November 13, 2014

When You Wonder If All the Work is Worth It

Sometimes I want to run away from home. I want to lay on a beach somewhere with an umbrella drink and a well-written novel and never come back. I want to move back to Texas and live full under the big, blue sky in my dream home--wrap-around porch included--in the Hill Country. I want to retire now, at 38.

I told my husband this on Saturday morning, leaving out all the gory details so as not to scare him. It came out more like, "I'm feeling kind of blah today." Quite the understatement. We sat together with our coffee in hand and our feet up on the dining room windowsill, peering at the mountains that are visible again through bare trees. Looking out, I added, "At least it's pretty here. Sometimes that's what I hold on to when I don't want to be here."
He knows what I mean without me having to elaborate. We planted our church over six years ago and, while a million little good things have happened in those six years that have led to this Saturday in the dining room, sometimes I feel like nothing has happened at all. There is a church where there used to not be one, yes, but we're still working really hard and sometimes it feels like we're spinning our wheels. When it's going to get easier? When is God going to do something big and miraculous instead of the small and incremental? 

That's why I want to run away sometimes. I want to run away from the work and what the work makes me face in my heart and all the dang sanctification. I want to run away from the discomfort of trying to shed the missionary's heart and God asking me to take it up again. I want to run away because I wonder if any of this is making a difference spiritually and sometimes it feels harder to care about this city than to not care.

As we looked out at the line of blue mountains in the distance, Kyle said, "The beauty of this place so often masks the spiritual darkness." I had forgotten for a moment that there are spiritual battles playing out all around us and also within my own heart. It is precisely the weight of that spiritual battle that wearies me and makes me feel like it's hopeless and that I should run away. Do I believe that God is working here and He is able or do I believe it's too dark and too far gone for Him? There is only one answer that will keep me here for the long haul.

What was it that I'd heard in a podcast recently? "Revival has happened in history when God has chosen to act in a miraculous fashion among people who are just being faithful where they're at over a long period of time." I care about the people in my city and I want revival here, but sometimes I want it to come through miraculous and instantaneous events, not as the fruit of faithful obedience over a long period of time.

I knew that God was asking for me to put one foot in front of the other but also to pray big prayers in light of the spiritual battle raging beneath the beauty of this place.

I got really fired up, right there with my feet propped up in the dining room window. I do believe my God is able! My city is not a hopeless case. God is worth my faithful obedience over a long period of time. And, really, I don't want to run away, because if I ran away? I would miss out on the sweet taste of whatever fruit God wants to bear here.