The Purpose Of Adventure

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The Purpose Of Adventure

Let’s stop robbing the world of our destinies by hiding out in the fairbanks of our fears.
— -Esther Marie

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming in your car in mid-traffic (jaw dropped, drooling and nearly causing a collision) about quitting your job, selling everything, buying a Volkswagen bus and hitting the road? What? No? I mean, yeah, me either...Haha! Honestly though, it seems like all my friends are going on extended road trips, backpacking across Europe, traveling wherever the wind blows and living what we call, 'the life'. But is it really?

Everywhere I turn people are on an endless quest for adventure. But will adventure and experiences alone satisfy us? I've been wrestling with this myself and feel as though our desire for adventure is an external expression for a question echoing in our hearts: What do we want in life? From what I've gathered, some of the conclusions aren't as fulfilling as they appear. Some of the things we want don't bring us satisfaction, they create more questions and more searching. Our pinning for more leads us into the wild, giving into everything our heart desires.

We want all of the extreme and none of the moderation. We want everything reckless and none of the boundaries. We want everything wild and nothing too safe. We want endless youth and non committal responsibilities. We want to be alone and wander into the unknown, chasing flames of romance and bursts of dreams. We want to be famous, but not fully known. We want to be carelessly rich and indulgent in plenty. The search, the quest, the pinning after empty things lingers on: What do we want in life? And do we dare to explore a landscape unsearchable with human eyes- the mountains within us no compass can navigate?

If we have the courage to dig deeper we will find that we want truth. We want authenticity. We want to know what's real and what's really worth living for. We want love, the dangerous kind that believes impossible things can happen if you're willing to not give up; the untainted by human definition organic kind of love that makes you foolish like a bad rom-com. Not because you feel it, but because the presence of it is so tangible in your life it's both undeniable and indescribable. The kind of love that is debilitating and simultaneously gives you breath. We want this with each other, but also with the eternal. Our desire flickers like a flame in the distance, beneath our flesh and bones, bypassing the nervous system of our brains and into another world within our inner space. Quivering from head to toe we cling to adventure to pacify our fear of what may occur if we step into the light.

It's in this place that I've come to realize that what we truly want in life isn't easily cured by an adventurous escape or exhilarating experience. I've come to wonder if maybe the idea of constant travel is not so much the ultimate lifestyle as it is the ultimate fear of purpose- fear of discovering that what we truly want is going to take hard work, commitment and never giving up on that real kind of love.

Perhaps the purpose of adventure is to inspire us to run towards truth that transforms us by a world of wonder. I believe the purpose of adventure is to stimulate faith and trust in the Maker. I believe this kind of adventure is necessary in life and possible for everyone to pursue daily.


Maybe one day I'll get a Volkswagen bus and take a long road trip. That would be cool. But not at the expense of my inner freedom. Let's stop robbing the world of our destinies by hiding out in the fairbanks of our fears. Let's step into the light, be solid in what we want and allow adventure to guide us with purpose.

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I'm Single And I Like It

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I'm Single And I Like It

If you are single, truly BE single, with all that you are.

I've been thinking a lot about singleness lately. There's this construction sign that I drive by every night after work. It says, "Single lane ahead." Every time I see it, in my head I think, "Yes, thank you for the reminder. Like I needed another one. Single lane for life!" Haha, I'm almost 25 & have never had a boyfriend. To some that might sound crazy. To others, especially young Christian girls, that might sound totally normal & even relieving to know you're not alone. I've appreciated being single, but can't say I ever thrived at it-- that is until now. Within the last few years my outlook on life has taken new shape. I've come to realize I like being single. I mean I REALLY like it! And I don't say that because I don't have options- let's be real people, I know I'm cute ;) I mean I actually HAVE the choice & I WANT to be single right now (& I don't mean that pridefully) I'm enjoying it now more than I ever have.

Why though? I don't think I can pinpoint it to just one thing, but a change I made in the last year was to stop expecting Mr.Right to make a dramatic entrance into my life. I decided to start pursuing adventure & truly LIVING! I learned to be so thankful for the opportunity to be ALONE! Yes, it IS an OPPORTUNITY! This season will pass by & in a blink I will be living the life I have only imagined. I know this because I am now living in the dreams of my teenage years. This season is so beautiful & I'm thankful for it, but I've also had my low seasons where it seemed like every three months I'd be harboring a new heartbreak. Or even the seasons when you really are single by default, have no options & the only guys asking for your number are gangsters at grocery stores or old men in traffic! Needless to say, by the grace of God, I've come this far.

And so I want to encourage you: If you are single, truly BE single, with all that you are. With your thoughts & with your desires. Don't lose your head in the clouds about a future you COULD have. Instead, look at what you DO have! Connect with the relationships that are real. Meet people without a personal agenda. Don't try to manipulate situations so that they are in your favor. But on the other end, don't be passive. Go boldly & courageously after the dream that's in your heart. Pour your heart into friendships- give without return. Sacrifice & serve in secret. Be single for however long your heart desires. And when it's time- fearlessly embrace the unknown & uncharted territory of COMMITMENT. Run wild, free & recklessly abandon those alone years for a new life of togetherness.

Experience real love, the choice of it & the force by which nothing can stop it!

Dating & marriage will bring new joy & new challenges. But for now we have the joy & challenges of singleness to behold. So, single girl/guy, pace yourself well in this moment. Enjoy it. Relish in it. Laugh your head off. Do daring things. Go on dates. Dance like a fool. Travel to places & earmark this season with priceless memories that will fill the storybook of your life- stories that you will tell your children's children.


Amidst my joy, I am still excited for the day when I have a boyfriend & don't have to awkwardly arrange a ride to the airport, or have that content-in-singleness talk AGAIN with that Christian girl that found her "one". But I know soon enough, that day WILL come. So for now I'll ask a friend to drive me to LAX & offer to pay her in chocolate chip cookies. I'll have that awkward talk a thousand more times & even smile & nod my head because in this moment, right now, this very second, I'm smiling not because one day my prince will come, but because right now I am at rest with my life- I am single & I like it!

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Live It

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Live It

Life happens fast. 1 year. 2 years. Before you know it, 5 years go by in what feels like a mili-second. All your dreams. All your aspirations. Everything you've strived for and believed would bring you happiness with each passing year- has it?

I thought I knew what I wanted to "be". I thought I knew where my life was "going". Turns out I knew nothing.

My passions changed. My desires changed. My job, career and even location changed. And the pursuit of happiness on a road driven by pride and selfish ambition left me breathless. It's never enough.

But somewhere along the way I gained perspective. Maybe from one of the valleys, or deserts or mountains that were strategically graphed in to challenge me on my journey and I discovered the most important thing in life.

And that is: to live it.

A simple answer provoking a multitude of questions.

What is it to live? I guess that's where the adventure begins. By asking yourself this question and by answering it through experiencing life's opportunities. By not being afraid to embrace each season of risk- love, friendship, family, marriage, babies, traveling, being single, scaling mountains, staying home, riding waves, raising a family, making bold statements, doing hard things, being yourself, being rejected, being persecuted, being alone, being together. And through it all we're learning how to live. Not striving to be or go, but pacing ourselves to fully give life our best shot.

This is a reminder for myself to look back on, next year or even in 10 years:

To Live. God alone gives life definition. He existed before you, therefore He knows more stuff. Trust. Obey. Do crazy things for Him.

Live. Enjoy the people that give your life importance and spend your time serving and caring for them for the rest of your life.

Live. Dream big and don't give up. Business is all about valuing people. Don't ever be impressed by your title or lack there of. Put others first always. Never get so stuck on a dream that it becomes who you are.

Live. Be yourself. Unhindered by your environment or community. Set yourself free to share your gifts and unique personality with a humble heart. You're not as important as you think you are, but you're still pretty cool.

Live. Change the world naturally by how you live out of your heart. Make small changes and big changes. Don't tolerate self-glory out of charitable donations. Don't be excessively passionate and build your world around your cause. Have a compassionate heart for the whole world. Do good in secret.

Live. Let the hard times open your heart wider to love better and give more.

Live. You will face adversity, uncertainty and trials- but be strong and very courageous. You will win if you just keep going.

I have only been alive for 24 short years. Learning to live takes time. And as I'm learning and experiencing life I hope to continue to help others find the answers to their questions as well.


So, future Esther, stop asking yourself what you want to be & where you want to go. The most important thing in life is: to L I V E it!

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That One Time I Was In a Switchfoot Music Video

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That One Time I Was In a Switchfoot Music Video

It was a beautiful monday afternoon when I received a direct Twitter message from my all time favorite band, Switchfoot:

"We'd love to have you at today's music video shoot! Please be at Ponto Beach by 5:30pm."

I screamed like a white girl on the first day of Pumpkin Spice latte season! Just a few days prior I had responded to Switchfoot's invitation to be in their music video, offering my good looks and incredible dance moves. Apparently, they were desperate enough to allow a goofball like me to join in on the production.

It was only a few hours until 5:30 so I rushed to get ready. In a last minute frenzy, I slipped on my Stance 'Merica socks and pulled them up to my knee's. One glance in the mirror, the star spangle banner waving gloriously across my calves and I knew I was ready for the time of my life!

I only got lost once on my way to Ponto Beach; success! Walking down to the location reserved for the shoot, I immediately recognized the setting from the beginning scene in Switchfoot's recent documentary, "Fading West." It was one year ago at a private viewing of this documentary that inspired me to really learn how to surf and live my life with a renewed sense of fearless wonder, a preface to my 'Coming Alive' moment about to take place.

The ocean was glistening and the air was cool. A group of fans, who had also been invited on Twitter, joined me on the beach. There were six of us in total, a quaint group to share such a beautiful moment. The guys from Switchfoot had just concluded an evening surf session and were making their way down to join us on the sand. They welcomed us like family, throwing high fives and embracing hugs, grateful that we made time to be a part of their video.

We helped them set the scene; blankets, a camp fire, a guitar and surf boards. The setting was completely organic and naturally came alive like something out of a movie. It then dawned on me that this was no ordinary music video. This was a real moment being captured in it's purest form. Their wives and children were having a beach day right there with us. Laughter and chatter filled the air. These guys are known to the world as rockstars, yet this is who they truly are: husband's, dad's, brothers and friends. In the midst of a moment that they had every right to be totally consumed with themselves and their music video, they were completely in the moment, enjoying their friendships and even tending to their responsibilities as fathers. I watched in amazement as this image burned permanently on my heart.

Then the filming began. Before I knew it, we divided into two teams and began a game of soccer. It was a hilarious feat, tripping over seaweed and kicking the ball into the ocean. At one point, I managed to snake the ball from Jon Foreman, only to lose it moments later. After the game was over we gathered around the campfire and began to sing, "When We Come Alive," with Jon leading on guitar and the boys harmonizing. The camera's swirled around us as we sang. I stared into the fire, not wanting the moment to slip away. The sun was setting and our faces were glowing from the light of the flames. This moment was true. There was nothing fake about it. Around that campfire, singing with new friends, my heart came alive. I realized the thing many people strive for, surfers in particular, is just a mirage for what we truly crave. We all want to be rockstars, pro surfers, olympic athletes, and we think that is the fullness of life. But it isn't.

At one point, the director asked me and Tim Foreman's brother-in law (whose name I can't remember, please forgive me) if we could play the romance part in the video. I smiled uncontrollably as everyone taunted us in the background. Laughingly, I joked that this was all a set up. The camera's rolled and the music played. We looked into each others eyes, a deep gaze and with real emotion I blushed as he grabbed my hand. Looking back into the fire, my hand in his, it felt as though the flame was now blazing in my heart. I had come alive by the experience of this night and it made a definitive shift in my perspective of how I now choose to live: to take more opportunities to embrace others, to be a part of a bigger picture, to set my world in motion and remove myself as it's axel, to be daring in what I feel and know what I want, to be myself and fully engaged, to dream big and not worry, to try new things and be ok with failing, and definitely to use twitter way more often!

I dare you to have your own 'Coming Alive' moment and go after the things in life that matter.

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Come Alive

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Come Alive

Here I stand on the edge of a cliff in Big Sur California, fulfilling a dream in my heart long awaited and a moment that made me feel so alive. As beautiful as this image is to me, it cannot even come close to what it truly felt like to be standing there. 

My friend once told me, "writing captures what we feel in a way a picture never could." With words we can paint the invisible. With a pen in my hand and a blank page before me I become my own hero, saving me from myself and the fear that held me silent. Writing gives us the courage to say things on paper that we do not have the strength to give voice to. If pictures are the thing that take your breath away, perhaps writing is the thing that gives you breath.

I believe words have a way of making us come alive.

And so I hope that is what you find: life. The kind that is real, felt and satisfying. That you may read what is written and say, "I have always felt that way", or in contrast, feel something you've never felt before. That these words may be a breath of life and provoke something deep within you, perhaps you never knew was there.

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Wave theft. Guilty as charged.

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Wave theft. Guilty as charged.

Wave theft is a real thing, a serious crime. People are victimized every day, even in your own friendly line up. It could even happen to you, and if you’re an avid surfer, it probably has happened multiple times. In the event of dropping in it is most common to hear from those who have been robbed of their juicy glory by the imbecile who did not have the courtesy to practice surf etiquette. However, in rare occasions, you will hear from the snake himself. Or in this case, herself. Yes, it’s true, I am that imbecile and I'm coming clean. Guilty as charged for indulging in the sinful pleasure of wave theft. This is an open letter of confession to my surf community. Allow me to state my case:

It was a beautiful Southern California morning. My girlfriends and I awoke early for a dawn patrol surf and as we pulled up to our favorite spot, our sleepy eyes were met with glossy peaks curling onto the shore. Luckily, we were already suited so we grabbed our boards, skipped down the beach and plunged into the water! We were only an hour into our surf session, having the time of our life when I saw it, a wave that I HAD to have, and then it happened!

Like an injection of endorphins, I began to paddle as fast as I could! It was like this wave was made for me- my soul mate drawing me in and putting me into a trance! As the momentum of the wave began to lift me into position, I caught a glimpse of another surfer coming down the line. ‘NO! This can’t be happening’! I was mortified, but the realization of his persistent approach did not register with the action to pull back. I know the rules of the waves and surf etiquette. But my  morals were disarmed by an alluring force. Instead, I gave into temptation and pushed forward. As I kept paddling I dropped in just in time for homeboy to reach my section! He shrieked and pulled back, averting a collision! That could have been a result of one seriously nasty injury or a really romantic Romeo and Juliet surfer love story- we will never know. What I do know is that I felt like an idiot for attempting something so dangerous and not to mention rude.

I admit I let the emotions of that moment overwhelm my cognitive decision making. It can be difficult to make an honest call in a split second. For myself personally, I can get pretty competitive and driven by pride when I feel like I have to fight for waves. Sometimes, there is pressure to be more aggressive in order to match the nature of hard core surfing by many of the guys at my line-up. I’m sure many surfers can attest to that. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for indecent behavior and rude manners. Playing by the rules is a non-negotiable if you want to gain respect from other surfers. I definitely learned my lesson and have been doing my best to navigate the waves with awareness. I think we all could be a little more generous, less big-headed. More encouraging of each other and less critical. I think we all could use a dose of humility, especially me. Let’s create equal opportunity and have respect for all, especially in a mixed gender crowd.


So there you have it. Confessions of a modern day wave thief. I submit my humble apology. It won’t happen again. And Romeo, I want you to know, I’m really sorry for stealing your wave.

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He is my ocean. He's where I belong.

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He is my ocean. He's where I belong.

"I think of you every time I look at ocean," he confessed. His words gave me wings. In my mind I'm hovering over the coastline, the sunset transforming water into liquid gold -- pink, yellow orange. I knew what the ocean meant to him. A veteran surfer who lived and breathed the salt water life. He looked at me- tan skin, bare shoulders, neck begging for kisses in the summer glow- a privilege only granted to the sun. My hair lifted into the evening breeze, ends dipped in blond. The way he looked at the ocean was as if he believed he belonged to the waves more than he belonged to the world. The same way he looked at me.

There's something about a merman that can put your heart into a trance. Time freezes, like the moment a barreling wave swallows you up. There you are on the bottom of the ocean floor, tossed around in a constant flow of chaos. Calmly, you let the moment take you until it spits you out onto dry land, where time begins again.

Some relationships have a lifespan shorter than the longest wave. Like a rising swell it rolls in unexpected then crashes into the breaking shore where it folds back into the ocean.

But relationships aren’t easy. They take time and perseverance like learning how to surf. You have some bad days and you learn to deal with frustration. You have some great days and you learn to enjoy the moment. But in the end you’re progress is determined by your level of commitment, passion, and love. You have to want it and give it all you got.

I want to be the kind of surfer girl that approaches relationships unhindered by fear of rejection and failure. I want to be a better friend and learn to value each opportunity to love someone. I want to be humbled constantly like the waves humble me and be reminded that I’m not perfect, but I am strong. I hope to be the kind of surfer girl that is noticed not because of my figure, but because of my genuine heart, free spirit and faithfulness in friendship. The right merman will come along, something about him will be distinct and when I look at him I'll know: he is my ocean, he's where I belong.

 

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Dear almost-lovers, thank you for making me better

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Dear almost-lovers, thank you for making me better

There are some guys you meet and know you’ll never forget. Then there are other guys whose pictures you turn into campfire kindling and memories turn into cinder. But, regardless of how it ended, I have learned that every relationship was an opportunity for me to grow and ultimately made me better. When I look back I am thankful that I didn’t get what I wanted, because what I thought I wanted changed. Every rejection was a form of protection saving me from myself and a misguided future.

I want to sincerely thank every ‘almost boyfriend’ for not making me your girlfriend. As sarcastic as that may sound, I mean that truthfully. Thank you for withdrawing your pursuit as you looked at me and thought, ‘she's not the one.’ Thank you for letting me go even when I held on tight. Every lesson on loving was also a lesson in living. Out of the ashes of my broken heart I learned to come alive and every failed relationship gave me a chance to dream again.

To all my almost lovers, thank you for helping me become secure in who I am. Thank you for giving me a chance to face my fears, break free from insecurity and find confidence. You taught me how to grow up, deal with disappointment and move on. You helped me understand some desires are temporary and in your absence you showed me that on lonely nights I can learn to have fun. You gave me a reason to run into the wild like a savage, chase the wind in fields of flowers and fall in love with adventure like a child. You gave singleness new meaning: The lack of a boyfriend is also the gain of connecting with my purpose, exploring a world of wonder and enjoying unlimited friendships.


Thank you to all the guys who made my heart skip a thousand beats. For giving me a glimpse at the kind of guy I want to be with someday. For teaching me how to feel and not be afraid of not being in control. Thank you for opening doors, for telling me I’m beautiful, for calling and not texting, for fighting to pay the bill even if you had to put me in a choke hold and for encouraging me in my dreams. The opportunity to belong to you for a moment was worth the journey of navigating heartache. Thank you for not pretending to be the one for me. One day, I won’t be the only one thanking you, but my future husband will too. So on his behalf, (in hopes that I will actually get married sometime in the next 25 years), I thank you for respecting his girl, showing me kindness and making me better.

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