Revolution, Rule-Breaking, and Living Ordinary Adventures

My friend would stop by my dorm room to make the jaunt across campus, rain or shine. This journey wasn’t for class; it was for Revolution. Revolution was an eclectic group of Christ-followers, who would gather once a week to discuss what it looked like to radically follow Jesus in a world that pulls us in so many other directions. I was at a point in my faith when I was hungry for any and every discussion about the Bible and what it meant to be a Christian.

I didn’t say very much when I sat shoulder to shoulder with these others in a circle on a dorm room floor. (This may be, perhaps, one of the few times in my life that has been true.) I don’t think I made much of an impression on anyone else. But they made an impression on me. I absorbed their passion and learned from their wonderings. This group was an essential piece of my realization that either my faith meant everything or it meant nothing.

Revolution was one of the many nudges that pushed me towards a different path with my life. And for that, I am so grateful.

The organizers of this group were a couple: Adam and Christine. I admired them for their perspective, their relationship, and their passion to make the world a better place.

They went on from that group to get married, and live a life filled with adventures around the globe. They truly did become revolutionaries. For the last 14 years, as I have heard bits and pieces of their story, my esteem for them has only grown.

And so today, I am going to break one of my rules.

In 160+ posts, I have never done a book review on this site. It just seemed like an easy boundary to draw so that I would stay focused with my content. But Adam and Christine recently published a book. And over the weekend, I finished reading it. For so many reasons, I decided it would be a disservice to my readers to not let you know about it.

I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from reading This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down without Settling by Christine and Adam Jeske. I say this from having read a copy of the book that I purchased with my own money. I say this without profiting personally in any way from the endorsement.

I recommend this book for a simple reason: it is good. This Ordinary Adventure is engaging, genuine, and challenging.

The stories of Christine and Adam’s adventures living in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa made it difficult for me to put this book down. I was surprised, though, at what these stories didn’t do: they didn’t make me feel inadequate. Instead of feeling like I had failed God or missed out because I have never ridden a motorcycle down an African road, I felt inspired to live more fully right where I am.

I think this book can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes from within it:

“Faith invites, enables, finds the bridge across the chasm. And then we have to walk it. Listen. Believe. Go. See God there. Repeat. Every day, every year. As long as life endures.”

That is how I want to live my life. If it sounds good to you, too, please pick up a copy of this book today. You won’t be sorry.

Setting Boundaries and Noticing The Amazing

I’m not sure how long I had been sitting at the computer. My two year old was playing downstairs, more independently than usual, while I was click-clacking away, staring at my screen. Every once in awhile, I would hear a quiet voice call, “Mommy, come play with me.” And I would respond with my usual, “Just a minute, honey.”

As I continued to focus on my screen instead of on him, his patience waned. He made his way up the stairs and began playing with the things directly around my chair. At least then he was in close proximity to me.

He would find things to keep his mind entertained for a bit, but it wouldn’t take long for another “come play with me” request to escape from his lips. But the request, no matter how earnest, was met with the same “just a minute, honey” response I gave last time.

Eventually, he changed his tactic. He marched over to my chair, put his hand on top of mine, and shoved the keyboard drawer closed. Then, he climbed on my lap, grabbed both cheeks, looked in my eyes, and demanded, “Mommy, come play with me.”

I had no choice. Crumpled into conviction, I marched downstairs holding him in my arms. I left my computer and exchanged it for his Duplos.

I spent time with him instead of just next to him.

I wish God would grab my face sometimes.

I know, I know, I KNOW, that I spend way too much of my day distracted. Engrossed in Twitter. Checking this or that blog. Sending texts. Scanning pictures.  Scrolling through Facebook.

The problem is that God is not usually as assertive as my two year old. The Holy Spirit nudges more than pushes, whispers more than shouts.

I wonder how often I have missed God saying, “come play with Me.”

I spend lots of time reading and thinking and writing about God. But often, that keeps my relationship with God on the periphery. It’s something I focus on when I have time. It’s not full engagement. It’s more of a “next to God” life than a “with God” life.

I want more. I want to stop being distracted. I want to live. Fully.

My friends Adam and Christine Jeske have written a book and issued a challenge. To live 31 amazing days in the month of October. As I thought about how I would enter this challenge, I couldn’t escape one thought: I need to draw boundaries.

I can’t notice the amazing around me if my eyes are glued to the screen in front of me.  I can’t be amazed at how God is nudging me if I’m not quiet enough to notice and follow.

Now, I don’t think a strict “give up social media” fast is what I need. In many ways, social media enriches my life. I just need to figure out where it is distracting more than it is helping. Here are two boundaries I can think of right away:

In October, I will not use screens at the table. Whether it is meals or snacks, I will use time at the Table to notice the amazing in my kids.

In October, I will not use screens while outside. Whether on a walk or at a park, I will use time outside to notice the amazing in God’s creation.

And, as I think of more boundaries I should have, I will add them. This challenge gives me an excuse to set boundaries and not miss engaging with the amazing around me.

I already had to put this boundary into practice this morning. Before I finished writing, my son woke up and was ready for breakfast. I put my computer away and sat with him. The first thing I noticed was his astounding skill at making a mess with his food. But then I noticed his eyes. When I took the time to look, he took the time to look back. We had eye contact for almost all of breakfast. And my heart smiled.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the month holds.

You can follow what I notice and do (along with many others) using the Twitter hashtag #31AmazingDays. Just know that some of my tweets may be delayed. You know, due to the social media boundaries I just set for myself.

This should be fun. Would you join me in the challenge?