As part of The Influence Network's Book Club, I was sent a free copy of Shelene Bryan's new book Love, Skip, Jump. I hadn't heard of the book before, but I never say no to free books so I jumped (pun completely intended) at the chance to get my hands on a copy. It sat untouched for about a week, but this weekend was dedicated to relaxing and catching up on my to-do's, so reading a few chapters made it to the top of the list.
I'm only four chapters in and my heart is skipping and jumping away, already demanding attention I haven't given it in a while. Shelene introduces the core ideas (Love, Skip, Jump) as things we should be doing in order to say yes to the adventure God has for us. Adventure was one of my words for 2013, and I had my first taste of what saying yes to such a thing could really mean when God took me to Seattle. Here in grad school, it's harder to see the adventure ahead.
In the first chapters, Shelene shares the yes-adventure that took her to Uganda to meet the children her family had been sponsoring. She and her husband packed their bags, bought plane tickets, and though she ended up traveling alone, adventured across the world to make a difference. She provided food for children, beds for a small village, and paid for a dock to be built for a remote tribe. Her heart was ready to say yes and her wallet was well stocked and willing.
I threw the breaks on at about the time she pulled cash from her pocket to pay for the river dock. How easy is it for her to say "Go! Do!" when her life is set up for it? Oh, sure, let me skip class, empty my already-empty bank account and go... right. Can you tell I needed a heart check here? Skepticism and cynicism were dripping from my sneer, and they revealed the walls I've had up for a long time. You know what those walls protect? My comfort zone.
My comfort zone is a sacred place. I'm, well, comfortable here.
My one bedroom apartment, my consistent school schedule, the five hour drive to my parents' house. The picture perfect dream I have for my future that sits compact in my pocket until just the right time. Comfortable. Safe. Mine.
I'm barely four chapters in but I can already tell you that Shelene's out to wreck my comfort zone. And the excuses I'm already making are evident that it's a sore spot ready for tending. So what if I don't have a job that will let me jet off to a third-world country? So what if my days are spent doing acting exercises rather than riding food packs to remote tribes on bicycles? There is still a yes-adventure waiting to be had.
Even last week's #fireworkpeople chat was about taking risks and breaking from the comfort zones. I get the feeling this is about to be a reoccurring theme in my life. Honestly, I'm terrified. Risk-taker and adventurous have never been next to my name in the dictionary. I'm a planner, a thinker, a schedule-out-all-the-details kind of girl. The idea that there is a wild unknown waiting for me is terrifying. But a good kind of terrifying.
It points me to the concept of fearing the Lord. That kind of fear is an awestruck wonder, a respect and desire to follow, love, and know the Savior of the World intimately. Fearing God does not mean cowering under His wrath --though it is an almighty thing and He is that powerful-- but standing before Him with nothing to give but two hands raised, empty in surrender and praise. Even if my knees and hands are shaking, I want to lift them. I want a yes-adventure even if it costs me everything.
Boom. I think the air got knocked from me as I wrote it. I kind of want to backspace it and pretend I never said it. Because saying it means I have to follow through. Saying it means I have to trust Him with it. And if we're being honest, I like the picture of my future that I have in mind. It's safe. It's simple. It's structurally sound. But it may or may not be His plan. And if I want His plan more than anything I have to be willing to give mine up. Yikes.
During the Twitter chat last Tuesday, I tweeted:
Sometimes I need to take my own medicine. I say that I dream in six different directions, but I also have a feeling that there's a dream just waiting to be revealed. Something bigger, something grand, something Jesus has up His sleeve just for me. I don't want to miss it chillin' on the couch in my comfort zone. I mean, I'd love it it fell into my lap that way, but I don't think that's how it will happen.
Love, Skip, Jump is already turning my world upside down. I've been learning so much about God's goodness and timing and gentleness these past few weeks, and I know it's leading up to something big. Even though I can't see how a yes-adventure will fit into my season, I want to say yes anyway. I want to love, skip, jump anyway. Will you join me?