“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”
My then boyfriend (now husband) looked over at me with a grin as we drove the deposit from the retail store we worked at to the bank. I am sure a girly giggle escaped my lips as he said to me, “We have two hundred dollars in cash right here. Let’s run away to Mexico.” Not that two hundred would have gotten us far. We’ll also ignore the fact that his suggestion may not have been too godly – what with the stealing and us not being married and all. He wasn’t serious.
Sometimes running away does sound tempting, though. Kids fighting. Dishes piling. Bills mounting. Stress looming. I confess that when the going gets tough, I want to get going – as in as far away from whatever is stressing me out as possible.
My longings to escape turn into an ever-growing “if only” list.
If only Jason and I could go on vacation, just the two of us. If only I could go on some retreat. If we could just get another date night. If the girls would just take a nap. If I could just get a day to myself, or even just five minutes, then I could get refilled. Then I would feel recharged. Then I would be able to be nicer, more loving, overflowing with patience.
If I could just run away for a while.
Of course, after one break, all I want is another…and another…and another. Don’t get me wrong. Vacations are good, dates are good, naps are GOOD! But they can’t be what I live for.
God has been showing me how I need to trust Him to sustain me right where I am. The situations I want to run away from are actually the tools He is using to change me into the woman I desire to be. It is where my patience is challenged that my patience is being developed. It is in the moments where I don’t want to be kind that He is showing me by HIS power I can hold my tongue.
I need times of refreshing. I need moments of stress-free quiet. But I also need to remember “getting away from it all” is not a magic pill that will work out holiness in me. It is in the refiner’s fire that all of the dross will be burned away. And the Lord will be my refreshing, my strength, my portion – even in the midst of the fire.
Do I want to drop hints to my hubby some days that I think we still do need to run away to Mexico? Yep. But most days, I am seeing I need to unpack my bags. Looks like, since I want to be mature and complete in Him, I won’t be running away after all.