Chasing Messes, the Crucial Key for Every Adventure

Copyright Unsplash

Copyright Unsplash

I want a life beyond safe and neat: welcoming uncertainty, impervious to bad attitudes, that has no need for strong-arming chaos into control. I long for a life open to adventure and new vistas, to embrace a bold, yet surrendered way of living, like I’m perched on the edge of the world, overlooking God’s glory. I imagine it’s right where I’m a smidgen terrified but thrilled to my toes with what could possibly lie beyond view. I want a life that chases messes.

Highway Bribery

In our family, we pursue chaos by hitting the road. I remember when we pulled up to the entrance of the Grand Canyon a few years ago. After 5 states and 48 hours cooped up in the minivan together, no amount of candy or pleadings could entice our two kids to stop whining or fighting. Bobby and I wondered if we had pushed everyone to the brink (quite literally).

Epic roadtrips like this have earned our family the title of “Roadtrip Warriors.” Outfitted with audiobooks and camping gear in the minivan, we have traversed 31 states in 3 years.

Even though we may give off the fearless adventuring vibe, the reality is: every cave, volcano, and waterfall comes with a cost. There’s vomit at rest stops, marital spats over phone usage, and yes, jelly bean bribery in the desert.

Sometimes adventure feels more like a flat tire.20160227_161855-01

A Better Way To Lose Control

I remember when my daughter was a colicky baby and cried through most of her first year of life. Sleeping through her racket and my postpartum was a matter of survival. I wanted life to be messy without avocado on the walls and dog hair in the butter. Chaos and clutter made me feel inadequate and out of control.

One day I realized she didn’t want to wait on life, and truthfully, neither did I. But how does one go about living an open-handed life, accepting the gift of each wonderful, crazy moment when really, it feels better to retreat under warm covers?

Fear kept me from living in forward motion.

Adventure is not just a noun, a thing, or even a nice thought to which we aspire. Adventure is a verb, an action to “engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.” Living life like an adventure means moving into it as uncharted territory, open to every possible discovery.

Having less management over my life freed me to take bigger risks. Before we knew it, trips to the park became white-floured cooking explosions. And splashing in the creek morphed into ridiculously addicting road trips.


Beyond the Edge

That day at the Grand Canyon turned out to be the strangest, most wonderful adventure. At an overlook sign on a narrow trail, five-year old Kyle nearly fell to his death. My husband saved him with his bare arm. We cried and I made everyone hold hands the rest of the day. I don’t know how, but we pushed onward through the mess.

We watched the sun set it’s golden crown on the horizon with people who dangled their legs over the canyon’s edge like it was nothing. As we boarded the bus back to the parking lot, Kyle banged his elbow on a rail. A blonde German and his girlfriend gave him a band-aid and a thumbs up. The man tried to quell Kyle’s sniffles by assuring him the bandage was waterproof. He gave him another thumbs up and said, “Hot man!” with a big grin. (Translation: “You’re ok, dude!”)

The bus rattled through the dark. I remember looking past the rows of passengers at Abby talking with a British girl about rainbow loom bracelets and what it was like to live in Italy versus Kansas. She was overcoming her fears of talking to strangers.

At 10 p.m. the road warriors sat around a tiny dinner table in a rented RV. We devoured greasy burgers on stale buns. Kyle snored in his plate. A lucid gratefulness swept over my exhausted being: for the simplicity of epic moments, saving grace, and every beautiful mess we would get up and chase again tomorrow.

Forty Days of Adventure

Free Download: Tiny Adventures

Needing some practical ways to embrace the mess and live more adventurously? Charissa Steyn of Art of Adventure has created 40 Tiny Adventures to help you do just that. Simple ways to:

  • practice stepping out of your comfort zone
  • enliven your heart to explore the unknown
  • embrace change
  • love the mystery of following Jesus
  • make messes
  • step out in faith
  • travel deeper into God’s heart.

Download it free.

Journal Giveaway


We are giving away one hand-crafted 40 Days of Adventure journal (a $16 value). To enter, leave a comment below and tell us your next adventure, big or small.20160227_161410-01


Charissa is also offering 15% off any item in the Art of Adventure Shop. She’s got journals and goods to inspire you to live life courageously. (I love  her postcards!) Use coupon code “tinyadventures.” (Good through April 30, 2016).Adventure-Begins-1

Giveaway official rules: The giveaway begins Tuesday, April 18 at 6 a.m. CST and ends Tuesday, April 26 at 12 p.m., CST. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email within 24 hours of the giveaway’s end. The winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected.

(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)
Share the Love
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrEmail this to someone
April 19, 2016
  • Wendy Munsell is the winner of the Art of Adventure Journal. Congrats!

  • lisa z

    Great post, and super fun resources, Christina. Thanks for sharing these. If I’m still in the window for a contest entry, my next adventure is stand up paddleboarding on Saguaro Lake, followed by an epic 21 hour road trip back to KC. One of my underlying adventures, that I pray comes full circle in May, is to discover what causes some pulmonary issues I am having and gives solutions that allow me to hike mountains and run marathons and seek the next major adventure. Thanks for reminding me that, in the mean time, I can still pursue little adventures every day.

    • Hi, Lisa, Thanks for taking the time to comment. Paddleboarding sounds fantastic! And yes, those tiny adventures can sustain us in the longterm, in the midst of uncertainty. Praying you find some answers and new journeys in the meantime.

  • You are one brave Momma! There’s so many times where I seek the safe boundaries of parenthood rather than being adventurous. One day I hope to have the means to travel with my family, but until then you have encouraged me to tune into my adventurous side of motherhood.

  • This is a beautiful post! For me right now in this season of my life, living adventurously means ignoring piles of laundry and toys and messes and running down to the beach at the end of my community and letting my kids jump in to the water fully clothed, staying up a little later than usual to watch my husband learn how to become an empire for baseball one of his dreams, the kids are cranky and want to leave the baseball field –so I promised them ice cream and being adventurous means that I take on speaking engagement at work because my dream is to speak to women about God’s crazy mad love for them and my work will give me some opportunities to practice, living adventurously means that I am taking more risks and friendships and saying I love you more and I need you more in my life instead of trying to do life alone. Thank you for posting this to us it really encouraged my soul!

    • Love this Liz… Such awesome ways you’re pursuing adventure in your life!

  • Road trips are addicting! We crisscross the country that way, too! In lieu of a road trip this year, however, we’ve decided that our next grand adventure is moving. Doing all the set up for the move has certainly been a mess, and that won’t stop until long after we’ve moved, but it’s an exciting, adventurous mess and it’s all ours 😉

    • I agree Emily! Moving is certainly a big adventure!The Lord always teaches me so much though!

  • Brenda Williams

    What a great adventure. One of my goals is to see Grand Canyon. My Mom has said she wants all her children to see it like she has. I would love your journal to record the next 40 days! thank you.

    • Hi, Brenda, I do hope you are able to see it some day. It is so worth it. With your siblings would be even more amazing! I’m so glad you stopped by to read and enter the giveaway.

  • Thank you a million times for this post. It came at just the right time. We are moving tomorrow and a few weeks ago I was NOT excited! But I prayed to know how to make these next few months of waiting for our house to be built and living in an old rental special and guess what the Lord told me? This will be an adventure!!! Make every day of this crazy, messy transition time an adventure and you will love every minute. So when I saw your post I knew it was written for me! We will be sure to use your 40 days of adventure download and I’m just so excited. Thank you for the inspiration. And I would absolutely LOVE this beautiful journal to record our experiences. 🙂

    • Hi, Jamie, moves are one of the biggest, messy adventures! You’re positive perspective and receptivity to God will certainly bring amazing surprises. Blessings on your move and thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Christina, this post really caught at my heart. There is so much depth to your message. As someone who has, for the most part, preferred to have my life “safe and neat” I am breathless at the possibilities involved in “welcoming uncertainty.” Wow! Thank-you for writing and sharing this. I’m excited about welcoming what God has for me with His courage!

  • Kimberly

    We are headed from Texas to Iowa with our year and a half daughter for a weekend trip!

    • Kimberly, miles of possibilities and definitely an adventure with a little one. Thanks for sharing. (Give me a wave if you pass Kansas City!)