Hi everyone, Rob here. We’ve recently got back from a great family holiday on the Gold Coast of Australia. It was warm, fun, stimulating and hard to come home, especially to a cold, wet spring. However, I was pondering as I left just what the gift to my heart was from God through the holiday. It wasn’t rest; the kids were far too busy and up far too early for that (Note to Queensland – Daylight Savings is a really good idea!). It wasn’t hours of mystical communion with my Creator; quiet spots just aren’t that common on the GC. Instead it was a gift to an often neglected part of my heart and identity in Christ; the explorer and adventurer part.
John Eldredge notes that casual adventures like white-water rafting or abseiling or an overseas holiday are good for ‘waking up our hearts.’ The possibility that everything could turn to custard is good for moving us out of our domesticated ‘safeness.’ It causes us to pray and press into the depths of the resources that God has placed in us. As we partner with God in the adventure we realise that we capable of much more than what we currently embrace.
Now, I admit that a week on the Gold Coast isn’t exactly high adventure! But there were enough new experiences to ‘wake me up’ and bring me life and that’s the goal. Much of it was seeing the children embrace new things and discover that they are capable of many things and that the world is far bigger than Hamilton, New Zealand. Some of it was seeing the family as a whole deal with the potentially painful stuff like airport queues and airplane flights (Good job kids!). It was driving and navigating new roads and ‘going bush’ when the beach just wasn’t inviting. It was the wonder of seeing exotic wildlife and wonderful shows. It was the quiet satisfaction that we’d organised everything ourselves and had done a great job of it.
Several years ago I was on a course that revealed to me the joy of contemplative prayer. I asked God a question that went something like this; “what have you put in my heart that’s of use to you and your kingdom?” There were two things. One, I was to be a library of resources for those who are seeking more of God and two, I was to be an explorer who sought out the height, depth, breadth of God’s heart for us and the eternity placed in our own hearts and passed on what I found. Of course, I am still falling short of these two visions!
The thing is that you have to receive in order to give away. To be an explorer you have to be stimulated by the discovery of new things. While God’s picture for me was primarily a ‘spritual’ one, it also had a physical element. I simply love discovering new places, things, ideas, books and so on. I like wandering through cities and browsing in bookshops and watching TED videos. So the holiday was a phyical gift that woke up my heart and reminded me that God’s invitation to me is to explore his kingdom, his heart and his life.
So, what is in your heart? Are you an explorer? A cross-cultural pioneer? A poet? An evnagelist? A crusader for justice? Ask God to reveal what is in your heart for others to benefit from. It’s life-giving and reminds us that our lives have meaning. Then ask yourself what you need to do to ‘wake up’ that part of your heart. Travel? Read some books? See a movie? Serve in a soup-kitchen? Visit missionaries? Whatever it is, do it! Our hearts aren’t meant to lie dormant. They have to be alive – alive in Christ! Our God is on a mission; he is wild at heart and on the move through his Spirit. Let’s shake off our domesticated safeness and join him.