The Adventure

 

 When I sit down to paint, I love the look of a blank canvas. The canvas represents perfection, purity and something completely untouched. It is delicate, innocent and beautiful in it’s simplicity. But a blank canvas is only beautiful for so long. Imagination immediately begins to design the space with images, symbolism, color and light. The promise of endless possibilities. My imagination can paint pictures for days- but it is not until I defile the pure canvas face with paint that my visions become creation. 

  Artistry holds incredible risk. First the risk to fail,to create an undesirable painting that accounts for nothing but wasted time and energy. Second, however is the risk of never starting. I carry a prayer journal, and in, I often jot down the inspirations for beautiful paintings I have dreamed or imagined. But more often, those inspirations wither with time, for words on paper do not compare to paint on canvas. In these risks, painting becomes an adventure. And I an adventurer.

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Life is much like painting. We were all designed to be adventurers. As Mark Batterson describes, “The need for adventure is part of God’s genetic design.” As children, we all have lived in worlds of imagination in which we engage in epic battles, partake in wild escapades through jungles and forests, and envision world of heroes and villains. There is a thrill in danger, adrenaline in risk and a sheer desire to live an epic life removed from ever settling. And then we grow up. The need for security and stability overwhelms the desire and the fear of failure extinguishes the passion. We grow up to live as we never intended to. We settle. 

   I believe that adventure is a part of our design because our Creator is the ultimate adventurer. He displayed this the moment he stated, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). He dwelt in a world of perfect glory-His glory. Yet He desired more, so he created the universe. And in the universe, he created a tiny planet called earth, in which we carved the figure of a man out of dust and breathed life into Him. He created man in His image. How much more adventurous can you get? The rest of history is an adventure. He could have dispelled evil with a single word. He could have saved mankind with just a thought. Yet, he created the ultimate adventure by sending His son as a baby to live among us, to be tortured and killed for our sins, and to be resurrected so that we may have life. Death for Life. Life for Redemption. Redemption for Eternity. 

    In my life, God has challenged me to live a life of adventure. An adventure that called me to quit nursing school to trust in His provision and work full time reaching the hearts of girls and women everywhere to help them discover their calling, their passion and their purpose. To recognize their worth, their beauty and their significance in furthering the Kingdom of God. It’s a life riddled with adventure, risk, failure and fear. Yet, I choose to live a life of adventure, rather than a life of security and settling. 

  I challenge you to evaluate the adventure in your life. What dreams are you not living? What risks are you not taking? And what callings are you not pursuing? Where has God called you to live a life of an adventure? And what’s keeping you from your adventure? Instead of just living in your imagination, take the risk and pick up your paintbrush. You may fail it, but the adventure will be worth it. 

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Disqualified: I’m Little

  So I felt led to start a topic on the countless ways we disqualify ourselves from the service of the Kingdom. Go back and read that sentence again. I am not writing about the things that do disqualify us, but the things we think disqualify us. There is an incredible amount of assumption that goes on to prevent the armies of God from, well, fighting. One of my friends and I have a running joke- we are both short and while taking on tasks that at times are just designed for tall people ( like carrying folding chairs up and down two flights of stairs)- we look at each other and exclaim “I’m Little!” In high pitched, probably rather annoying voices- we simply accept what holds us back from accomplishing bigger, stronger, taller-people tasks.

I’m Little. How often have you used this excuse? Maybe not in those exact words. Possibly something more along the lines of, “I don’t know enough people,” “People don’t listen to me,” “But I’m not a leader,” “I’m just one person,” “I can’t do that,” “I don’t know how to do that,”…. sound familiar?

As a little girl, I had a fascination for the stars. Not just the single, enormous entities of particles, dust, gas and ice, but also the galaxies. I inherited this fascination from my father. We would spend summer evenings lying in the hammock or on the picnic table identifying constellations, watching for shooting stars, and imagining the great distance that separated the galaxies to imprint our night sky with only a simple sparkle of light. Our own home galaxy is about 100,000 lightyears across. 1 lightyear is equal to 5,865,696,000,000 miles. That is an insane amount of miles. The largest known spiral galaxy, NGC 6872 is believed to be 5 times the Milky Way’s size. It is so far away that it is not even visible to stargazing children. There is no more significant way to feel insignificant, than to study the size of the universe. But there is no significant way to see our significance than to study the size of the universe. Out of all the billions of galaxies, the billions of lightyears and hundreds of thousands of billions of miles in our universe, Jesus died for you.

When I try to disqualify myself by accepting my smallness and insignificance, God always finds away to tell me otherwise. By no means does He ever tell me I’m big, because the fact is – I’m short, my circle of influence is small, I am only one person and I don’t even have a very loud voice. I am small. But God is big.

Last May I got the beautiful opportunity to travel to Destin, Florida where I shared my story at a women’s conference and then got to spend the following day at the beach. The weather was semi chilly and it even started to rain, but there was nothing that could stop two Missouri girls from playing in the waves. As I watched the waves crash on the shore and stared off into the ocean as far as I could see (and in all honesty, we were only staring into the Gulf- the Gulf compared to our oceans is kind of like the Milk Way compared to the universe), I was overwhelmed by how big the ocean was. Not only that, but how small I was. But then God reminded me, Yes Holly, you are small. But I am big.

Our size does not disqualify us. It actually distinctly qualifies us. It is not by our doing that we change the world, it is all credit to God in us. He uses what we think disqualifies us to make the biggest impact because it’s only then can we make an impact that leads to His glory instead of our own.

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“They did not conquer the land with their sword; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and your strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.” Psalm 44:3 [NLT]