written by John Ellard, Christ in the Smokies committee member and alumnus
Why is adventure such a critical component of life? Because life IS the adventure. At the center of every man is the desire to prove he has what it takes: to make the grade, to lead, to win, to be meaningful to those he loves.
But as we progress in life, it often doesn’t turn out the way we expected. Somewhere along the way, a fear creeps in that we will let everyone down, and we start to feel like we missed something. We feel we were meant for something greater. At some point, life feels like a struggle to survive instead of an adventure to live. The adventure can easily fade, with setbacks, heartache and loss. Work can become a grind, and marriage feels hard. As men, we can choose to ride it out on our own, or simply resign from our post—OR we can determine to engage with all those around us in an authentic way.
Strive, Resign or Embrace?
To solve the problems presented in life, we have choices. Just knowing there is a choice is much of the battle. Taking the time to identify those options and make a wise decision is something we have to learn.
Strive: Don’t let anyone see you struggle. Don’t be authentic. Dig in and do it because you have to!
Maybe… but the sense of adventure is quickly lost. You can only stand on duty, strive to stand on principle, and try harder for so long. This can lead to a dry and exhausted life. Turning inward, going it alone, and ignoring the fundamental issues of your heart is not the answer. Going it alone is no way to face life. Yet men seem to be conditioned that this is their battle to fight… in isolation.
Resign: Another choice is to hide. Rather than live authentically, we cover up the mess with a fake existence, putting our social media face on and pretending everything is OK. Some find relief to the constant tension and pull of life with resignation, searching for an escape. The distractions of choice often have a screen for men (video games, porn, movies). Along with these distractions comes the lie that this is normal; this is all that’s left. But when you choose to “fade” as a man, you choose the lie.
So what is the better option?
Embrace: Yes, life is an adventure. It is a puzzle to be solved—a battle worth fighting over and over again. Our job is to embrace that adventure and find other men that we can enlist in the fight. We must stop treating it as something that comes easy, or is deserved or owed to us. We must be honest with ourselves and accept that life is hard, risky and messy and can’t be lived alone.
As fathers, we are faced with a critical choice. What will we show our children? What will we model for our sons? Will we embrace our situation and bring the adventure back into our hearts?
God put this desire in us, as men, to seek adventure and take chances. It is a gift. It often presents itself at an early age and continues for our lifetime. A man’s greatest adventure is to accept God’s love and embrace the role of being His son.
This is the life we want to show our sons. We have the opportunity to live the adventure along with them. We can guide them and offer counsel, but more importantly we can break down the wins and the losses and help them realize that their entire lives can be an adventure. If they embrace that idea and feel the rush of the unknown with God—instead of “grinding” it out or receding into the background—their hearts will be full of an arsenal of weapons to resist the lie and embrace the adventure.
To learn more about how Christ in the Smokies can be part of your adventure, and to register you and your son for this life-changing experience, click here.