It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. Bilbo Baggins
J.R.R Tolkien The Lord of the Rings
I watched a video the other day from a friend whose baby girl was taking her first steps. The little tike was propped up against a dresser and giving it her best "just hanging out" pose when her momma began to woo and invite her to come. Wobbly, and yet somehow determined, she half-pivoted and was off the safety of her perch, compelled to move, and just like that, committed to the next four feet. She was chunky and smiling. She looked like a fullback banging into the end zone through a goal line defense though there was no opposition to her movement other than she had never done it before. When she arrived in momma's arms the cheering began and she seemed to believe putting her whole hand in her mouth was the prize, and then, it was time to do it, again!
After those initial steps in our lives, we actually toddle again and again throughout our lives. So many "first steps". We tentatively wobble into new schools, new jobs, or new relationships never to be the same on the other side of four feet or 40 years. I am more aware of this beautiful treading forward by watching my three girls grow up, now all out of the nest and several steps into their new adult lives. Abbey, my newest freshman in college, shared with us the other day after just a few weeks into these initial college steps, "I wish I could be little, again." Don't we all, sometimes? Like Bilbo said, "it's a dangerous business." Adventures come in all shapes and sizes. Many I had no idea I was on until well into them.
15 years ago, I stepped out my front door and headed west to Colorado to take in a men's retreat offered by John Eldredge and his Ransomed Heart Ministry team based on his new book, Wild at Heart, which was growing in popularity. Actually, there were five of us going together joining a crew of 270 other men, also wanting more. I had no idea what was about to happen or where I was going to be swept off to. That weekend changed my life... God changed my life. What an adventure it was and has been!
Now, a decade-and-a-half later, my wife and children, as well as many, many friends and allies lives have also changed; each with the taking of their first steps into the Larger Story. I was in my late 30s then, when these chapters of my life started... the battles and the views have been spectacular. The enemy of my soul is no longer a covert operative, and neither is the King of my heart! Paul summed up his letter to a new church full of young toddling believers attempting to make their way through a gauntlet of belief. They had taken some tumbles and weren't sure if they were on the right road. Paul assured them they were. Then he writes,
May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Walking with God is a dangerous and glorious business. There is no telling where He will take you and no way you really wouldn't want to go... it is in the looking back that it becomes more clear. The beginning is usually pretty foggy. The road eventually meets you where God wants, and you're swept off to no knowing... He knows and has important experience and encounters waiting to heal you, or train you, or both.
In a few days, 50 men are going to gather outside Colorado Springs at Bear Trap Ranch, most of whom are taking their first steps into the Larger Story at The Heart of a Warrior West Retreat. I can't help but be excited for them. I'm reminded of my first steps, and I believe deep down that this coming weekend will somehow, in some way, be another set of first steps for me as I take the Master's hand and enter into the battle for the heart and the love story in which He, no doubt, has a grand part for me to play. Here is a link to the Zoweh Conference Prayer... I invite you to intercede for this weekend and the great adventure God has for those getting away with Him.
How about you? Where is God wooing you? How is He challenging you to trust in Him? Where might He be inviting you to take His hand and move out of the comfort of a front door and onto a faith-journey certain to change you from the very first step? Adventure On!