When I was growing up there were these books that I loved—Choose Your Own Adventure. The book would start telling a story where you were the main character. Throughout the book, you would be faced with decisions on what the character was going to do. You would turn to a certain page number based on your decision and then continue reading. It was like you were making the story happen as it went, even though the author actually had it all pre-mapped out for you.
I believe that’s how life is supposed to be. It’s an adventure with many winding paths and choices along the way. If you’re bored with your life, if you feel that there is more that you’re capable of than what you’re doing, if you feel you settled somewhere along the way—you’re not truly living that adventure.
I know we like comfort. I think we’ve been trained over the years to seek to live a life where everything feels good. We don’t want to step out of our comfort zone because we could make a mistake and look foolish or fail altogether. So we don’t try new things even when we have this deep nagging that it’s really the direction we’re supposed to go in.
We’re so deeply afraid of the unknown that we refuse to step out in it. And I get that, I do. There are many times I struggle with that too. But there have been some life experiences along the way that I think forced me to keep moving outside of my comfort zone. And I’ve realized lately what a blessing that really is.
You can’t screw up God’s plan
There’s a saying that keeps going around on Facebook that says something along the lines of “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” I’m not sure who first said it, but I think it’s really a great message.
Here’s the thing, you can screw up all kinds of things in your life. You can make poor choices and have to live with the natural negative consequences that come with them. That’s true.
But God is so much bigger than you and your actions. And here’s what I love, God can turn your screw ups into something wonderful. He can use the bad things in your life – even the bad things that you caused in your past- for His good. And it’s amazing when you see that happening.
Now, I wouldn’t run out and recommend purposefully screwing up and doing all kinds of wrong things because even if God uses those things for good, it doesn’t mean that you won’t still suffer consequences here on earth because of it.
So, I guess my overall point here is this, don’t let fear of screwing up what God wants for your life stop you from trying something. If you’re really trying to follow after God and seeking to make decisions that will honor Him, then even if you don’t make the best choice, I believe there can still be plenty of good reaped out of the situation.
Don’t be indecisive
There comes a time when you just need to make the choice. As a kid reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books, I had to choose between the options I was given when I got to that part of the story. I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be and if it would lead to something good or bad. But I still made a choice. If not I would have just put the book down and hemmed and hawed about what the best choice would be. I’d probably still have the book today with my bookmark in the same place, just waiting for me to make a decision.
Now I know that seems like a little silly analogy to use when you’re making big, tough decisions in life. And of course, you should take the time to gather information, pray, and listen to God before making a decision. But I think way too many of us get stuck in that stage. We say that we’re waiting to hear from God, but I think most of the time, we’re just too scared to move forward.
Don’t let fear make you become indecisive.
Step out of your comfort zone
It’s so easy to NOT choose an adventure at all. We live in a way that every day is exactly the same as the one before it. And we sort of like that routine. We like knowing what’s coming next and what to expect. It’s comfortable to see the same friendly faces day in and day out.
But that makes it easy to forget that life was meant to be lived. We aren’t here merely to go through the motions and check the boxes off each day.
Now let me be clear for a minute. I believe it’s important to learn to be content. But there’s a difference between being content in life and being afraid to step out of your comfort zone when God has placed a dream in your heart.
And the tricky part is that you might be the only person who knows that you’re really letting fear keep you in the comfort zone. If you’ve never shared your desire, dream, or idea with someone else, no one else knows that you’re not taking that next step you need to. It’s up to you to determine.
It’s OK for life to be fun
Life is meant to be enjoyed and lived fully. It’s OK to have fun when things are going well. It’s OK to have fun even if you’ve experienced something difficult in life. And it’s OK for you to have fun in life even when the world isn’t perfect for everyone else (Although we should be careful about how we handle these situations. There’s no reason to be a jerk and rub people’s faces in things.)
Not only is it OK to laugh and enjoy life. It’s SO healthy for us to do so.
Sometimes you have to take action first
Here’s the tricky thing with adventures, sometimes when we set out on a new adventure, the path isn’t clearly marked. As many times as I’ve asked God to just show me the entire path at once, it’s never worked that way for me. And it didn’t usually work that way for people in the Bible either.
The Bible is full of stories of people doing crazy and/or miraculous things. BUT, the big exciting thing didn’t usually happen until the person took action. They didn’t know exactly how it was all going to pan out. But they took the first step anyway.
And when they took that first action, the Red Sea parted, God sent fire from the heavens to burn up the offering Elijah prepared, the sacrificial lamb was provided, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down and on and on the stories go.
You see, we have to take action even when we don’t know exactly what the results are going to be. If you believe that God has placed a dream in your heart and given you a passion to do something, He will provide a way. But you might have to take action and keep taking action before you see anything happen.
You might not get it right
I get it! The thought of failing at something is terrifying. The thought of trying something new and it not working out just sucks. There’s no other way around it. But it happens and it’s OK.
I’ve tried and failed at a LOT of stuff. I’ve also tried things and realized along the way that they weren’t the right things for me (or at least at that moment).
For example, I was once a Certified Personal Trainer. I think my husband is the only person who knows that. I paid for the course. Studied. And passed the test. It felt great and was exciting, but it wasn’t for me. I could look at it as a total waste of time and money because it kind of was. But I grew confidence through that time. I learned that I was capable of more than I was giving myself credit for. And it was a stepping stone for me to continue growing into other areas of my life.
We’re not going to get it right all the time. But I can promise you that if you don’t try, you’re not going to get it right ever.
So, here’s a story for you to write…
One day I read a blog post and it really got me thinking. There was an idea that has always nagged at me. An idea that I should do this certain thing. Try this certain thing. A feeling within me that there was more to life than just going through the motions. I wanted to believe that it was possible for things to be different but I had a choice to make.
- Keep life the same as always – (Continue doing what you’ve always done)
- Head out on an adventure – (Take that one small step today that’s going to get you started.)
Now you’ve got to ask yourself: What page are you going to turn to?