I moved often during my childhood. Every three years to be exact. If you think about it, moving is a form of running away. Every time I moved, I started over. No one knew me and I didn’t take old relationships or problems to my new place. It was the perfect recipe for someone wanting to hide.
I am about to enter my eighth year living in the desert, which might as well be a lifetime for me. I remember when I reached the three year mark of living here. I happened to be in the midst of my counseling journey and I can remember talking to my counselor about this very thing. I didn’t understand why, but all of a sudden I was feeling this need to detach from my life here. I wanted to avoid people, stay behind closed doors. Basically, I wanted to stop engaging with relationships I had developed.
I can remember asking myself and my counselor, “What is wrong with me? Why am I restless and wanting to hide?”
What my counselor (and my husband) helped me realize was that my brain was wired to detach every three years because that is all I had ever known. I had no longevity in anything, anywhere, especially people. It was a hard season, entering into that third year and realizing I was not going anywhere. I had to war with the old ideas, the old wiring inside. I was also in an intensive journey of healing which meant confronting my past. It was hard because everything in me was screaming to RUN! Stop engaging, stop being vulnerable, stop confronting the past…
I learned a lot in that season. I had to choose, despite what my emotions were telling me, to stay planted, to stay engaged and to stay vulnerable.
I wonder, could this lesson apply to all of us in some way? Do we not all face moments when everything in us is screaming to run for the hills?
Running away always feels like the easier choice, when things get hard or painful. Even when we know God brought us to that job, it can be hard to stay when the stress hits and things get messy. We know beyond any doubt that God wants to bless our marriages but it can be so hard to stay, when the broken pieces are laying on the floor around us. Parenting can even be so hard that we sometimes want to just throw our hands the air and do only what is necessary to get by.
We must, through the discernment of the Holy Spirit, determine the difference in being released from something and running away from it.
I can tell you that in the most intensive parts of my healing, every fiber of my being was screaming to run. I probably could have come up with some good sounding reasons that I should stop all this talk of the past. The lies were comfortable, and familiar. I stayed, though. I stayed when it was hard, I pushed through and let the Holy Spirit rewire my mind. I stayed rooted in him. And I saw, for the first time in my life, fruit burst forth from my roots going deep.
Running away will never produce roots.
There might be some seeds planted, but those seeds will not grow down into the soil if we don’t choose to stay. Jesus followers are meant to be rooted deep in truth. We are meant to be the ones who stay when everyone else says run. We are meant to be the ones who take on the hard thing, the scary thing…the thing to big for us. When we run, we make no room for Jesus to be strong in our weakness.
In running we remove the opportunity for him to do the impossible.
In eight years I have discovered grace that I didn’t understand before. I have discovered a gift to preach and write that I had no idea existed inside of me. I’ve developed relationships that go deeper, that are truly lifelong. I have found peace in my marriage because I have no fear of the future. I no longer carry the weight of being a perfect mom because I know my kids don’t need perfect.
I would have none of this had I run away when it was hard.
I chose not to run away, even when it made sense to me to run away. I leaned in to the voice of my King and I let him speak. Don’t get me wrong, here. I still battle the “flight syndrome.” I’ve faced some hard stuff in recent months and the old lies were quick to come knocking, telling me to give up, to run away from my calling.
I will not. I will stay, because staying is the only way I’ve seen God move.
Today is not the day to run away, friend. Whatever your battling, lean in and listen to the King. He has called you to do that hard thing, to take on that impossible thing because he is delighted to meet you in that place and fill the gap.
Stay rooted and cling to Jesus. He will meet you in that hard, painful thing and he will be glorified through your faithful obedience.