Rob and Joyce took us to a very nice church the day after Christmas. While there, we met a ranching family who was very touched by our mission and wanted to have us over to dinner. We had a lovely evening and touching conversation. We were told by one of the family that they were emotionally effected by our goal with Hearts Up Ranch, but very much by our epic adventure of riding across America. They confessed feeling like “why not me?” Why has God not led me or let me do something epic and adventurous like this? Did I go wrong somewhere or am I not listening?
This confession really touched us. I know that this is not the only person we have met along our journey who has felt this way, though they were able to express it in touching words. It made me think for a long time and I’d like to share some of my thoughts on this for all those wondering…..”what ever happened to my dreams.”
First, an epic adventure is not for everyone. Many people are perfectly tough enough and have enough determination to do it if they want. But even if you can, it doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes choices in life direct your life in a different direction where your responsibilities are a greater calling than an epic adventure. After all, our top priority in life should be to ENJOY and GLORIFY God in what we do. Having fun is great and is definitely enjoying His creation…… but having fun is not the end all be all of living on Earth. Besides, epic adventures are fun in idea and dream, put the reality is that they are a tremendous amount of work- more than a regular job- and probably one of the hardest things you could take on in life. It WILL try your determination, relationships, creativity, body, willingness to sacrifice, emotions, faith, and again- your determination. Trust me, had I known how hard this would be, I’d have been to scared to leave home.
Second, adventure in life- even a little- is essential. Our God made us to be adventurers. Look at the creation. Isn’t it just begging to be explored?! God did not put it here just to look at. Additionally, think of all the creative things the human brain has invented. God did not give us the most creative brains on the planet to not enjoy (most of) the things we as humans come up with. The desire for adventure is an innate part of being human. Men especially need this. We highly recommend reading Wild At Heart for more on this. Unfortunately, the TV has made it so easy to get lost in a story of someone else’s adventure that we forget how important it is to get out and make our own adventures. Go for a hike, a bike ride somewhere you’ve never been, make friends with someone who knows how to do something you’ve always wanted to try, go drive down a road you have no idea where it goes…. make your own adventure. Be creative, go at your own pace, go easy or go wild. But most importantly, don’t do it just once. Make creative adventure- something different each time- a regular part of your life. You will be surprised how much it spices up your life.
And third, sometimes epic adventure is right for you. How do you know? This is what happened to us….. First, it was a dream of mine put in my heart at a very young age- a dream that never disappeared with many of my silly childhood dreams- one that stuck with me into adulthood. It was important and I knew I would regret it if I never tried. That’s how I knew it was God-given. Second, our life circumstances were still such that a long adventure was possible- no kids, no mortgage, no family members depending on us, no established community obligations. No responsibilities of greater importance. Third, God started opening doors for us. We decided to be brave and start working towards our goal…. and big things started happening. God tends to guide a vessel in motion but lets one sit still as long as it wants until it’s ready to get brave and start moving. Now mind you, it was hard. Things didn’t go easy and it took a tremendous amount of sacrifice. But when it got really tough and nearly impossible- we figured if we weren’t meant to go, everything would fall apart and all doors of opportunity would be shut. But they weren’t- when ‘crap hit the fan’ that almost stopped us- doors were opening that allowed us to continue planning. Things happened that shouldn’t have. Little miracles. I wish I had been able to blog the whole time we were planning- that in itself is quite a story. But I guess you’ll have to wait for the book for those stories! Anyhow, a moving vessel is one that can be guided. Remember that. One of the best pieces of advice we ever got for attaining goals is to do one thing each day to work towards your goal- a phone call, an email, an hour of research, anything. If all the doors of opportunity keep slamming in your face….. I’m not God to tell you what to do…. but it’s probably not right for you.
So for those of you wishing you had, wishing you could, or wishing you would…. I hope this helps. Listen to God and your heart, know you can if you are meant to and have enough determination, and make little adventures a part of your life. Then an epic adventure may not seem so appealing….. or maybe it will? That’s between you and God!