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Photo credit:  Elizabeth Shows Caffey

One of the themes of this summer for me has been new adventures.  This summer I tried aerial yoga for the first time – a practice of yoga that involves being suspended from the ceiling with silks.  I also rode a bike for the first time in over 20 years.  And last night, for the first time ever, I represented our church by throwing one of the first pitches at our local minor league baseball games.  In each of those instances, I was nervous, skeptical, or downright scared.  I know I yelped at least once in aerial yoga.  When I first started riding the bike, I was so stressed out that my hands started hurting from gripping the handlebars.  And as I waited to throw that first pitch, my stomach was doing flip-flops.

Those examples may not sound all that thrilling to you.  I certainly did not skydive, bungee jump, or walk a tightrope.  But those adventures were all experiences I normally would have declined – coming up with a hundred reasons why the adventures would be a bad idea:  pulled muscles, skinned knees, or a bruised ego.  But in each instance, I could see in the eyes of the people asking me to take the adventure a sense of longing, hopefulness, vulnerability.  They were inviting me into adventure, and saying “no” would have meant a crushed spirit of enthusiasm.  And so, against my better judgment, I said “yes.”  And you know what?  In every instance I had a ton of fun!

I was thinking this morning about that weighty pause when someone invites you into adventure – when you can either say “yes” or “no,” with the person left eagerly anticipating your response.  I think we experience that same weighty pause with God all the time.  God is constantly inviting us to take on new adventures:  stepping through the church doors for the first time in a long time, hoping not to be judged or hurt; going to a church study group, unsure about how your doubts or questions may be received; serving dinner at the homeless ministry, wondering what you can possibly say to or have in common with someone who lives on the streets.  If you do not have a relationship with Christ, saying “yes” can be hard.  But even when you do have a relationship with Christ, responding positively to an invitation from God can be hard.  Taking on new adventures with God means trusting, letting go of fear, and making yourself vulnerable.

I wonder what invitations to adventure God has been inviting you to try this week.  What invitation might you say “yes” to that you have been delaying or refusing altogether?  The risk is that you might pull some muscles, skin some knees, or bruise that old ego.  But the payoff is that you might find meaning, purpose, and renewed relationship with God.  And I suspect that you might also have a bit of fun!