I didn’t think twice after eating an entire box of Raspberry Pop-Tarts, a Canadian Maple donut and a regular sized Ice Capp while I bawled singing the lyrics of this song Captain by Hillsong United. Within twenty minutes my stomach held an entire bag of granulated sugar, but this wasn’t unusual. Not at this point.

I don’t think Jesus ever suffered from eating his feelings, but I know he struggled being in His own town. I’ve been struggling being in my own town since my last adventure, hence the Pop-Tarts. Every adventure I go on, I feel like God’s called me to be a light where there is some darkness. Where people don’t believe in themselves, haven’t heard how amazing they are, or could use a simple act of kindness. If I’m honest though I’d let you know: being me anywhere other than my city is easy. And God didn’t call me into ‘easy’. He called me to follow His voice, straight into the dark.

I think when you came home from adventures abroad, you’d been struggling too. Jesus can relate to us, but we’ve got to learn a fundamental difference between Him and us.

You might immediately throw in my face that Jesus had to leave his town because people only seen him as the carpenter kid of Joseph rather than the son of God, and that’s really true. You might say “See Dee! Jesus had to leave his crummy town, and I need to be like Him, so I’ve got to move too.” And if that’s you, I’d like to say thanks for bringing this point up. Yes, Jesus did have to leave his town. But He did so because His ministry was exhausted, and God the father called Him to leave. I don’t think we’re all being told to go to the furthest points of the world to find purpose or adventure in Christ. I think we’re lazy, we’re complacent, a little bit for the dramatic flare, and we’re made for much, much more than this.

Let me explain.

I’d like to talk about why we really struggle with living fully where we’ve been strategically placed, after having adventured abroad. Before we do so, I just want you to know, I need adventure around the world, I love adventuring the world, and should worldwide adventures come knocking and God lets me open the door, I will go.

There are a lot of reasons why we love adventures. We get to experience different landscapes, different cultures, different people, and a different side of ourselves. We’re doing something so outside our version of normal we finally feel like our self. We put ourselves in a position where courage, boldness, confidence, and solid decisions are required, and we suddenly feel so free. Our experiences typically hold connections to people that feel so natural, deep, and raw that it does make coming home seem a little, well, dark. I think three major things happen when we come come from an adventure. Some are good in their own right, and one in particular is a straight up lie. Let’s look at these quickly, and figure out how to have incredible adventures in purpose, vision, and growth in character where God has placed you in the present.

  1. Connection with Self & Others: When we are away from the norms of our schedule, responsibilities, and community, we are naturally more open to learning more about ourselves. In fact, it seems while we are abroad, we are forced to recognize different aspects of ourselves and of others we hadn’t before. It’s inspiring, and we cannot help but feel a sense of change. We’re surprised by our resolve, our newfound freedoms in thought, and almost shocked by the different people we connect with along the journey. This is good! The end of the adventure abroad however cannot be the end of the connections with self and with others.
  2. Adrenaline & the Unknowns: You sit down on the plane before take-off knowing in a day from now, you’ll be around the world. Do the people beside you even understand?! There is a rush of adrenaline every time we choose to do something new. When we explore new places, meet new people, and conquer fears, we physically experience a rush of adrenaline. This produces endorphins, which make us happy, and dare us to do it again. Adventuring abroad is a drug, and its addicts are always looking for another hit. Exploring the unknowns is good though. Much like the first point though, the end of your adventures abroad cannot be the end of exploring unknowns.
  3. The Haunted House: This one is the lie. It’s the spirit of fear that reminds us of everything back home. The broken relationship, the painful job, the lack of meaningful friendship, and the thousands of other memories from a past which try to haunt you. There is a slight comparison of memories happening here: “But being away I’ve found friends, I’ve been brave, I’m so happy, there’s purpose, life’s simple, I’m alive, I remember who I am!” The lie here is that you don’t and won’t have these things in your ‘real life’. The lie is that everything good is away from home, and everything awful awaits you back home. Granted, you may have awful things to handle back home, but avoiding them by adventuring isn’t real living anyway.

Listen up: If we allow specific experiences away from home to become life’s adventure as a whole, we force expectation onto an incorrect definition of living full and on purpose. And, if we avoid living our purpose at home because it presents hardships, are we really interested in purposely living for Christ, or just living how we please?

You’ve been called from the furthest corners of the world to be YOU. The only one who can do so, exactly where you are. You’re not in a holding corral and there isn’t a moment like the one right now. Don’t give up that hope. Not yet. God’s still working His faithfulness out in you. Especially in the places you understand purpose the least, He knows by heart. Don’t give up that hope. Not yet.

I’d like to encourage you instead: Dare yourself today to find connection with yourself and with others. Go ahead and dig deeper in your own city to find the things, people, and places you don’t know. And lastly, from personal experience I know coming home to the Haunted House is terrifying. But we were made with a spirit of boldness to conquer the spirit of fear. Don’t let the facts of your reality keep you away from knowing the truth about God’s truth for your life.

If your like me, I’d lastly like to encourage you to put down the bag of sugar, or whatever vice you cling to. Stop singing the song like its a sad longing love song and get into the world world around you. There’s unchartered waters right down your street and your God is simply asking if you’d follow Him straight into the dark.