A reckless life, a fearless ride.

By Danielle Waddell

mbid-7b26ef4f-5422-4d7c-96f7-adaee66121ec-7509550319My heart craves adventure.

There’s nothing like late-night drives on crisp fall nights — windows down, radio blaring, friends singing loudly.

I love the nervous feeling in your belly as you sprint down a dewy street, shushing your friends until you speed past a lawn covered in your beautiful toilet paper artwork.

My favorite though is the rush of a roller coaster — hair blowing everywhere, screams erupting with every drop, dip and twist.

The best part is the feeling at the very top of the first hill. Your nerves build up as the car’s chains click up the incline. Your stomach churns with anticipation as you await that first drop, the beautiful release of energy and fear and pure bliss.

So when I first began to learn what it looked like to follow Jesus around the age of 10, it sounded nothing like the thrill of a roller coaster ride.

All I seemed to hear were rules, strict lists of do’s and don’ts. As one who has always challenged authority, this didn’t appeal to me in the least, yet I still felt a pull to what I then considered “the Christian life.”

The more I went to church with friends and the more I learned about Christianity, the more I felt like I would have to give up the thrill of life, the adventures I’d learned to enjoy and crave. Following God and His commandments sounded a lot more boring than I’d hoped, no room for fun or freedom.

With my limited, inaccurate understanding, obedience wasn’t something I desired.

I wanted to live, even if I didn’t quite know what that meant.

As I started to get regularly involved with a community of believers and developed a desire to really dive into Scripture, I learned that following God is the greatest adventure we could ever undertake. I learned that in the Lord there is freedom like no other, adventure beyond comprehension, joy that surpasses worldly understanding.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” –Galatians 5:13-14

God pulled me close to His heart to show me that He wasn’t taking away the fun of life, but rather, He is giving this beautiful life purpose. He guided me to a place with perspective —His perspective — to show me what it means to live a reckless life, the kind I could never live apart from Him.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has set you free from the law of sin and death.” –Romans 8:1-2

I am free because I am His. I am free from the punishment of death and free from of a life of fear, whether that’s fear of what’s ahead or fear of losing what’s behind.

I remember walking through an empty field late one night as a middle schooler to look at the stars with my best friend and a few friends who lived nearby. My stomach was in knots, adrenaline pumping at the fear of being caught by one of our moms, of walking up on a wild animal, of getting ourselves into some sort of trouble. The cool air amped up my energy, and I felt like I might burst.

A few nights ago, I had a flashback to this moment as some friends and I, cookie dough in hand, walked down to the river to sit on a dock and look at the stars once more. My stomach had a similar feeling to that night in middle school, but this time I had peace instead of fear. The crisp air blew against my face and sent a feeling of adventure through my bones.

Following Christ and His word, His commands, His path for us, doesn’t take the adventure away, it simply alters it and changes us into who He wants us to become. The adventure and fun still exist, and they’re stronger than ever before because now there is freedom.

In Christ, there is freedom to be who He has called me to be: a reckless adventurer, full of God’s love and a passion to give that love to the people I meet on my journey. I don’t have to be afraid of anything anymore, because in Him, I am free.

While no longer fearing getting in trouble with my mom has a lot to do with growing up and living on my own, no longer fearing the unknown and the risks of an adventurous life has everything to do with who I am through Jesus.

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” –Psalm 119:45

Following and obeying Christ doesn’t take us off the roller coaster, leaving us at the bottom to watch everyone else have all the fun. Instead, God is like the harness that secures us in our seat. We’re still very much on the ride, but now we can live without the fear of falling, the pressure of having to keep ourselves in place. In Christ, we have freedom to enjoy the ride, to get to the top of that first hill, let go of the handles and look around at the view before the rush begins.


When we obey God’s call on our life, we aren’t following a list of strict rules made with the purpose of stripping our lives of fun and enjoyment. Instead, when we seek God and His truth and apply that to our lives, following His lead, He gives purpose to the personality He gave us in the first place.

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.” –2 John 1:16

God has given me a passion for adventure for a specific reason. As I follow Him day-by-day, He doesn’t call me to be less fun, but to live the courageous life I’d always envisioned but could have never grasped without His guidance.

Don’t be afraid of losing the joy of life by obeying Christ’s call on you, sweet friend. While there is often some loss in following God’s invitation, it is always worth it. Follow Him in the greatest, most reckless adventure you will ever undertake, and I promise you will be so glad you did.


Danielle Waddell (her friends call her Danie) is a senior at the University of Alabama studying an odd concoction of journalism, religious studies, and Italian. An avid adventurer, wanderlust flows through her blood–there isn’t a place on the map she doesn’t long to go. Danie believes in the beauty of a journey, not just the good ones, but the crappy ones, too. There’s a lesson to be learned and a praise to be sung in every season; sometimes they’re just harder find. A lover of New York City, Danie also prides in her home state of Alabama (though she also realizes and mourns Dixie’s many faults and flaws). She’s a bucker of authority, a drinker of chai, a befriender of many, a lover of words, and a writer of all things. Danie prescribes to the belief that there’s no better feeling than having friends across the nation and the world, so don’t hesitate to hit your girl up.

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