An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. – G. K. Chesterton

Imagine, as a 55-year-old man, you were asked to leave your job that you have loved. 

You would have to leave behind the close relationships you have cultivated for many years. 

Then imagine that you are asked to become an entrepreneur and start a brand new ministry. There is no guarantee of success and immense risk. Imagine your hesitation and then terror at the idea of leaving everything behind. You probably know the failure rate of all start-ups — 90% don’t make it. 

Your fear has some very real facts behind it. But with the encouragement and prodding of friends, you decide to jump. This is no mere metaphor. The feeling is very close to jumping out of an airplane hoping the parachute would eventually open .

Well, imagine no more. This is the story of how Landmark Journey got started. And I am that reluctant entrepreneur. Since our beginning in 2012, these past twelve years have been a Great Adventure for me. I have walked with God through challenge after challenge. I have experienced breakthroughs that I could have never imagined. Along the way, I have confronted my worst fears, experienced my true identity, and felt His presence in countless ways.

So now that you know a bit of my story, perhaps what I say now about spiritual direction may ring a little differently.

What I say about spiritual direction comes from my own experience over these twelve years. I have felt those burdens and concerns. I have felt His presence and work. And I have come to see myself through the eyes of the Father. It has changed everything inside of me. Walking with God has become the Great Adventure. Here are three truths to consider about this adventure.

1. Our Resistance to Adventure

Most men say they would love to go on an adventure. The stories we are drawn to, even as boys, all revolve around the experience of adventure — the freedom, the newness, the wonder. But that’s the catch. We are in love with the idea of adventure. But when we actually go on one, we’re not so sure. We run up against the risks required for any adventure. Fear becomes a gnawing shadow. And then there are the inherent things we need to leave behind. Often these include our self-constructed safety nets to make sure we stay in control of life. But adventure asks us to drop those and simply trust in the ultimate goodness of the adventure. So we hesitate. Maybe staying in our comfortable routines is better.

All of this is the stuff of every great story and myth, from The Odyssey to Lord of the Rings. What is uncanny is that when we open the pages of the Bible, we find the same exact thing! Look at the stories of Abraham, Moses, Gideon, or Jeremiah, just to name a few. In each case, God comes to a man and calls him out on an adventure that requires risks at many turns and leaving much behind. And in each story at some point, you will find the man resisting and doubting. If you feel this way, you are in good company.

2. We Discover Who We Are in Adventure

Here’s another important truth about adventure. It has to do with our identity. As I mentioned in the video, we live in an identity fog. We don’t really know at a gut level who we really are. So we construct identities usually based on what brings us success at or gives us affirmation, only to find that it never answers the question. We also look to others to define us, but they often don’t know who they are either. No wonder we lose our way. Good friends can help us, but in the end only God knows who we really are because how He sees us is our identity. But to be open to this identity requires an adventure that strips away the false identities through testing and risk-taking. Once out of the fog, we can hear His voice and discover how He sees us.

Again, this is one of the turning points in all the great stories. Harry Potter discovers he is not an despised orphan but a wizard with great powers. Frodo is not just an ordinary hobbit but the Ringbearer who will save Middle Earth. And again, the Bible repeats and completes this theme. Abraham discovers he is the father of many nations, Gideon a mighty warrior, and Peter the rock on which the church is built.

My own story lands in the same direction. Th first two years of this ministry was one of incredible turbulence. The newness of the adventure gave way to all the difficulties. Nothing was working out as I thought. I honestly gave it a 1/1000th chance of surviving. In the midst of my fears and anxieties, as I was driving my truck on a routine errand, I heard the Father’s voice whisper to me: “You are My healer.” Those four words focused my entire past life and pointed the way forward. This was my true identity, not all the self-manufactured ones I had lived in.

3. We Discover Our Mission in Adventure

Along with identity, we discover another crucial part of a man’s heart on adventure — what he is to do with the one life he has been given. But there can be such a fog here again. We can live out of the expectations of others. We can chase after dreams of success, fame, and wealth. And here we meet a sinister lie often found in the substructures of our soul: if we do what God wants us to do, we will end up miserable. But often out of the same adventure of walking with God, we begin to understand what we are to do. It sometimes comes out of the deep pain of our own experience. But it always becomes the passion of our hearts, something we long to do even if it’s really, really hard. And doing it brings us such joy.

Once more, the great stories show this idea. Frodo the Ringbearer took to One Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom, a seemingly impossible mission, but he did it. And the Bible again speaks the same idea. Whenever God called a man out, he got a mission. The classic example is Jesus and His disciples. They came to understand that they were bearers of the new Kingdom, and their mission was to spread it far and wide. For me, the name Healer became not just an identity, but a mission, something which I do now every day. For in bringing men into God’s presence, healing happens by definition.

What now?

If walking with God seems boring or draining, I want to challenge you to reconsider what you are believing about the One who made you and knows you. And if you sense God inviting you to walk with Him much closer, notice what draws you to come and where you are hesitant. Finally, if He is calling you out on a specific adventure, invite some close brothers to be a part of what you are sensing. 

Bill Delvaux is a graduate of Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has been a church planter, a high school Bible teacher, and a running coach. Six years ago, he pioneered Landmark Journey Ministries to help men connect their stories to God’s story through retreats and spiritual direction. His newest book, Heroic: The Surprising Path to Manhood, is helping move men forward in their quest. His greatest claim to fame is being married to Heidi for more than 30 years and having two amazing daughters, Abigail, and Rachel. He and his wife currently reside in Franklin, TN.