the treadmill

What are you running from?

These days, I’m finding the thoughts in my head easier and easier to avoid.  That explains why I haven’t written in awhile.  But after awhile, it’s exhausting.  So here I am, ready to spill out the thoughts in my head.  A few weeks worth, so I’m preparing myself for the rambling disorganization of unedited word vomit.

About a month ago, Josh and I moved into his parents’ house.  We’re living there for a few months while we figure out what our next steps are.  For several months now, we’ve been considering a move to Dallas for a lot of reasons.  And in a lot of moments, it’s sounded so wonderful.  We have great friends there, we both have career potentials available to us.  And to be honest, I’m one of those people who consistently craves change.  I don’t just tolerate change…it energizes me.  There’s some adrenaline rush for me in having no idea what our life is going to look like six months from now.  So, to this point, I’ve been the one pushing for Texas.  I have no ties here, other than Josh, to be honest.  I could pick up tomorrow and move and the bulk of my life would be entirely unaffected, unless for some reason my husband did not come with me.  Unlikely.

But a few weeks ago [coincidentally around the same time that I started avoiding my own thoughts…except that I don’t believe in coincidence], during some rare quiet time in my schedule, a thought popped into my head, and it’s been plaguing me  since it appeared.

What are you running from?

And since then, I can say I’ve found a lot of reasons to run from that question.  A lot of opportunities to fill up my life with everything but anything that’s real.  Living with Josh’s parents has been a great experience so far; despite the fact that many people look at us as though we must be living a nightmare, it hasn’t been that way at all.  I absolutely adore my in-laws, and we have a fantastic relationship.  But of course, it’s been a time of transition.  And I’m learning that for myself in particular, periods of transition are often accompanied by periods of numbness.  Periods of wandering through life without any particular sense of direction, without any sense of routine or purpose.

These past few weeks have been no different.  I’ve spent a lot of time wandering between our bedroom and the living room, not really knowing where to settle myself because, at the end of the day, it’s not home; I still feel somewhat like a visitor in the place I’m living.  I’ve found myself sitting down to write and unable to for reasons that I can’t put my finger on.  Sitting down to read Scripture and feeling entirely uninspired by what I’m reading.

So I’ve read a lot of fiction.  Watched a lot of TV.  Taken a lot of naps.

What are you running from?

So for the first time, I’m sitting here thinking, “Okay.  What am I running from? God, You clearly think I’m running from something, and with You being God and all…I’m hardly in a position to argue.  So what is it? What am I running from?”

And my mind keeps going back to Genesis, immediately after the original sin, when God started hunting Adam down.  “Where are you?” I often find this passage hilarious, because…let’s face it, He’s God.  He already knew exactly where Adam was; more importantly than physically, He knew where Adam was spiritually and emotionally and mentally.  I feel like Adam in this moment.  Like God’s asking me for an answer He already knows better than I will ever know myself.

What are you running from?

And if I were to answer Him and myself honestly right about now, that particular monologue would sound something like this:

I’m running from everything that might cost me something.  I’m running from everything that might cost me comfort.  Pleasure.  Ease.  Time.  Confidence.  Pride.  Me.  I am running from everything that might cost me ME.

And it is so true.  And some of the things I have going in Kansas City right now are a threat to all of those things.  God has done so many amazing things, provided so many amazing opportunities for Josh and I.  And yet, for some reason, I find myself not truly investing myself in any of them.  Because none of them came to me on a silver platter.

Vox.  For the first time, I’m in a church that challenges me.  And I love it.  I love the heart of the leadership, I love the vision, I love the drive to chase Christ in a way that brings Heaven to Earth.  And at the same time, it’s tough.  Because as much as I’ve always perceived myself as wholly extroverted and able to jump into friendships headfirst…I’m realizing over time that many of the “friendships” I’ve encountered as a result of that extroverted nature have been very surface-oriented.  It is very easy for me to be social.  It’s much harder for me to be real.  It takes time and experience and all of those tough things for me to really engage in relationships of depth and meaning.  And frankly, anything less than that feels like murder to me anymore.  So it’s like God is telling me, “Your entire life, you’ve been doing this the easy way.  And you’ve been okay with that.  But I’m not, to be honest.  So I’m going to strip you of any sense of joy you might have previously gotten from doing relationships the easy way.  It’s time to do things the hard way, Aud.  And you’ll hate it.  It’ll feel like fire to you.  But I care far more about you being real in your ability to bear My image than I do about you being comfortable.”

Community in friendship.  Geez, I have been spoiled.  I have some of the most amazing friends in the world, I truly do.  And God placed them in my life at a point when I desperately needed them.  And then, I came to Kansas City.  And for the first time, it was just me and Josh.  And believe me, I love that.  And yet, the further we get into marriage, the more we’re aware that we need community desperately, more than just the community we have with each other.  We desire friendships with other married people with whom we can seek counsel and perspective and accountability.  And we’ve been blessed by Megan and KC, our wonderful friends from Texas, with whom we share that immediate sense of community, one we didn’t have to work for.  And it is so tempting to want to pack everything up and move to be with them.  But God keeps placing new friends and people in our lives, and small reminders that sometimes community doesn’t happen immediately, and it’s often not easy.  But it can be found in any place you are, by the grace of God.

Imagine.  I do love my job most days, but it is by no means easy.  And I’ll be honest enough to say that for the past two years, I’ve been living much of my professional life on autopilot.  And in my own defense, I think that many new teachers find themselves in the same boat.  But it’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to make a choice: invest more of myself in what I do, or do something else.  My job isn’t one of those that you can really do halfway; at least not long-term.  A lot of days lately, I walk away from my job and don’t feel proud of what I’ve done, of the effort that I’ve put in.  And while I definitely believe that pride can be a very dangerous measuring stick, I also believe that part of my calling is to do what God has given me to do with all my heart, as though I’m doing it for Him.  In fact, He tells me that in Scripture explicitly.  And I can say with a surety that I’m not doing that right now.  And sometimes, it’s so tempting to just…start over.  To blame it on the school or the administration and move on to somewhere else.  But in this moment…a part of me cannot help but believe that this is my time to stand and fight and be the teacher that I know I’m capable of being.  Even when I’m tired.  Even when it costs me something.  Even when I’m afraid [which I am some days].

And maybe that’s the overall message.  Instead of running from reality, instead of running from where I am, maybe I’m being called to stand and fight for it, to trust that God put us here for a reason and opened up all these opportunities for a reason.  Maybe I’m being called to be patient and to let Him do His work and to let Him do it through me and in me where I am right now.

I just know I’m tired of running.  I feel like I’ve been doing it for some time now.  And I’m ready to sit for awhile, to be still and know that He is God and that He’s ready for me to stop running, too.

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