Play, Part Three: The Border of Adventure

As we enter the home stretch of summer, Dan continues our series on play by reflecting on the anticipation and preparation that are required for ventures of deep, meaningful play. This is on Dan’s mind as he is in the final phase of planning for a backcountry motorcycle adventure in Colorado.

“Any major play that involves time, money, risk, or challenge really requires preparation. And I actually think that the sweetest part of the trip isn’t in the trip, it is in what comes before and what comes after. Anticipation, imagination, preparation.”

Dan talks about the process of packing for this adventure, imagining possible scenarios and wondering about what he might need and what he should leave behind.

“That choice bears the demand for discernment, and discernment is another category for wisdom. What are you getting into? What will you need? What is absolutely required, what would be so very good to have, what’s just pure luxury? What’s whimsical and crazy? […] It really does take time and imagination to anticipate the kinds of things that will occur.”

This kind of planning often involves (for some of us more than others) pondering worst-case scenarios. It is necessary to be aware of risk and prepared for danger, but Dan warns about the appearance of destructive fear—the kind of fear that assaults your competence and questions your value.

“As you begin to evaluate, plan, and work with worst-case scenarios, there is something that almost inevitably leaks into any play, and that is fear. […] The more important the play, the more the assault will be of evil trying to take down what you have anticipated, what you have done in preparation, that will undermine and work to create foulness, a kind of thievery.”

Preparing ourselves for play while combating unnecessary, destructive fear requires a certain level of resolve and intentionality. Dan talks about the prayerfulness with which he is approaching the upcoming adventure, wanting it to be a form of play that points toward the goodness of God.

“It is best for my heart to be consecrated to this task, to be set in the right motion, to be prepared for the glory, for the brokenness, for the danger, for the pain that may come in any endeavor where the evil one wants to steal and kill and mar and destroy. So as you shut down the work of evil, may there be far more the anticipation of glory and goodness, of play and delight. May it be that you ponder and play. […] Whatever it is for you that requires danger and risk, opportunity to learn and grow and fail and be humbled, whatever it is, I hope before this summer ends that you give your heart to play.”

If you, like so many of us here at The Allender Center, find yourself intrigued and curious about Dan’s motorcycle adventure, stay tuned. On the next podcast Dan will report from the field, sharing about the journey and how he is growing and being challenged.