January 15, 2013

When You Want to Run Away

The moment came toward the end of our first year of church planting. It had been a difficult one, fraught with discouragement and doubt. I searched in my mind for some way to release myself from the uncertainty and the weight of all that this endeavor entailed. The only logical conclusion I could come to was to run away. And like a caged animal suddenly sensing a hole in the gate, I saw my freedom.

Running away would actually be quite easy.

I could go to Kyle and play my wife card and we could slink back to where we came from. Or I could pout and moan and make things so difficult for Kyle that he would give up in frustration. Or I suppose I could leave in the dark of night, but I'm a good girl and good girls don't do such things. Good girls like me keep helping but just turn off our hearts so we stop caring and stop loving.

What was stopping me? What kept me from the life of freedom I envisioned, the one based out of a ranch home in the Hill Country of Texas where the bluebonnets were eternally in bloom, the one where no one needed anything anymore, the one where I had my husband's undivided attention, and, while we're dreaming here, the one where the kids got along fabulously?

I had never come up so close to a line like that and looked it square in the face. I saw that only words, only commitments held me here, words and commitments that could be broken.

And there in that moment of clarity, when I saw how far my unchecked heart could take me, I ran and clutched tightly to God, more out of fear than anything else. I knew I would hate myself if I gave into doubt and discouragement. I knew I would be portraying a lot of lies about God if I gave up. I knew that if I ran away, I would be running away from the Christ-life and running to a futile existence of self-preservation. I knew more than I knew anything else ever in my days that I was clutching onto Truth and Life. How could I run away from that? 

In reality, I didn't want to run away from that. I wanted to run away from what He was asking of me: to sacrifice, to believe in the face of uncertainty, to be uncomfortable.

Then I read what Paul said about himself, that he is separated to the gospel of God (Romans 1:1). That's when I knew. The gospel is what keeps me here; I am separated to it, separated from myself, from my original home, from my own agenda. The gospel is why I keep my word and my commitments because I believe it is true and I want to show that to people. The gospel is the motivation for all that I am and do. It anchors my soul in the midst of difficulty and uncertainty. The gospel has to grip my heart, otherwise I will run away.

Now, when I want to run away, I run to. 

To the gospel.

The countdown continues! My book, The Church Planting Wife, releases in 17 days! Stay tuned for upcoming giveaways and opportunities to share your stories in this space.