October 16, 2009
Choosing Your Own Adventure
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
Come, follow me, Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
I remember loving the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a child.
At the end of each page or scene, the reader was given different options. "Turn to page X to find out ______ or turn to page XX to continue _______." You could control your own adventure and make it go any which way you wanted. And then you could go back to the beginning and try it a different way. And then do it again. And again! The possibilities were nearly endless.
Similarly, the possibilities for real-life adventure seem just as great. I've experienced this many a time as an adult when I've chosen my own adventures over the years. I've controlled as many variables in my circumstances as possible. I've tried to think through every possible scenario and attempted to forecast what could or couldn't happen should I do this or should I decide to do that. Basically, I've lived a lot of my life any which way I've wanted to.
Sounds empowering and freeing, but it's actually quite exhausting to live like that—always plotting and planning and manipulating events and relationships and opportunities that could affect my life. Always looking for the pathway that will take me to the greatest happiness, the biggest reward and the most amazing adventure.
I was thinking about this recently when I shared with a close friend that I was tired of my life (again!) and was ready for "a new adventure." "I want to live in a foreign country." "I want to try something new." "I want to feel like I'm reaching my potential." "I want an exciting life!"
Well, all I can say is how blind I have been and continue to be most days. It's a study in contrasts between my definition of adventure and what is God's. In my book, it's about me going after what I want. Me taking advantage of any and every opportunity I can to make my life more "exciting." Me turning to whatever page I want and choosing to steer my life into whatever I want it to be.
But in God's Book—the Bible which he inspired men to write for followers like you and me—it's quite different. And if we are following closely, then there are simply no "choose your own options" …
As Jesus walked beside the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:16-18).
So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him (Luke 5:11).
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus (John 1:35-37).
See any patterns here? "At once" and "left everything" and "followed." No one stopped to say, "Hold on, Jesus. I need to look at my schedule first and make sure I don't have any conflicts with work or any previous social engagements." Or "Jesus, wait just a minute. I need to make sure I'm not missing the annual shoe sale at Macy's or the big college game next weekend." Or "But if I follow you now, does that mean I won't ever get to get married, have children or buy that vacation home on the lake?"
In Christ, the adventure lies in the immediate obedience. The instant trust. The life-saving faith that was placed in someone who had come to change the world. The yielding of our lives to Almighty God, who is sovereign and in ultimate control of everything that was and is and ever shall be in our lives.
Will you let God choose your own adventure today? Will you drop your big dreams and important plans and follow wherever he wants to lead you? Yes, there is a cost when you yield yourself—and your choices—to him. But the outcome will be far greater and more exciting than any adventure you could ever imagine on your own.
Intersection of Faith & Life: What's the worse that could happen if you didn't finish your to-do list today? If you made time for coffee with a friend, even though your schedule is jam-packed? If you listened and acted upon the leading of the Holy Spirit to give financially despite a low balance in your bank account? Make it your mission to choose to open your heart to whatever adventure God wants to take you on today and see what happens.