I have a wild heart. I’ve known it forever.
As a girl, I was drawn to the fastest, highest, spinny-est rides at the carnival.
My favorite novelty at summer camp was riding the knotted rope swing out over Hagerman Lake, then letting go and free-falling into the water. At winter retreats, I always said YES to the Polar Bear Swim, running from sauna to frozen lake, then plunging into the frigid waters through an opening cut in the ice.
I was thrilled to whitewater raft with my dad and brother on the Snake River in Colorado, and I still remember the exhilaration of stepping carefully along a narrow trail in Yosemite — wall of rock to my left, steep canyon drop-off to my right.
As a teenager, my friends and I regularly sought out just-risky-enough kicks. We drove down rural roads in search of the mysterious Paulding “Ghost Light.”
We late-night skinny-dipped in Lake Louise, and jumped from a whole lot of things. Moving speedboats. The train bridge over the Menominee River. The Black Rocks at Lake Superior.
In college, my sister and I took a three-week trip Down Under, renting a car and left-side-of-the-road-tripping across Australia. We scuba dove on the dazzling Great Barrier Reef and hot-air-ballooned over Cairns the very next morning.
Life was AWESOME.
Life was FUN.
Life was one big ADVENTURE.
A decade later, I found myself still jonesing for thrills. But what the heck did that mean for a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of three? For years, I didn’t know HOW it should look or what to DO about it!
I didn’t think the church congregation would be too happy to find me bobbing naked at midnight in Lake Louise. Our speedboats had long since been replaced with putt-putting pontoon boats. And my kids weren’t tall enough (yet) to ride the Gravitron or the Paratroopers at the county fair.
I supposed being a responsible wife and mother meant being kind of, well– BORING. So I stifled my spunk and spirit and tried to be calm and well-behaved. And boy, was I MISERABLE.
Adventure and spontaneity wasn’t something optional for me. It WAS me.
John Eldredge, author of Wild at Heart, nails it here:
Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wilderness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man.
Some of us are more apt to these spiritual longings than others. My middle son (age three) is already indicating his desires to see new and different things, to be spontaneous and WILD.
He often begins the day by asking, “Where are we going today?”
“Where do you want to go, Buddy?”
“I don’t know!” he smiles. “To a place. Take me to a place.”
My friends, we all have longings for a place.
My places have changed with my life stations and commitments. (Frankly, I’m no longer twenty-two, single, or surrounded by a crowd of Aussie men.) The four boys I nurture and adore really need me to live at least half the day with my feet on the ground. Not to mention the checkbook can get pretty empty, and the calendar pretty full.
But in THAT place – that place of responsibility and reason-ability and frugality, I have discovered something significant: ADVENTURE does not have to be grandiose or lengthy or expensive. Some of my favorite thrills have been cheap (or free!) and conveniently close to home…
Like Roxanne and I leaving our girls’ dinner at a local restaurant and sneaking into the next-door swimming pool to jump in the water, still wearing our dresses.
Hiring a sitter after the kids were asleep so Chad and I could creep around swapping Christmas decorations between our friends’ yards, then building a giant holiday-sweater-wearing-snowman in the center of the Reaths’ driveway while they were out.
Dressing in eighties gear with Kristen for a twenty-mile bicycle tour.
Loading the kids in the car for a Michigan-style beach day, and climbing aboard a floating hunk of ice for a frosty-toed family photo.
All of these things were exciting and memorable and so much dang fun! They satisfied my need for a new view, a new experience, or a new take on harmless mischief, while honoring my relationships, responsibilities, and life station.
Many of you can relate. The majority of us were born with some degree of restlessness. We were created to live exciting lives of wonder and adventure. If we’re not honoring that design — if we’re not living it out in some deliberate way — we’re wilting!
Let’s seek out do-able ways to respond to the longings of our hearts, the callings of our places, and the adventures we might embark on, even today.
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty YES to your adventure. – Joseph Campbell