyme Disease and Cancer and live the physically and emotionally difficult path that this journey is. Illness can often be seen as a "life robber". And it often is.
Let's be honest... my life doesn't provide alot of time or energy to be "adventurous" as most would call it. My life is extremely scheduled and without providing to many details, often the biggest "adventure" is a day where I am able to keep all of my food, water, and pills in me. (How is that for exciting? *smiles*) Do I long for things to be different? Absolutely. Do I yearn for my previous life? No. I have truly learned the truth of Ecclesiastes 7:10 on this journey. Do I want my life to look different then things are currently in regards to my health? ABSOLUTELY. (Is this truly even a question???) But... while I might long and yearn for things to be different or try to live in a dream world... its not the truth. This is my life. And whether I think it is "how things should be" or "the circumstances I want"... this is what the Lord has... and I am learning it is more adventurous then ever before.
When I was teaching I would often tell my students that I had absolutely "no regrets" and I still don't. Are there things that I would change or maybe do differently? Of Course. But as my sweet friend Rachel once said, "A life poured out for Jesus is a life full of no regrets". I might want life to look differently or have the ability to do "all of the things" that I think are great, but I have the opportunity to be an adventurer right here, right now, even from my little home while being bed bound. I don't want to look back on these months and years that are so difficult and have regrets that I didn't seek the Lord and see how He could use this time. God is the ULTIMATE restorer and even in this time He can restore EVERYTHING... through physical healing, but also showing me where He is leading me TODAY.
And I am learning the absolute grace and truth of the quote from Luci Swindoll. "Adventure is an attitude..." As I read with joy the adventures of many friends and loved ones and those in bloggy world and have friends who are traveling to the ends of the earth (literally) I rejoice with how the Lord is leading and guiding them. BUT sweet friends, maybe you are like me and you are not able to take off on "physical travel adventurers" around the world or to your dream location. Maybe like me it is a restriction due to health and financial factors, maybe you don't have the resources available, or maybe it is an adventure you long for but it hasn't happened yet- like being physically well, having children, getting married, or your dream job. Maybe you just don't have the vacation days or maybe you just can't "go" because of a million different reasons. That is okay. LIFE, friends, YOUR beautiful life is the ADVENTURE and no matter how near or far you can physically go, you can life a life FULL of adventure and joy right where you are at.
Adventure starts in our minds and then overflows like a beautiful waterfall to our hearts. Sometimes adventure is following a dream that we have had for a long time, a path that we were once afraid to take, or reading a blog that inspires us to meet someone new, reach out to new friendships, start a new job, or take a risk that we have been wanting to take. And all of these things are amazing, but the greatest adventure is our relationship with Jesus. HE is the one that calls out to our hearts and says, Darling, Lets be Adventurers. Follow me, He calls... and friends, following Jesus is a life filled with no regrets and the greatest adventure you could ever have.
May our precious Lord bless you today sweet friends as you fall more deeply in love with Jesus and your life that He has given you. May you discover in new ways the absolute adventure of falling more in love with Him.