In the world of storytelling, there’s a point called the call to action or call to adventure which marks the point where the protagonist, or the hero of the story, faces a challenge. They can decide whether to take on the challenge or go home but either way, the decision changes their story-line in such a way that life can never be the same.
I’ve loved stories and storytelling ever since I can remember. My dad used to read to my brother, sister, and me at bedtime, making shadows on the wall, bringing the stories to life. Our favorite book was Postman Pig by Richard Scarry. We would giggle, crowded around the book, trying to find the pickles on each page. When I was old enough to write, I wrote stories in school that my teacher would make into books by covering pieces of cereal boxes with construction paper to make a cover and then binding the pages together. Later I discovered poetry and filled notebooks late at night when I couldn’t sleep.
Stories were limitless, full of possibility. As a child I regularly got lost in my own imagination, creating worlds and story-lines for an audience of one. When I was in high school, my AP American Literature teacher introduced me to literary classics like Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. I continued writing, keeping a journal and a writer’s notebook with poems and my thoughts on life. My imagination became a place of escape when I was depressed and a way I could process my feelings in a safe place. Stories and writing were a way to see life as it could be and escape the boredom of a “normal” life.
But I wanted more. More than just an imaginary life. I wanted a life I could write about, that people would read about.
After my husband Chad and I were married, we started looking for a house. We were living in my college apartment in downtown Grand Rapids and wanted to find a place in the suburbs. But it didn’t feel right. Moving out of the city seemed predictable and safe. One night I suggested that instead of looking in the suburbs, we should look in the neighborhood where we’d been serving for just over a year. “Maybe we should buy a house in the Black Hills, “ I said. It caught me off guard when he answered, “Yes. We should.” And we were faced with our first call to adventure.
I dream big dreams but I panic if they seem within reach.
Wait, we’re really doing this?
God has implanted in me an insatiable desire for adventure. I love routine and predictability but it can quickly progress to being boring.
I’ve been wrestling with the boredom since we moved out from the Black Hills neighborhood two years ago. At first it was a welcome rest; the safety, the routine, the predictability of life. But as time went on I started to get restless. My life moves in patterns and is essentially the same day after day, week after week. Could there be more than this? There has to be more than this, I found myself saying.
And finally, after talking with my sister and friends about wanting more out of life, God gave me a vision for the future. I started to notice how disconnected people were and how lonely life can be, even when it’s possible to be so connected through technology. I thought about how I got connected with my friends and realized connection is fostered by shared experience. I started to envision a retreat center – part camp, part farm – where people could come together to connect with God and with one another. I talked with my husband Chad about it and he agreed it was something we should pursue.
Then on Sunday, a friend of ours came to Chad with a dream. He dreamed that Chad was running a camp with himself and another friend. He had no idea about the conversation Chad and I had just days prior.
I don’t know how we get there. But I know God has placed the dream in my heart for a reason. For now, I need to continue to work, continue to mother, and continue to write. Right now, I’m starting to work on my book again, about our first big adventure together while I’m on a journey to the next.
I won’t let Chad be boring. And he won’t let me stop dreaming.
There’s too much to do, to experience in this life to waste it on being normal. God loves impossible stories. We’re too quick to settle for boring ones.
Dreams and visions often come with more questions than answers. I believe God wants to meet us in the mystery and sustain us in the uncertainty.
So, this is it. Your call to adventure. Maybe it’s just telling someone your dream. Maybe it’s taking the first step.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
If you knew you would succeed?
If the mountains between you and your dreams could somehow be moved?
What would you do if you believed God was for you and He put dreams in your heart so you could change the world and bring His grace to the lost?
What would you do if you believed God gave you access to all His riches and His power through His love?
What would you do if you knew you already have everything you need living inside you through the power of the Holy Spirit?
I pray today we answer God’s call to an abundant life through Him. Stepping out of the boat into the storm and onto the waves won’t be safe, but Jesus is there and He won’t let us drown.
Holy Spirit, reignite your fire within us. May be be bold in your name, living out the adventure you’ve planned for us. Grant us faith in Your power and give us Your presence as we step out, believing You have called us to abundant life, extraordinary life. Amen.