“Are you happy?”
As a self-confessed, long-winded talker, it takes a lot to make me pause for an answer. This question got me! I sat there fumbling in my mind for what I wanted to say, needed to say, or should say. I didn’t realize at that moment how much of a turning point that conversation would be.
These type curves are everywhere in my neck of the woods. You do well to heed the “suggested speed limit”, especially at dusk when deer decide to come out and play. Turns like those had defined my life for the past 4 years and I was still spinning from the rate of change when my friend asked that question. I was no longer the same woman she had met and gotten to know. I had been confident, focused, and equipped to fulfill my roles in life at that point.
Then God took my journey down an uncharted trail. I met and married the “punniest” man I know. We started our family quickly with 3 little ones in 4 1/2 years. Talk about an education! I had gone from leading young adults and training horses to corralling small toddlers and teaching colors. The whirlwind had left me questioning my abilities, facing my selfishness, and wondering if I had what it took to thrive here.
Enter my friend. In three simple words she stopped my spinning and forced me to recenter on the important issue. Was I happy? She was asking if this life I was living was really what I wanted, but I saw a much deeper question I needed to be asking myself. Was happiness what I really wanted?
Happiness is nice. It looks good in pictures. It feels good in the moment. But it is so fleeting and so easily disrupted. That wasn’t what I had been praying for all those years. It wasn’t what I was longing for in the deepest part of myself. What motivated me? What was the one thing I wanted more than anything else?
Adventure! I want to be tested. I want to be stretched. I want to be growing. The end shouldn’t surprise me and leave me wondering if I ever lived. I want to be racing for the finish line and find myself on the other side panting for breath. I want to enter God’s presence and hear “Well done! You ran the race with excellence!”
What does that look like this side of Heaven? I would like to think it has many appearances. For some it looks like travelling across the continents and giving up creature comforts. Another’s testing might look like flipping burgers each weekend and studying hard all day. Others might be going without luxuries so they can help strangers across the globe. Some are stretched by living a routine of business meetings and maintaining their integrity. I would like to think for some it looks a lot like changing a zillion diapers all day with a servant’s heart and lots of love.
From Saddling to Swaddling?
Before marriage and kids I was living an obvious adventure. I never knew what challenge would be thrown my way. Then, life became so different that I lost sight of what “adventure” really meant. Now, instead of trying to train a young horse to yield to the bridle, I’m taming my tongue to speak kindly to my husband and children. Instead of inspiring young adults to work hard and serve Christ whole-heartedly, I’m being watched by 3 pairs of eyes who measure what I say with what I actually do. Who really has more adventure?
Am I happy? Happy isn’t the point. . .I’m on an adventurous journey and the turns just keep bringing more surprises!
Tell me what your adventure looks like. . .