The word God gave me as the guiding theme for my life this year. Now to some, that might not seem like a big deal. It may seem trivial and even a little uneventful to build one’s whole purpose for a year around the idea of staying. Let me set the scene for you, maybe you can relate to it from another angle.
I am a runner.
Not in the sense of putting on shoes, under armour, taking my iPod and jogging for 3 miles. I am a runner relationally. My habitually cultivated fear of abandonment causes me to high tail it in the opposite direction as soon as I start to get a deep emotional connection with someone. Vulnerability is the single most terrifying thing to a runner like me. As soon as you are vulnerable, you are able to be hurt deeply by the object of your vulnerability. When God gave me the word stay as my purpose for this year, it came with a few implications.
First, I need to build into staying. Work is no longer temporary. Whatever my job is, it is going to be this for a while. This means that I need to make an effort to be skilled at my job, to get to know the employees around me and to be open to correction and improvement. I cannot merely drop out if I decide ‘I don’t like this job’–God said stay and that’s what I am going to do. The old Cheryl bounced from job to job whenever she had a conflict she didn’t like at work or found a job she liked better that was advertising for a new position. This allowed me to keep surface level relationships with my co-workers but cemented the chronic distance and isolation I was keeping myself in.
Second, I need to stay presently. Staying is less about planning for the future and more about living in the now. I have a nasty habit of wanting to control everything. I want to do the right thing, know all the answers, plan for any and every contingency and feel anxious if I fail to do so. God is showing me that to stay means to take each day as it comes. Being present in the now is the only way to cultivate relationships what can allow me to be vulnerable enough to trust. If I am always looking to the future, I will miss what is going on right in front of me.
Lastly, I need to stay in the discomfort. Currently, I am working towards having a healthy body. This means that much of the time I am in pain. Good pain. Pain that develops muscles. I am noticing a remarkable difference in my energy levels, my stamina and my athletic ability. I still regard myself as the person I was 70lbs ago and surprise myself each time I play soccer without fainting, or walk 5 km without becoming exhausted, or hike up a hill and be able to talk while doing it! Vulnerability and learning to trust is the same. I need to stay in relationship and push through the pain of developing new muscles. Only through trusting God for the outcomes of sharing my heart with others will I have the deep relationship with Him that I crave. Funny thing, you cannot shut out people and remain close to God. The human heart only has one door. Either we let the Holy Spirit touch us through people, words and events or we don’t. There’s no ‘Me & You God’ without His children.
Here’s to staying and the revolution it’s already starting to make in my heart.
** I’d like to add, if you would like to join my support network and help me in this journey of radical obedience http://www.gofundme.com/cherylfolland follow this link to donate and share. Every little bit helps. **