|| Stop Running||
I guess you could say, that I've been "doing the Jonah" for a few years now.
No this is not a reference to a hip new dance that all the youths recently came up with (which is probably just a recycled version of what our parents did anyway). Thats just what I've been calling it lately, "doing a Jonah" or "pulling a Jonah" the act of running from something you know is meant for you. The idea of fleeing to the nearest escape route and pretending to cover your ears when a calling suddenly has your name written next to it.
I'm so good at pulling a Jonah because as much as I wouldn't want to admit it- I'm a runner. I run from love that feels like I shouldn't deserve, I run from people who want to hold me closer, I run from confrontation because that mess always makes my palms sweat and stomach drop. I run from compliments because I'm still learning how to affirm myself and for a while, I ran from embracing myself as a creative human being. I thought that there was no way that I could be wired with stanzas permanently underneath my tongue and poetry as my native language. Oh man can I run, but we know that in the midst of running we're wondering, where are we actually going? Who do we think we're hiding from besides a poor attempt at hiding from ourselves? Hiding from the whisper of purpose that rings in our heartbeat every time we're given another day to wake up.
All my closest friends currently are involved in ministry to some extent. Youth pastors, youth interns, pursuing seminary degrees, trying to get their hands in service as deep as they can. They have learned and grown so much since graduating APU or other places and diving into whatever it is that God has called them to. That "whatever" happened to be churches, theology classes and a lot of "Here I am Lord." I've been saying that too, "Here I am Lord" however I've been adding my own renditions to the end of them.
"Here I am Lord BUT not there"
"Here I am Lord but I'm going to move over here, I know that's where you REALLY want me"
"Here I am Lord -- but while I have your attention, I was thinking (insert plan a, b and c)"
Isn't it funny how conditional we think we can be with God? As if our lives are these underground transactions we're making with this sketchy, shaded person. But there is nothing conditional about a plan that literally has your name written all up in it, its purpose, calling, all those cheesy christians terms we use basically saying, "HEY- THIS IS FOR YOU. DO THIS."
But we have our reasons for running don't we? We want to be our own person, we wanted a different route, we don't believe we are capable of doing what he's pulling us towards. For me, it had a lot to do with not wanting to be my dad (sorry dad, I love you -- do you boo, you're killin' it) but for so long I've been telling people I'm not a pastor, I'm not a preacher. I write poetry and that's my form of ministry. I don't preach, I speak and write poems. I often get two responses after a show or performance 1. "Wow that was a really good sermon" or 2. " Hey I really liked your rap." Both of which often make me squirm just a little bit because what are people seeing up there? Are they not seeing who I really am? Does my heart not radiate enough through every word? Or is it not that they don't see me but more like I can't see myself? No, I'm not announcing my new desire to pursue rapping, let's be real I don't have enough he rhythm for that. But I'm also not saying that I'm going to be a pastor (this could be me Jonah-ing again). What I do know is that in this next season of life I find myself interviewing for Chapel Program internships and filling out applications for APUs Graduate Seminary. lol what? And honestly I couldn't tell you why (except I think I'm supposed to? I'm working on that question part) but I can tell you that I'm excited because I have ZERO idea what this could entail and in the strangest way it is so comforting.
So it's in moments like this where I find my own failed escape whale slowly bringing me back to land. Where I realize that the "coincidence" that too many of the people I'm closest too have been circling around me in this field and for too long I thought I was only supposed to watch from the sidelines, not dive in with them. It is because of realizations and lightbulb moments like this where I keep hearing, "For such a time as this, for such a time as this" over and over again.
"I see a lot of kingdom in you,
I want to know how to help you further that kingdom-ness."
Those words have been spoken over me more times than I can count. I don't know what this means in terms of profession or honestly for the next year of my life. But I know that I want to be a good steward of whatever it may be. I know that I want to try my best to shake this fear and stubbornness off and nestle into this next chapter.
Here's the most beautiful thing I've learned in probably the most chaotic month of my life-- God shows up. Not necessarily when we want him to or when we thought he would. His timing truly is perfect but so perfect it pisses us off because it doesn't match our own. The Ancient Greeks knew a lot about timing. Kairos is a greek term meaning "the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment)" versus Chronos or chronological. We naturally function in Chronos time, we want life and events to have order but thats when Kairos time (aka God) comes in and shakes its head at our plans and shows us where divinity meets our earthly life and blows our minds. It is in Kairos time that perfection meets imperfect and coincidences are not coincidences at all. God shows up and knows how to Kairos the mess out of our lives and we wonder why we didn't lean into him a little bit sooner.
I guess this is all to say, I have to stop running. Stop running from divine timing and a God who desperately wants to show up past my highlighted monthly planner and lists. Its here that I declare to stop Jonah-ing life, calling and everything in between. I don't know what this declaration means but I hope it's something along the lines of a "Here I am Lord" without the but and the promise to stay.
No more running. No more.