Do you ever want to run away? I’m serious! Do you ever just want to run away?
In this season, I have been fighting the urge to run away and never come back. I dream of putting my husband and kitty in the car, driving somewhere remote and beautiful, and becoming farmers. I dream of selling everything, getting on a plane to France, and working in a small, local bakery.These scenarios are totally unrealistic, illogical and full of flaws. Yet, they haunt me. When work feels monotonous or hectic, they call out to me. When I am overwhelmed by anxiety, I can almost see the wilderness and taste the French bread.
Truthfully, I don’t think these “calls” are from the Lord. No, sadly, they are part of my sinful condition. From the good desires for peace, rest, and purposeful work have come the idol of comfort and the alluring temptation to covet anything that I do not have.
The grass is always greener, right?
To expose these idols and lies, I truly believe God sent me the words of Jill Briscoe—this wise, witty, and rooted British woman in her 80s—to challenge me through her speech at IF: Gathering 2017. By no choice of my own, I listened to her talk twice in a matter of months and was reminded of hard Truth my run-away heart would like to forget. She said: “Go where you are sent. Stay where you are put. Give what you’ve got. Move on when you are called.”
Pause. Read again.
“Go where you are sent. Stay where you are put. Give what you’ve got. Move on when you are called.”
I hear you, God.
I like the idea of going where I am sent. How fun and adventurous! I like the idea of moving on when I am called, of purposefully choosing to make a change based on God’s revealed will for my life.
But that middle part, well, I don’t like it as much. Stay where I am put? Give what I’ve got?
I feel confident that God put me here, meaning here in my current job, in my current city, with my current set of struggles and circumstances. And I am confident that God has not called me to move on, to change jobs or cities or the external layout of my life.
So I am left in the middle, where faithfulness today means staying where I am put and giving what I’ve got.
And just like so many other commands from God, this call to stay and give is not altered by my circumstances. Regardless of the view around me—whether I am blinded by the warm sun on a quiet beach or blinded by spitting rain in the middle of a storm—I am called to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5), take up my cross (Matthew 16:24), and stay put (Jill Briscoe).
However, so often my circumstances do impact my faithfulness. At times like these, when God’s path for me is full of wearisome work, anxiety, and uncertainty, my whole being cries out in rebellion: God, don’t you know I don’t want to be here? Jesus, don’t you know that I’m scared that what I’ve got isn’t good enough. Lord, why me?
This story is not complete. My journey is ongoing. And I see other Christian, women and men, walking this journey with me. Some days, we are thrilled to faithfully serve the Lord where He has put us; other days we are digging in our heels and asking (more like demanding), “Why?”
Why me? Why now? Why this? Our education and enlightened world views tell us that there is peace and security in knowing, but we don’t see the same message in God’s Word. From scripture, I see instead that peace is found in trust and faith. God has not promised security (on my terms), but He has promised to be faithful.
All that to say, God has not given me the luxury of knowing why I have been put here. Although I can be confident that God’s love and presence and goodness are constant in the journey, those Truths don’t mean that it isn’t hard to take the next step in faith. I asked my good friend, Biggie, if our work is valuable, and his encouragement echoed the Truth God is adamant to teach me. He said:
“I believe that our work is valuable because it is what God has called us to for the time being. That is really the only value we need to glean from it. I’m not sure if it’s to learn skills we’ll use later, or build relationships that could lead co-workers to Christ, or build a little nest egg to effectively tithe. I have no idea, and I don’t think I need to know. I just know that God has called me here for this season and I’m going to honor that – when He is ready for me to leave, He will let me know…I learned a few months ago that stressing about my vocational purpose does no good until I learn to rest in my life purpose, which is to draw near to Him.”
God has something good for me here, where I am. I can hear Jesus earnestly asking me, “Sara, will you stay put and give what you’ve got even when it’s hard and even when you don’t know why?”
Reluctantly, yet with peace that surpasses understanding, I say, “Yes, Lord.”
In this season, God is training my heart to draw near to him, rest in His will, and depend on Him alone for life. May it be written on my heart that now as ever, God is faithful.