You know what words I absolutely love?
I said those words to a friend of mine, and she didn’t like it. She said it makes her think of something messy, something out of control, and the word abandon makes her feel lonely. “Fair enough,” I thought in my head. But it’s funny that what she doesn’t like about those words are what I DO like about those words.
I’m a huge fan of reckless abandon, and that might be because I have lived that way since I was 18.
After I graduated high school, I left my small hometown with reckless abandon to make a new life for myself at the age of 18 in South Africa. That wrecked me.
20 days after I got home from my year-long adventure in South Africa, I started college at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. That wrecked me.
And after doing a year of school and realizing that there’s still a world out there that needs to be discovered, I made the decision to not continue school and to instead join hands with a nonprofit in Zimbabwe and buy a one way ticket there in February. That process has already wrecked my life, and I’m sure when I get there, I will be wrecked again.
I love being wrecked by God. Sounds crazy, I know. And usually in the moment, it sucks hardcore. In the seasons of wrecking, I have struggled with anxiety, depression, sleepless nights, anger, bitterness, the loss of good friendships and strains of family relationships. I have punched walls and my giraffe pillow pet more times than I can count. I’ve escaped to the woods just to scream obscene language, I’ve cried to people I met one time, and I’ve been so incredibly pissed off at God. But here’s the thing: when you live with reckless abandon and you take those steps to go out into the unknown without having every inch of your life planned out, you are giving God permission to wreck your life. “Nothing Abby has said so far about living with reckless abandon sounds good.” I know. Just hang in there for a bit.
Noah? Reckless abandon. Esther? Reckless abandon. Moses? Reckless abandon.
Jesus? Reckless abandon.
We live with reckless abandon when we realize that our lives are not our own. We live with reckless abandon when we realize that we have desires and passions that are greater than anything this world could ever offer us. We live with reckless abandon when we are willing to go, even when the next step isn’t mapped out.
Living a life of reckless abandon is messy. You are making the conscious decision to let go of the reigns of your life and give it to someone who is about to take you on the greatest adventure you could possibly imagine. And that adventure is not promised to be filled with sunshine and flowers and unicorns. It’s going to be filled with trials and hardships and you are going to fail. But reckless abandon means there’s room for grace, and the Man holding the reigns of your life is, oddly enough, the ultimate grace giver.
Those seasons of hell I went through while being wrecked turned out to be the most incredible seasons of my life. Yes, they sucked. But my soul and my spirit and who I am as a woman in Jesus Christ is so much stronger. I look back on those days with many bitter sweet feelings, and re-calling some of the events that took place still brings tears to my eyes. When my mom found out I was going to Zimbabwe, she said to me with tears streaming down her face, “Abby, I can’t see you go through what you went through again.” My season of hell was also one for my parents. They hated seeing their child hurting, and rightfully so! (I am their favorite. Kidding. I’m the middle child. We all know how that goes.)
The point is, I have gained so much more from living a life of reckless abandon than if I would’ve lived in the safe zone. I’m also pretty sure my heart has grown 20 sizes, and every time I see the tiniest of injustices, my heart breaks for what breaks God’s.
Guys, I need you to want this. The world needs you to want this. God needs you to want this. When we start living with reckless abandon, we give it all up. We recognize that now, we’re fully God’s. We allow ourselves to be His hands and feet, we live to serve, we place others before ourselves, we die to who we are daily.
So with reckless abandon, go. Go with the grace of God before you and behind you. Go, and don’t look back.