I stumbled on a quote reading an old issue of Outside magazine. 58 year-old Reid Stowe, a sailor en route to setting the record for the longest sea voyage without resupply in history, reveals a big truth about you and me:
I’ve learned a lot about myself…I’ve learned that we as humans must explore. We must see and discover new things or we degenerate. My hope is that this voyage will inspire people to overcome their fears and follow their dreams–to explore.
This comes from God. What Stowe the sailor says is directly linked to being created in the image and likeness of God,who put us in a to-be-explored-and-cultivated-universe. God declared this vast and varied creation, “very good.” He gave us a world with trails and truth, neighbors and noodles, Bibles and beauty, IPOs and IPAs, oceans and orchestras, spreadsheets and spears, art and animals, language and lumber, the gospel and grapes, Yosemite and Yelp, Mars and marriage, goose down and God’s glory.
And the Creator gave us eyeballs, fingertips, nostrils, holes in our ears, bumps on our tongues, synapses in our brain, and curiosity in our hearts as tools to explore with.
Humans must explore. We must “see and discover new things or we degenerate.” God made us this way. The North Face motto ought to be the Christian’s motto, “Never Stop Exploring.” In fact, Christians ought to be the world’s greatest Explorers, for we know the God in whose image we’re created. We know that he put us here to explore and make (Genesis 1:26-28). If you don’t buy the argument from the Bible, buy the argument from experience: look at what children do all day. Kids are natural explorers and makers, discoverers and builders. A seven-year old boy discovers a tree and a piece of rope, and three minutes later he’s built his own imaginary kingdom. What you instinctively knew and did in your childhood, you may have forgotten: You were created to explore and make something out of that exploration.
My conviction and experience is that the moment you quit being an Explorer–the second you identify yourself first as an “Executive,” “Employee,” “Stay-at-home-Mom,” “Pastor,” or whatever it is you do that you’ve let define you, you degenerate. When your earthly occupation trumps God’s deeper design in you to explore and discover, your occupation will lose its fire and direction because you’ve let it define and confine you instead of letting God’s voice, love, and exploratory design define and liberate you.
We ought to be Explorers (Christians) first, and Electricians or Executives or second.
Are you stuck, bored, or numb? You’ve probably stopped exploring. You’ve probably forgotten God built you to explore. Repent and believe. Repent and explore! Break your routine. Do something new. Take a risk. Ask a question. Chase your curiosity. Maybe you need to step outside, stare at the stars, see that God is alive and so are you, and remember that you’re standing on a big ball spinning 1,040 miles per hour around the sun–a big ball teeming with discoveries to make. Today and tomorrow, your work and your relationships, your problems and your desires, could look very different if you decide to do some exploring. Most of us need to become more like a curious child, and less like a busy and boring adult.
Historians say the age of exploration is over. I say that, for the Christian, the age of exploration never ended and never will. Never stop exploring. There’s more to life that what you’re currently experiencing. Go explore.
*Photo: A cafe in the rarely visited town of Sassofortino, Italy. If you ever explore there, try the gelato.