I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the adventure God had prepared for me, once I decided to “get on board” or really “off board.”
You see, I was born for adventure, I was born to be wild! That’s right, and the truth is, we were all born to be wild! I spent my whole life looking for adventure. When I was a child I started a bicycle club. We took t shirts and drew a design on the back. I remember riding our bicycles around the neighborhood, taking chances by riding with no hands, jumping ramps, and any other kind of excitement we could come up with that would be considered risky behavior.
At 13 years old I began to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. This would not only give me a sense of belonging, because I became a part of the community of other kids that were getting high, but it also gave me that sense of excitement. That feeling of adventure that I was so desperate for. As a teenager I would go on to join other friends and sneak our parents cars out of the driveway in the middle of the night for joy rides around the neighborhood before any of us had our driver licenses. I became involved in all kinds of risky behavior as a teenager that never quite fulfilled that need for adventure that I was looking for.
As an adult I joined a motorcycle club and was up for almost anything. After a little over a year in the Army I went AWOL and spent a year hiding out from the government. Traveling from Carolina to California as a 21 year old kid. I was entrenched in the motorcycle club lifestyle with all the drugs, alcohol, violence, crime, and sexual deviation that came along with that lifestyle. I lived that life for almost 20 years, thinking that I was living out the adventure that most people only dreamed of. The truth is I was living out an illusion that most people would never want. I didn’t even realize the damage I was doing in my life, the lives of my family, and the lives of my friends who I was leading down the wrong paths.
At 38 years old I tried crack cocaine for the first time, becoming almost instantly addicted. Finally I had found the feeling of adventure I had been looking for, or so I thought. The escape from reality was all I found however it was only an escape while the high lasted and then, when the high wore off and the overwhelming shame and regret set it. That would send me back to the escape, so I didn’t have to face the wreckage I was creating. At this point even bikers didn’t trust me anymore so I was off to another community.
The drug addict community is truly a dark place. No one is on your side, there are no friends, everyone is out to get what they can from each other. Just like the selfishness of an addict the entire community is wrapped around the same selfish behavior that is at the root of every addicts behavior. But again, I thought this was the adventure. Robbing people, robbing drug dealers, stealing cars, in and out of jail, scheming and conniving.
I thought I had found the pinnacle of adventure. Living outside of societal norms. I was slowly killing myself physically, I was completely dead emotionally, and I was horribly corrupt spiritually. I thought “normal” people were fools and I was the smartest person around. Trying to figure out which dumpster might have some food, sleeping in the crawl spaces under peoples houses to get out of the weather, lying to my parents in order to send me money. This was the adventure I thought I’d been looking for my whole life.
The truth is, as the song says, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places.” Not quite, but I was looking for adventure in all the wrong places! You see God had created me for a life of adventure. I was born to be wild. I had this need that I was born with but I didn’t know how to achieve it, how to fulfill it. I didn’t understand that I wasn’t equipped for the adventure I was born for. God had a plan for my life but He wouldn’t force it on me. He would patiently wait for me until I was ready.
I’m so grateful that God knew one day I would “get on board.” Or should I say “off board.” (Matthew 14:22-33) Much like Peter and the disciples on the boat. I had been playing it safe my whole life. I had been on the boat. No doubt that there had been many storms, rough waters, and scary moments but I was still in the safety of the boat. Jesus wanted me to get out of the boat, to quit playing it safe, and to walk on water……now that’s an adventure!
Since accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I have plugged in to the power that he’s made available in my life. The adventure begins with the moment you ask Him in but if you stop there you’ll be standing on the water but you’ll never realize what it’s like to walk on the water! That’s right, the Truth has to become ingrained in your being. As I’ve come to know Him, Jesus, the Truth, and as I’ve learned to trust him I’m not only walking on water, I’m dancing around on it.
Here are some ways to put it in to perspective.
I was the black sheep of my family most of my life, the baby, irresponsible, always depending on help from everyone else. Today, I own a successful business, I’m a respected leader, and others look to me for wise counsel. Today people look to me for help, even people who used to look down on me now look up to me.
I never had anything my whole life. I rented homes, drove beater vehicles, lived paycheck to paycheck, or handout to handout. Today, my future is secure. I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination however I am financially secure.
I’ve been a biker my entire adult life however I never had a motorcycle that was dependable enough to ride down the road without the imminent risk of breakdown. Since getting out of the boat I have ridden over 90,000 miles without a worry on several motorcycles that I could depend on.
I could go on and on but you’re starting to get the idea. And the adventure I was looking for my entire life…..today I’m living it! Since accepting Christ I’ve learned to make choices based on the truth. You see, when you know the truth then you’re no longer engaging in risky behavior when you get out of the boat. There’s no chance of failing! I remember thinking it’s kind of like I was walking on a tight rope most of my life. It was scary, risky, and certain death if I took the slightest wrong step. Now, after allowing Jesus to be in charge I’m walking on the tightrope but without the fear, the risk, or the promise of death at the wrong move. No, today, if I fall Jesus will catch me and help me back up on the rope.
That’s right, my entire life I was playing it safe because if I had made just the slightest move, the smallest mistake I was headed to certain death and I knew it. Today, I can jump off the cliff without fear. Today, instead of being afraid of the storm I can enjoy the rain on my face. Today, instead fearing bad news I see opportunities to exercise my faith. Today, instead of looking for adventure, I’m living it out.
If you’ve been in the boat your whole life, quit playing it safe, get out! That’s right, and if you’ve already asked Jesus in to your life and you’ve gotten out of the boat…..don’t stand there, quit playing it safe! Start walking, then running, then dancing on the water, in the middle of the storm, without fear. Now that’s an adventure!