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Tag: Unknown territory

Hero embarking on a journey

Into the Unknown

Hero embarking on a journey

The Hero’s Journey

What do Froto Baggin’s from Lord of the Rings, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Marlin from Finding Nemo, and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars all have in common, besides being movie characters? They’ve all experienced the Hero’s journey. I’m in the plotting process of book six of the Leeward Island series (The Marquis’s Pursuit is off to the editor), so my brain is focused on character arcs or what’s also called the Hero’s journey. It got me thinking about how God plots a similar path for us.

The Hero’s journey is a cycle where the Hero starts in the known world, journeys into the unknown, and returns changed into a new known. It’s comprised of three acts: 1. the separation or call to adventure, 2. initiation or death/rebirth, and 3. the return or resolution. For example, in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s separation is physically done by the tornado that drops her house into Oz, where her adventure begins. Her initiation follows as she follows the yellow brick road, and she meets the scarecrow, lion, and tin man. Through trials and triumphs, she discovers a way to defeat The Wicked Witch of the West and return to Kansas. However, Dorothy goes back a changed woman. As part of the resolution or new normal, she holds a new appreciation for her family and friends.

We relate to the Hero’s journey so well because God propels us on our own journey to better walk in His purpose. He coaxes us out of our comfort zone to step into the unknown, where He uses trials and triumphs to mold us more and more into his image. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says, “We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” To become more like Christ and reflect Him more and more, we must allow ourselves to be refined. Sometimes it’s a quick journey, but other times it takes multiple trips around the mountain, painful backtracking, and even psychological death to old ways of thinking to come home as a new person. Romans 8:18 states, “We have sufferings now, but these are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us.”

Helper up a ramp

We aren’t journeying alone. If suffering, trials, and the thought of psychological death, have us crawling back to the couch to hide under a blanket, do not fear. We must remember a vital aspect of the Hero’s journey. A helper comes alongside the Hero to guide him along his path. For Dorothy, it was Glenda the good witch, for Froto – Sam Wise, Nemo – Dora, Luke Skywalker – Obi-Wan, but for us, we get someone even better—the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our journey. The Great Comforter walks beside us, guiding us towards our purpose, urging us to stay on the path, picking us up when we stumble, and redirecting us when we lose our way.  

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Unmarked sign with arrow

Into Unknown Territory

I’m a hugger. Touch is one of my love languages up there next to quality time. Unfortunately, it seems those love languages don’t work great for a teenage boy. My oldest is thirteen going on fourteen, and he already believes it’s no longer cool to hug your mom. On occasion, he’ll humor me with annoyed patience as I give him a big squeeze, but for the most part, he wants to be left alone.

Unmarked sign with arrowBeing a mother to teenagers is a road I have never traveled down, and from what I’ve heard it’s a dark path most parents either stumble down pursuing their child or charge through ready to drag them out the other side for better or worse. It’s hard to look forward to the trials and frustrations of your baby testing the waters of adulthood. It’s a time when your past parenting mistakes become magnified and thrown back in your face, and when you have no choice but to let go of control and pray for the best. It’s scary, and most of us feel ill-equipped.

Even if you’re not a parent of teens, you may be struggling with other life events. Maybe you’re a new mom or dad, beginning retirement, entering into a new marriage, or fighting a painful diagnosis, life is full of unknowns. Doubts roll in like thunderclouds over a picnic, and we wonder if we are capable enough, strong enough, smart enough, or able to manage emotionally, mentally, and physically.

In the army when you lose your bearings, they will do what is called a back azimuth. Basically, it’s a 180-degree turnaround walk until they enter back into familiar territory. When I feel like I’ve lost my way or my courage, I do what could be called a God azimuth. I remind myself of who God says I am, and what God says I can do through scripture.

When I think I can’t go on, the Bible says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9

When I think I’m not smart enough, the Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  – James 1:5

When I think I’m not able, the Bible says, “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”II Corinthians 9:8

When I think I can’t figure this out, the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”Proverbs 3:5-6

And when I think I’m afraid, the Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” II Timothy 1:7

In times of doubt, I have to not rely on what I know of myself, but of what the mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God says about me.

Below is a prayer I have written and often pray for my boys. You may know someone who needs this prayer prayed over them, or maybe you need it prayed over yourself. Feel free to use it, re-post, or customize it for your needs.

May you be deeply rooted in God’s love. May you discover the joy of walking in his purpose. The world will try to pull you away and distract you especially when God comes calling, but I pray you will filter out those distractions, that your ears will stay tuned into His voice and your eyes focused on His face. I pray you will stay planted where God needs you and that your roots will grow deep and entangled with other Jesus followers who will share with you their substance and strength when storms and trials come. May you bear fruitful harvests and hear the praise spoken into your heart, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Know that I am always on your side, that I am praying for you, and that I will always love you and that God’s love for you is even greater than my own.

God’s angels are already being dispatched prepared to do battle for the lives this prayer represents. It is a powerful thing to know we are not alone in the fight.

God Bless you.

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