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September 27, 2011

Defining Adventure in My Life

by Dave Malnes

Can you define your life as an adventure right now?  Is the busyness of life and the fatigue it brings find you walking on the hardened and uninspiring path of routine?  How do you break through and conquer the mountains and cross the rivers of adventure?

In the classic book, “The Adventure of Living” by psychologist Paul Tournier, he defined adventure in the following ways.

1. Adventure is a manifestation of oneself; a form of self-expression.

2. Adventure innovates and invents; it is ingenious.

3. Adventure is coherent, evolving in the pursuit of a single final goal.

4. This goal is love; it is love which suggests the goal, and love which directs and sustains the adventure.

5.  Adventure involves necessarily the running of a risk.

Sometimes an adventure is thought of only as jumping off a cliff, hang-gliding, or going on an African safari.  These can be very fun activities, but I wouldn’t necessary qualify them as an adventure.  They are thrills or adrenaline rushes.  They don’t have a lasting value except for good memories and great stories.  An adventure requires a total commitment of self and typically involves other people.  From a biblical perspective, the root of the adventure that grants the highest amount of satisfaction is love.

For instance, I don’t think adventures are solitary pursuits.  Those are called escapes.  They are activities that take you away both physically and mentally from problems.  Nor do escapes providing lasting benefits.  No, adventures are consuming, not addictive.  They stretch you, not bind you.  They make you a more complete person.

Quite often, adventures are stumbled upon.  A physical ailment.  A job loss.  A hurting child.  They take you places that you thought you would never go.  Sometimes, adventures are conscious decisions.  To fall in love.  To write a book.  To reach out in friendship.  To re-connect with a spouse.  These are risks, because failure means a broken heart or great disappointment that hurts far more than a broken bone.

Prompted by love, the adventure of living requires stepping out in faith.  Trusting a promise that all things work out for the good; that any effort prompted by love is worthwhile; and that any enduring adventure keeps an eternal perspective.  Perhaps the greatest adventure is stepping out of our comfort zones and sharing what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.  That his life and death gave us eternal life.  That faith alone receives all the benefits of what Jesus has already completed for us on the cross.  That pursuit is the greatest adventure of all.

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