hikerJust over three weeks ago, I sat in an amazing workshop at the ACFW Conference and took pages of notes as Christopher Vogler outlined the essential stages of a hero’s journey to a room full of storytellers. As I’ve mulled over the stages since (especially while brainstorming the essential scenes for my next book), I’m reminded that these same stages are part of my personal story. And yours.

The overview: Hero lives in an ordinary world doing ordinary things and then receives a call to adventure. Of course, he refuses because change is hard but a mentor comes along to help him find the courage to step out and cross the threshold. Then the real journey begins as the hero finds allies, identifies enemies, and gets tested to see what he’s made of. This builds up to a big ordeal where the hero must face his fears, almost fails, but makes it through the fire while experiencing personal growth as a result. But he needs to return home and obstacles/former fears can still crop up to steal away the treasure. After a final confrontation with doubt, the hero can then share what he has learned so others can benefit from the journey.

Observations? There are many stages where the hero could stall out, turn back, or give up but often it is the mentor or traveling companion sidekicks that give advice or encouragement when it’s needed most. And the purpose of the journey is less about the objective and more about the character’s transformation under pressure.

Which brings me to me. I lived in an ordinary world and was invited to an adventure called following Jesus. I lived in an ordinary world and met a guy who invited me to an adventure called marriage.  I lived in an ordinary world and received news that ready or not I was going to be a mother. I lived in an ordinary world of diapers and sippy cups and was pushed through the door into a special needs adventure. I lived in an ordinary world of busy mother and was called to write. Then came the mentors. Allies. Enemies. Tests and challenges. Facing fears and conquering them. Discovering truth. Pushing on through the deserts and up rugged cliffs. Doubts. Perseverance. And sharing what I’ve learned.

By looking at my journey with fresh eyes, I can see what stage I am in and prepare for the road ahead.

What about you? What adventures have you been called to? Do you have a mentor? What fears have you faced? How have you grown?

The Hero’s Journey is Also Mine
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