It’s school season (if you haven’t noticed).
And with it, the school season brings many things: friends, full-schedules, the thrill of learning, homework, late night study sessions, early morning study sessions, teachers, tests, projects, drama–it goes on and on.
But what it brings the most is a pile of unknowns.
And with the unknowns come questions…
Questions about whether you’ll be able to keep up with all your classes. Questions about how you will find friends and maintain a social life. Perhaps even questions about what are you going to do after high-school.
And with these questions, maybe comes worry. What am I going to do with my life after school? Will I still have any friends left by Christmas vacation? Maybe your question is a bit more immediate: What am I going to write in my paper for English class due next week?
Four years out of high-school, I can definitely relate to this feeling of anxiety. Not only have I gone through all of those scenarios (some, I’m still going through), but I’ve faced even more questions.
Some are shallow but imminent, others are deeper and more long term: Will I regret not going to college? Could I make a career as a communicator? Can our church work through its differences? Do I have what it takes to pursue a girl, get married, and raise a family?
I’d love to know the answers to these questions. I’d love for Jesus to take me out for coffee and lay out the next ten years of my life for me–or at least the next few months. In fact, I have asked Jesus for direction, wisdom, and revelation in making decisions for my life.
But more often than not, I don’t receive the crystal-clear “revelation” I’m looking for. Sometimes, I don’t even feel like I receive strong direction.
Usually, it’s a gentle, quiet invitation to adventure.
Let me explain…
We Don’t Need to Know All the Details
For the last three years, I’ve had the privilege of helping with a boys’ leadership hike in the mountains of Colorado.
We spend eight days on the trail teaching the guys about leadership, teamwork, responsibility, and how to do life with excellence.
An important part of the experience is the element of surprise. We give the guys only the information they absolutely need in order to do well on the trail–and no more (if we can help it). The less they know ahead of time, the greater the impact the lessons have on their memory.
In light of this, one of our favorite phrases to say when they ask questions they don’t need the answers to is “Come along and find out.”
“How many miles will we be hiking today, Chief?” or “Where are we going to get the rest of our food?”
Our reply? “Come along and find out.”
At first, this can be really irritating to the hikers. They feel out of control and in the dark, which is frustrating.
But, in reality, it’s not a matter of squelching their feeling of security, but an invitation to enjoy the adventure as it comes. If you can learn to embrace it, there’s a wonderful freedom and pleasure in waking up inside a tent with no idea what the day holds.
We as chiefs obviously aren’t going to let anything bad happen to the guys. If they need a piece of information, we’ll give it to them when they actually need it, or we’ll walk them through it until they figure it out themselves. We certainly won’t let them hike off a cliff or starve to death.
There’s a deep desire in all of us to know what’s coming down the road so we’re not taken off guard or surprised. Sometimes we really do need strong direction from God and He will readily give it to us. Usually, however, we just want to know the outcome so we can feel safe, secure, and in control of our lives.
The guys usually relax, after several days, and realize they can simply step into the adventure and enjoy the freedom of innocence.
“Come and See”
Jesus actually did this to His disciples a few times. One of my favorite stories is when several of John the Baptist’s disciples started following Jesus.
I mean, they literally started following Him–like stalkers. Jesus quickly noticed and, naturally, turned around and asked what they wanted.
“Teacher, where are you staying?” they inquired.
You know what his response was?
“Come, and you will see” (John 1:35-39).
The Son of God–likely with a nod and a smile–had just invited them into his grand adventure.
“Come along and find out.”
Stepping Into the Unknown Leads to Adventure
In life, we’ll never run out of things to worry about–you and I. I’m sure we’ll always have a list of questions for Jesus and a stack of prayers we hope get answered in a certain way.
Right now, our worries might have to do with surviving another school year or what we’ll do next summer.
Later on in life, we’ll be facing more and bigger worries. And–I hope–continuing to take them to Jesus for guidance and wisdom.
But don’t be discouraged if–instead of answers, you get a simple invitation to: “Come along and find out.”
That’s what makes it an adventure.