I think I must be part Hobbit. I do have big feet. And like Bilbo I have an aversion to adventure. Here comes Gandalf the great wizard; Bilbo hopes that he has come with fireworks, but doesn't realize he is going to a pyrotechnic show of a whole other kind. Gandalf says he has come looking for someone to share an adventure. And Bilbo immediately shakes his head and says no, “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today."
Looking back at my life I realize that there truly was going to be a great change after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I guess I am glad that He didn't come to me and say, we are going on a great adventure like Gandalf did. I probably would have said no and went back to my life as it was. A life of predictability, ho hum, just get through to the next day rut. Wake up and repeat.
I didn't realize that I had gotten myself into a different kind of rut. I thought my Christian life meant going to church, bible study, watch Christian tv, listen to Christian music. I wasn't living out my Christianity, I was studying it, watching it, listening to it, reading about it. And I was a good student. I read my bible, Christian books, the concordance, books of history and maps. But as Gandalf tells Bilbo, "The world is not in your books and maps. It's out there." I was doing all the right things, but I wasn't 'being'. Do it all today, wake up and repeat. I had to go out. Out? That's scary. That's frightening. But that's where Jesus wants us. We don't do any good for others when all we do is stay inside the four walls of the church; after all that is where the disciples already are, right? No, as Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life," (The Message). God, I have to go out? Out into that big, bad scary world? What will happen to me? What will become of me? Bilbo asks Gandalf the same thing; if I go can you promise I'll come back. In other words back to my comfort zone, to safety, to my books and tea. And Gandalf answers honestly, I cannot promise that, and if you do come back you will not be the same.
Oh how right Gandalf was. Bilbo would never be the same. He would set out on the adventure of his life and he would come back a different man. He would travel far, fight monsters, endure dangers he never even imagined. His life would be in danger, he would become responsible for others and he would have to make life and death decisions that would not only affect him but others as well. It was frightening, it was often downright terrifying, but when he looked back he realized what a glorious time it was.
He was changed. Changed from the man, who shortly after heading out says he must go back for his handkerchief. He had to put aside comfortable things and step into his destiny. How often have we started stepping into our destiny, into God's will and realized things felt a bit dicey. And, nope, God I need to get back home, back where it's safe, back where it's comfortable. God never promised us a life of comfort. He did promise that in all the trials and tribulations that He would be with us. He is taking us on an adventure of a lifetime; no, an adventure for all eternity.
And yes, it has been adventure. Once I fully committed, signed the contract per se I have never been the same. Now it wasn't exactly the same contract that Bilbo signed, although sometimes it felt like it. Bilbo's contract with the dwarves read something like this..."It's just the usual; summary of out-of-pocket expenses, time required, remuneration, funeral arrangements, so forth; up to but not exceeding one fourteenth total profit if any. Present company shall not be liable for injuries including but not limited to laceration, evisceration... incineration". There have been times when it felt like laceration, evisceration and incineration were on their way. Times when fighting the monsters meant those that not only looked horrifying, but those that looked just like me. When it might have been easier to battle Smaug than to walk into the church on Sunday. I may have come out a bit burnt and smelling of smoke, but God always got me through. And through it all God was forming me into the woman, the warrior that He designed me to be. I am not the same. He has chosen us all to be in that company called His children, His own. He has chosen us, which means He will equip us and He will be with us on that journey. We just have to get out of our own way, step out of our comfort zone, look past our fears. My fears have always been of failure, of letting others down, of making a fool of myself. And you know what? I have failed, I have let others down, I have made a fool of myself. But God even uses those things to teach me, to humble me, to reaffirm how much I need Him.
What are your fears? What are your excuses? Don't tell them to me, give them to God. As for me I'm off on an adventure!
The Hobbit, An Uexpected Journey quotes from imdb.com