Together on the Journey—The End of an Era
For well over two decades I have ended my notes, letters and emails with the phrase—together on the journey. This phrase encapsulated the way I viewed the Christian life. I saw the Christian life as a journey of becoming free to live more fully, into and out of, the person God had created, called and was empowering me to be.
However, as a result of spending the last two years writing my book on Christian discernment (Discernment, God’s Will & Living Jesus) as a practiced way of life, something began to shift within me regarding my beloved phrase. It was at the beginning of this year, while away on my personal retreat, that it began to dawn on me that the word journey did not resonate with the me the way it used to—it did not communicate what I was now beginning to sense as a needed emphasis in my life and in the lives of all who desire to live Jesus. The usual understanding of the word “journey” as “the act of traveling from one place to another”, although a perfectly acceptable word to apply to one’s life with Jesus—is lacking some essential components I want to now emphasize when I refer to the Christian life. Also its futuristic focus can blind us to the need to be present in the now of life, to the current invitations and challenges of the present moment, which are critical when it comes to seeing and partnering with what the Father is doing, recognizing the communications of God, sensing the inner promptings of the Spirit and living Jesus.
So I have now abandoned my old phrase, but what to replace it with?! Coming up with a new word was not as difficult as you might imagine. As I started to feel uneasy with the word journey I noticed another word was stirring within. It was the word adventure. This was not a new word for me. About 33 years ago when I discovered that part of my new job as a youth pastor was also putting on vacation Bible school, I decided to redesign it and transform it from a 9am-12pm five day undertaking into a 7am-6pm, two week offering and renamed it Adventure Camp. YES, the word “adventure” was taking shape deep within me.
When I looked up the word “adventure” and read through the definition my heart quickened. I loved the various nuances delineated in the definition. The word adventure conveys “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks as well as an exciting or remarkable experience, an undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature, even an undertaking of a questionable nature—an unusual or exciting experience.” This mixture of excitement, the unknown, and danger brought to my heart and mind many of the words/teachings of Jesus and Paul regarding the Christian life.
Over the next couple of months I will reflect on various aspects of the definition of adventure, drawing parallels between the definition with the words of Scripture and the challenges inherent in living the Christian life.
For now I invite you to pause and consider the word adventure as a descriptor of the Christian life. What aspects of the above definition of adventure resonate with you, frighten you, stir up resistance within you? Why? Which word are you more drawn to, adventure or journey? Why? How might viewing your life—in and with Jesus—as an adventure shape your attitudes toward daily life, your circumstances, interactions with others, the intentionality in partnering with God as you make your way throughout the day?
Next month as we continue to focus on adventure we will explore the components of expectation and anticipation which I believe to be inherent within the word.
Below is my new closing:
embracing the adventure of living Jesus,
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