A few years ago, I found myself in a place where I wanted to take cover more than I wanted to take ground. Where I didn’t feel that I had the strength, courage, or confidence to keep going. I had never felt so vulnerable, exposed, or weak. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep pressing in and pressing on. Reaching out for what’s next. Pursuing the adventure that I always had. It wasn’t a crisis of faith; rather, it was a sober realization that if I were to keep going, it would probably mean more sacrifice, more pain, more heartache, more exposure, more vulnerability, more attacks…even though all of that would mean more fruit.
The course Jesus had chartered for me was worthy of my continuing—because Jesus was worthy of my continuing—but somewhere I had drifted from seeing that, to losing myself in my feelings. It was my feelings that were screaming at me to pull back. I knew that I could keep going through the motions and no one would even really know I wasn’t pressing in as hard as I once was, sticking as close to Jesus as I once did. Willing to keep taking risks like I always had. No one would really know…except Jesus. He would know. And that mattered more than anything.
Maybe my beleaguered state was from all the years of being on the frontline. Of pioneering. Of daring to go where no one else was going at the time. Of relentless spiritual warfare. Maybe it was from running full steam ahead. Or from feeling exposed, raw, vulnerable, and sometimes like an easy target. Maybe it was the failure of a project I had poured my heart and soul into. Maybe I was still being affected from losing my mum and three other family members the year before. Maybe it was the loss of intimacy in letting go of some friendships I had treasured, ones that had fractured, leaving me feeling so hurt and misunderstood, perhaps even jaded. It had been a huge season of loss on so many levels.
But don’t we all deal with being hit by compounding blows? Don’t we all lose loved ones? Don’t we all grow weary in our callings and careers? Don’t we all experience disappointments? And struggle with being disillusioned? Don’t we all want to walk away from time to time?
Truth be told, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’d thought of walking away from it all and opening a small café in Santorini, Greece. Just Nick and me, and our girls tucked away in my favorite corner of the world. Can’t you just see me suggesting another cup of coffee to go with your baklava? I imagine we all have our own little escape destinations where we run to in our minds. To the life we thought we might have. But never will have. Because deep down we love Jesus and his plans more.
Instead of letting myself go there this time, I turned and faced the journey ahead of me—one I had never anticipated. Jesus had always been the anchor of my soul, so I knew I would find what I needed where I always had—in him. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, "How did I get here?"