“We live in a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen—and wonderful things, too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle…Yet for all of its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily every after. That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy takes, which is the claim that it is true. That it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still.” ~ Frederick Buechner
“Christianity tells us that He has set our hearts’ longings within us, for he has made us to live in an Epic.” ~ John Eldredge
I fully intend to live an epic life.
I grew up taking amazing adventure roadtrips with my family. We’d all jump in the car, pick a direction on the map (e.g., “North!”) and take off for weeks without a definitive destination—just on a search for adventure. So, I grew up learning about the pirates on the North Carolina coast, exploring outlaw hideouts in the Badlands, or following the trail of Louis and Clark. I’d ride horses through the mountains of Wyoming and daydream that I was riding with cowboys, or fly biplanes and feel like I was the pilot of a fighter jet.
I realized at a young age that adventure is what makes a great story. Not just a great story—an EPIC story.
So, at the age of 16, wandering through Durango, CO, I turned to my mom and said, “I fully intend to live an epic life.”
It’s been my life mantra ever since.
Epic stories are woven into my heritage—my very being. Shakespeare wrote Macbeth about my Scottish relatives. My great, great, great, great, great grandfather was a pirate who sailed with Blackbeard. My great, great, great grandmother was a Cherokee princess. My grandmother left her hometown at age 16, went to Washington D.C. with only a suitcase, and started working with the FBI. To this day, she still has a letter written personally to her signed by J. Edgar Hoover.
But I think my deep desire to “Live Epic” goes deeper than that.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has set eternity in their heart.” There’s something more we were created for—we feel a longing, a desire for something more. It’s like that twilight between night and day—in our most intimate moments, we feel like we’re on the precipice of something monumental, we sense that something epic is happening, and we’re supposed to—no, we long to—have a role in it.
That’s because there is an epic story going on right now. A battle between light and darkness, with a Villain who will stop at nothing and a victorious Hero who romances our hearts. In this very moment—right here, right now—a war is being waged for that which is most sacred to us, our hearts.
God has placed this desire within my heart, this intimate longing for something more because it exists—it’s out there, and He has it waiting. He wants you to embrace the call to Live Epic.
So, here’s the challenge. We live in a world that strongly encourages us to think differently about this. To go for what’s comfortable and familiar.
Have you ever met a little girl that dreamed, “When I grow up, I just want to find someone I’m comfortable with and settle down.” Or a little boy that said, “When I’m older, I just want to find a job that pays the bills.”
Oh goodness, I sincerely hope not.
But, I was recently talking with a friend of mine the night before her wedding. “Have you found your Prince?” I asked. She paused (which I didn’t expect). “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t know if I could say I’m in love with him, but he’s comfortable.”
Friends, when did we reach a point in life where we sacrificed our calling for what’s comfortable?
It’s so easy to slip into the mindset of “settling”—and so easy, in fact, we might not even realize we’re doing it.
When did we lose sight of the story?
I’m speaking from experience here. And, a moment of honesty—I’ve always desired for my epic life to include an epic romance.
But, when you find yourself at home on a Friday night while one friend is out with her husband, another is wedding-planning with a fiancé, and even your parents are out to dinner, it’s easy to slip into a mentality of, “Okay, so I said ‘epic’, but maybe ‘epic’ really means that guy from across the hall that’s mostly okay?” And soon, you don’t even realize that you’re settling because you’ve totally lost your place in the story. You even strive to settle. And, oh, dear, that never works out well.
Everything has its place in the story.
My mom is a musical theater director, so when I was little, we used to have a closet full of costumes. I’d spend DAYS dressing up like Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia or Robin Hood or Piratica—turning my couch into a pirate ship or blankets into a fort deep within Sherwood Forest.
What if Aslan had given his life for Edmund at the beginning of the story? Would it have had the same meaning? Would it even make sense?
What if Belle had met the Beast, well, before he was the Beast? The Prince would never have been transformed, and the Kingdom would have never been saved. She might have even decided that he was a mostly selfish jerk with no manners and never have gone on a second date.
When you lose sight of the Epic story, you compromise your Epic life.
I’m working on trusting God. It’s something I always think I have under control, then an event will happen and I’ll be like, “Mmmmm okay maybe not.” I’ve even fallen into the trap of, “Maybe after I learn this lesson, this will happen!” or “Maybe I haven’t prayed hard enough.”
But really, maybe it’s just not the right time in the Story. My Kingdom focus—winning the war—has been compromised over a single battle.
To be honest, I have no idea. But I do know that Living the Epic Life I’ve always desired means allowing the Author to write the story. Surrendering to His timeline, because He who set and fuels the desires of my heart will be faithful to fulfill them.
Live Epic. Always.