In my last post, Discovering the Pioneer Spirit Inside of You – Part 1, I asked the question, “Do you consider your life frontier?” We looked at how your life is confronted with many unfamiliar territories over its course. And although countless people before you may have encountered similar frontiers, these challenges are still unique to you.
Now comes the question, “What do you do with this?” How do you rustle up the courage to step into the unknown and find the gumption to keep going? (If you haven’t read Part 1, I encourage you to read that first.)
Here’s the problem we have with pioneering new territory: We can’t see what lies ahead. We can hope in something good beyond the horizon, but all that our nearsightedness sees for miles are barren flats.
Will I ever get there? How will I get through this? There must be an easier way.
Here’s the secret: We must give up control.
Yes, I know. You don’t like that answer. I don’t either. But…
It Begins with Trust
I love this definition I found on a website called World Language Process. It defines trust as:
“Having faith. Positive expectation that all will be well. Having confidence that the right thing will come about without trying to control it or make it happen. Being sure, in the depths of our being, that there is some gift or learning in everything that happens.”
The early pioneers must have understood the virtue of trust. Trekking across unknown territories with so many dangers beyond their control—especially with families young and old—would seem ridiculous. Heck, it was ridiculous.
But so is handing over the car keys to my sixteen year-old daughter. So is sending my son, who graduates high school this week, out into a reckless world, when all he’s ever known is life under the protective wings of mom and dad.
And so is choosing to keep going when you want to quit. Or when you’ve been deeply wounded. When your fear is great. When your doubts feel insurmountable. When your faith has waned and you’ve given up hope, especially in a loving God. It still begins with trust.
The pioneers had to trust others. And yes, that meant the risk of mutiny, and betrayals.
They had to trust in themselves. And overcome their past failures.
They had to trust in God. Who else were they going to rely on when circumstances left them beyond human control?
New frontiers expose our weaknesses. They surface our discomforts. They demand that we either overcome and grow stronger—or we retreat, and possibly perish.
My wife and I can choose to either hold our son back, out of our own selfishness and fear, or we impart him with trust, to carry the torch forward as he stands before his own frontier of leaving home. The former would stunt his prosperity and success; the latter could change the world.
And that trust part also means entrusting what we hold so dear into God’s care. With our son, that means relinquishing the control we’ve held for the last eighteen years and allowing him to walk into his own story, one that is full of fear and ambush and betrayal, but also full of adventure, worthy battles, tests of faith, love, and the hope of a full and meaningful life.
Leave the ‘Burbs Behind
Our lives can never be cookie-cutter suburban. They are not postage stamp lots with easy maintenance. Life is not always predictable. So why do we insist on believing we can make our lives into nice little storybook neighborhoods, set in towns with perfect square buildings and convenient intersections where cars and people never collide?
We are not brick and mortar. We are flesh and blood, spirit and soul. Dynamic beings created for creating, and exploring. Passion bordering on recklessness, because in our hearts we were created to care about each other, and in our caring we embark into foreign lands for those we love. It sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous, but so it was when God entrusted this world into our care in the beginning.
It is His pioneer spirit indwelling in us if we so choose to embrace it.
Re-orient your heart in the direction of your fear. Know that you’re going to get a few splinters along the way. Wood is rough on the prairie. There are no smooth, finely sanded edges. The cuts and scrapes will serve to remind you that you’re far from dead. You are very alive.
There’s a verse I love from the book of John in the Bible. It says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Are you holding on to the safer, suburban regions of your heart? Is there something that you are afraid to confront, or let go of? Who or what will you have to trust to move toward the horizon of this new frontier in your life?