Between Two Seasons
When all I wanted to do was go, but He said stay.
I feel so ready to leave - to put everything down, and to get on a plane and go.
This sounds like running away; maybe it is. But me - I am hungry for adventure.
I have been in this state of being for a long time now. Longing, deeply longing for something else, something more, somewhere else. Take me to the slums of India, to open fields, to mountains and space, to the big wide world that I am desperate to see. I want to get my hands dirty. Take me to the south coast where I can live in a home by the sea near my heroes, my parents. Take me to the busy streets of London and let me live my days playing and teaching my 4 funny and sweet nieces and nephews, doing life by my sister.
Take me somewhere else, anywhere but here: That’s what I’ve been stubbornly saying these past months.
Now you are imagining I have a terrible life; I don’t, it’s actually very lovely. But somewhere along the line my heart moved on and I’ve been playing catch up ever since. I have a million things to be deeply grateful for, and truly I am. I live in my own home, I have an exciting and challenging job where I actually make a difference to people's lives and I have wonderful people in my life. But you see, the job, the mortgage, the ins-and-outs of everyday life, it’s just not enough; I never wanted that.
It doesn’t cut it.
Some people, that’s what they aim for. I know that people look at my life and think I have it made. I am 23 years old, I am married, I have a house, a good job, I am part of a good Church and life looks sweet.
In the depths of my heart though (and I’m guessing the depths of yours) I want more. I don’t want more things or more friends or more money. I am hungry for God, and the raw and wild adventure that comes with knowing him.
When I was 5 years old, I wrote in my journal of dreams and visions I had of the life I would lead and the changes I would make to the world. I still have them, you can read them. I have wanted to live a radical life for 23 years. I think it has something to do with my crazy wonderful family, and something to do with what God has planted in me.
You see I was born into a missionary family, spending my first years living in the remote areas at foothills of the Himalayas. My parents, they sacrificed their life to something far bigger than a house, a good job and a steady and comfortable life. My whole life I have watched them live out something so different to the norm, they have moved when He said go, and they have stayed when He said stay. I know they understand my heart right now; they too have stayed in places when all they wanted to do was go.
It seems something of them unsurprisingly is part of me.
A desire to travel, to life outside of what the world sees as comfortable, to go to the third world and get into the dirt with broken people.
To give up careers and nice safe houses to live in streets where we are the only white faces, where drugs are being passed out in front of the garden gate.
To give up the prospect of earning money to set up charities to serve the least, to give money away, to live a life that is not normal, because radical love tends to look crazy.
That’s what I want.
When we got married, we said we would stay in this city for around 5 years. I have gone through university and started my career, and Ed is well on his way to finishing too. We are rooted here for another year before we can physically go.
So I have a dilemma: I have a heart that is ready to take flight, but a life that is here.
This summer we are saying goodbye to several of our friends including our best friends as they adventure forward. I thought it would be me saying goodbye first, I thought it would be me leaving and getting on a flight to take the next step. I didn’t think I would be the one left behind.
The dilemma I spoke of, it’s not really a dilemma, it’s a choice and it is in my hands.
I think there are two options: I spend the next year adrift, frustrated, bored, lonely without my friends and waiting... just waiting to go.
(And this is where it gets a little cliché but crazy true and powerful)
I choose to live presently and I look at the face of Jesus and ask him what He has for me this year; how can I live that radical adventurous life right here, right now.
Option one is no fun. I chose it for a bit and felt, to put it simply, depressed. Thankfully I have people in my life who won’t let me live like that and have pointed me to another way. The way of life, joy and hope.
It’s not actually about leaving, or adventures or houses or jobs or friends. It’s about Jesus, it is Him I am so desperate for and so unsatisfied living without. Want to the know the wonderful truth? The best is yet to come. The adventures are coming, and they start right in my heart.
I think God is so much kinder than we give him credit for.
He knows my heart, the things I need to learn, the places I need pruning, the areas where I need growth. He is kind enough to not let my fickle heart take flight when it’s not ready, but to take me to a place where I will learn those invaluable lessons. Turns out that place is right here, in my home, in my work, with these people around me. It’s not forever, but it’s now.
My amazing and wise mamma sent me some words of life that have challenged me deeply.
‘If I have learned anything from the past years of living with unfulfilled dreams, it is this - God is more interested in your character than in your comfort. The one over riding quality that marked Jesus’ life on earth was his total and utter dependence on and satisfaction in his Father.
This season will inevitably expose stuff in your heart, but that is good! There is no point fighting against it, otherwise He will just visit you again. And not at a convenient time, so committed is God to your development.
At the end of the day, it is all about Him, and in his light, who He has made us to be.
Not what we do or where we go.
It is always about the heart.
When I think of it, our friends who are leaving, it’s scary for them, out of their comfort zone, leaving jobs and homes for the sake of where He has told them to go - He is expanding and growing their hearts, teaching them dependance on Him - obedience and trust.
To me He is doing the opposite: He is asking me to stay, to work hard and live in the home He gave me. That’s scary for me, frustrating and not what I want. Maybe He is expanding my heart, growing it and teaching me dependance, obedience and trust. I guess He knows what He’s doing.
So committed is God to my development, it looks like He may have just got me in a season where there is some pruning and growth coming my way. My choice then is to sink and settle into it and to let Him do the stuff He needs to do. For me, I'll look at His face when it’s scary, frustrating or out of my comfort zone. I’m committed to loving fiercely, to looking up at those around me and making this year one of purpose, in serving and giving and living that wild life I have always wanted.
So, if over this next year you happen to speak to me, ask me how it's going.
Challenge me and remind me of this commitment I am making.
Ask me how this crazy adventure of my heart is going.
AUTHOR: BETHANY WALKER