Last Sunday night, my wife and I went to a party at a friends house. It was a cool night, at least by North Florida standards. The house had a great outdoor patio with brick walls and garden areas. In one corner of the patio was a firepit that turned out to be a very popular spot. I settled into a comfortable couch next to the fire- I knew I wasn’t moving. The only distraction was that the fire was a bit smoky. I knew my jacket would need a wash when I got home. I was comfortable and drifted away in conversations about books, travel and the restaurant business.
After about an hour, my friend Ron joined us. Ron was just beaming. Ron is generally a positive and upbeat guy but today he was particularly aglow.
“Ron you look great”, I commented. He proceeded to update me on what he was up to. He told me that he was painting (artist) again and that he was really enjoying it. Ron told me that he has been waking up each morning and having coffee with Jesus before he starts his day. He also told me that he was feeling good physically. Ron and I often trade bad back stories as we both suffer from back pain from time to time. Normal type chit-chat until he made this statement:
“Joe, everyday I wake up and I look for an adventure each day.”
He proceeded to tell me about a clerk that he friended who has children and is struggling to make ends meet and how he has been helping her and encouraging her. He shared stories of how he has been buying the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff and giving away copies to friends and folks that he meets along the way during his adventures. All along, I couldn’t help but see the delight in his face.
Ron could easily stay secluded in his world. Ron is semi-retired and lives by himself. He could be lonely and bored. But Ron chooses the adventure. Ron knows that the world is built on relationships and service. Ron is not afraid to make the introductions- he has seen how it works! Ron is not satisfied to stay inside of himself. He seeks the adventure. And it has made all the difference.
So how can you live the adventure life? Here are a few ideas:
Dump the Routine: Look at ways that you can do things differently. We are such creatures of habit and efficiency. Yet, do you want to live an efficient life or a life of fullness and adventure? Mess with your schedule a bit. Leave early for work and relax a bit when you get there. Try new restaurants, new music, new places. Get out of the rut! When you change things up you will see opportunities for new relationships, skills and service.
Slow Down: When you are always in a hurry the world is travelling at the same speed. Slow down and give yourself time to really see what is going on around you. I guarantee you will be surprised. I am often the worst offender of this. I am so tuned in to speed and efficiency that it really hurts to slow down sometimes. Yet, I know I have to. When I am operating at warp speed, I am missing- not gaining. Tunnel vision will not allow you to see the opportunities to enjoy life and serve others that are all around you.
Be Observant: By learning to be observant, you will also begin to see opportunities for fun and learning. You must learn to really look deeper. Additionally, there are often clues that identify the need for service to others. It could be a simple frown or some tattered clothing that gives you a glimpse of the trouble that exists. These clues can be subtle and the ability to see within someone often takes some practice. You will not always get it right and you may be rejected. As you hone your skills, you will get better and you will begin to see the impact of careful observation on your life.
Take a Risk: Adventure and risk go hand in hand, right? We understand risk in terms of jumping out of a plane, yet we generally don’t get the connection between adventure, risk and relationships. In order to be allowed into a persons life, someone has take the first step which involves risk. Simple small talk will provide only the superficial- to get deeper you need to be prepared to ask the risky questions. Yes, you may get rejected. However, when the time is right, they will let you in. And when they do it is beautiful– even if the story is messy. Now you can serve. Now you can make a difference. Now your day has adventure!
Are you tired and bored? You don’t need an expensive vacation to add adventure in your life. The world is happening all around you. Are you going to slow down, change things up, and look for opportunities to make a difference? Living the adventure. It’s waiting for you!