Safety may have kept me from dying all of these years, but I wonder if it also hasn’t kept me from living.
I may feel safe, but I don’t feel alive. Is that really living?
Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Good Times!
My love for safety is only matched by my love for comfort. Naturally someone who loves comfort isn’t exactly signing up to do uncomfortable things.
My husband and I have differing opinions on many things.
Me a few weeks ago: “Excuse me, did you just ask who Coldplay is?”
However, most of the time we always agree on the perfect vacation destination: the beach.
Our church family generously gave us some time away this summer, and we would have a week where the kids would be with family. So you know what that means . . . ??? Woot.
While I thought it meant vegetating on the beach with my book list, chips and salsa and a yummy drink, Jamus changed gears. Apparently he was bored (?) with the beach. I don’t even have a place to register this in my brain.
Instead he declared, “I must have adventure in Montana! Aka: Glacier National Park.”
I envisioned myself wearing a Patagonia Jacket and hiking boots with a walking stick and I thought, “Hey, I could do this!” (great selfie opportunities)
Then reality sat in and I thought:
Is that the same park where Grizzly Bears call home? By the way, in case of a bear attack, Google says to get in fetal position. FAN-TAS-TIC.
All of a sudden, I had a flashback to Homeward Bound, a childhood favorite that taught a valuable life lesson: don’t get lost out in the WILD or better yet, don’t ever leave home. Three animals lost in the wilderness – would they ever find home? (I get a little tear in my eye just thinking about it.)
If Siri (iPhone) didn’t remind us to breathe we would die. How would we survive without Google Maps?
The thought of Montana meant a life without Siri telling us where to go, where to eat, how to get there, etc. A week without being connected made me want to ram my head in the wall.
Many of the cabins listed these “off the grid” destinations as a positive attribute. Besides Jack Bauer, who would ever want to be off the grid?!
I did not want to crush my husband’s dreams so I told him, “I would love to go!”
However, I did have a few minor…ehh..requests.
Of course I would go white water rafting IF we do the gentle currents.
I would love to go hiking IF we have a professional guide who would carry weaponry, clean drinking water, and possibly smoke grenades. (Yeah, so I am not exactly Brave.)
And . . . we ended up in Southern California (with a free place to stay; sorry Montana, maybe next time).
These are my kind of people. Beach. All Day.
I was thoroughly enjoying the beach with the rest of my people when Jamus, aka Indiana Jones, decided he wanted to go on a Hike. (He just would not let it go). Some dreams need to die.
I said, “Okay honey, see ya when you get back!”
He gave me the puppy dog face, layered with guilt and much condemnation and said without saying, “You’re not coming?”
Let the Adventure Begin
At the bottom of the trail (Yes, we would be hiking UP a mountain), the Kiosk had some very alarming information:
BEWARE of the local wildlife: Bears, Mountain Lions, and RATTLESNAKES.
I thought surely after reading the alarming information, Jamus would chose to let his dream die. Nope.
I would like to tell you that Jamus had a pleasant traveling companion that accompanied him through this dusty and jagged terrain, but that would be lying.
What I can tell you is that I held the back of his shirt as he lead/dragged me through the wilderness, and I screamed anytime I heard the slightest buzz, crack, twig breaking, rock dropping, or fly buzzing by. I kept saying “Jamus, did you heart that?” What was that?
I cannot remember the last time I was so scared. I may have felt better (probably not) if we would have at least been packing a semi-automatic or a pocketknife at the very least. I felt like this was not a wise decision. “Annie Edwards, dead at the age 31, after refusing to go into fetal position during the grizzly attack. Instead the mother of three tried to outrun a grizzly.”
I prayed the entire time.
The top of the mountain greeted us with open arms and I breathed in the Lord’s faithfulness and then I SAW . . . The VIEW! I had never seen anything like it. I couldn’t believe it! I climbed TO the top of this dangerous-cactus laden-deadly terrain and – I am ALIVE!
Of course, there were pictures taken, markers of Gods grace and faithfulness along our journey, and much rejoicing.
There was a bench at the top of this mountain and I noticed the memorandum that said, “She rode the wave of life.” (Yes. This.)
Before we journeyed back down to the beach, we passed some locals who informed us that it rattle snake season.
However, I wasn’t as scared on the journey back down because something new had clicked in my soul. Somehow the journey up the mountain proved something about God and myself. I saw that the view was worth the journey. I no longer feared the mountain; now, I only feared missing the view.
Christianity is Boring.
Am I the only one who has ever been bored with life? With Christianity? Could it be that our boredom stems from a misplaced fear? This world can seem like a scary, prickly terrain with lions, tigers, rattlesnakes. In fear of what the claws and venom could to do our flesh, we hide in the arms of safety and security.
Fear death. Fear rejection. Fear not living up to our full potential. Fear Failure. Fear Man. Fear Ordinary.
So we cling to “safety.” Hiding keeps us from the world that we were meant to explore and enjoy.
Hiding doesn’t scatter our fears, love does. Perfect love casts out fear. Who is this love? He came to ride the waves us life for us. Look to the empty tomb, this is the view you don’t want to miss, Jesus Christ conquering death! Ultimately, fear must be that which moves us to be on mission, to be BRAVE. The only way to get over our fears is through fear.
We can come out of hiding when we fear a God that cast out all other fears.
Christian, you have the antidote for all of the poison this world can inject. Death no longer has a sting. It is always rattlesnake season. This world needs that antidote but our fear keeps us from climbing to those hard-to-reach prickly places. If our hearts are kept safety in heaven, then our feet can run with bravery on this earth.
Listen, I have no idea what the Lord is doing or how I am going to get my brave on. Jen Hatmaker will you be my Lamaze coach since you did this to me with your “Interrupted!” It’s like I am in labor right now with a big fat stubborn baby that doesn’t want to come out to this painful world where she will have to get shots and be poked and prodded. A baby that wants to climb back up into the comfort and safety of the womb. Church, is this us – the stubborn baby who has been called to experience life but would rather just hide behind the warm and comfortable walls of a church building? “That’s okay, we give our money to the professionals, so that they can do the scary work.” Do we stay in our holy huddles, picking out the big strong players to run the game for us? I am sick of warming the bench and smaking the MVPs on their bums saying “Go Get Em Tiger! I wanna take one for the team: this may be changing another diaper or making a friend at the homeless shelter.
Could it be that it’s not Christianity that is boring but it is religion that causes us to yawn.
Christianity is an adventure. There are spectacular views to behold but they cannot be found while hiding.
My kids had a broken jack-in-the-box. It was no fun. It was disappointing. It was tossed in the trash. They would twist the little lever, and the song would play, but right when the jack was supposed to jump out of the box and surprise the children with delight, we got nothing but tears and frustration.
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all the houses.” (Matthew 5:15)
I don’t know about you, but I am like Jack who has been wound up with good theology, seminars on evangelism, missional community groups, books, and podcasts, and it’s time to pop out of that box. Yep, those children, the little sheep I am called to feed . . . they may be annoying, messy, smelly, and exhausting, but then again, so am I, right?
Oh we are prepared all right, but are we prepared to do something? What are we preparing for?
All I know is that this pastor’s wife has planted her rear on the pew to keep from getting dirty.
When we refuse to do hard things, ultimately we are refusing to view unleashed beauty. The best views may not be found by climbing higher but instead are discovered in the most unexpected, lowly of places. The greatest wonders of the world are not found on top of peaks in far off lands but in valleys right down the street.
The brave know only one posture and that is bending low.
If we want to discover the heights of his love and ride greater waves of grace, it is time to hop on our surf boards of little faith and let the wave carry us out. The adventure is already written.
I want to be the lady who was remembered for riding the waves of life, not clinging to the shore and missing the whole thing! There is a brave in every believer.
Lord, help us get our Brave on!
How is the Lord calling you to be BRAVE? Please leave a comment and share with friends.