I’m gasping, my leg is cramping, and my lungs feel like they’re about to explode. But still, I have to run this race. There are no breaks. No rest stops. Lest I be swallowed up whole. The oasis is in front of me. I can see it. All I need to do is outrun the storm following behind. No breaks.
I’ve been like a lamb being dragged to the slaughter house. Wallowing and crying, anxious for the blade and the slicing that I believed will come. I was on edge about everything. I decided that maybe I needed a getaway. A break from Renew, a break from people, a break from whatever triggers are there that I cannot see. I didn’t want to spiral anymore.
When I mentioned to Ellis about going on a Prayer Retreat by myself, he was all for it. Time away from distractions and fear, processing with God and only God for hours and hours and hours. Get clarity, lay down my horribly gross sins, and find my identity in Christ. Just BEING creation with the creator. It’s a good idea. Then I mentioned taking a short break from Renew and maybe visiting some mega-church or something for a month. Low pressure, no obligations, and still worship God. I wasn’t planning to leave Renew but I needed to not feel like I’m going off the deep end every Sunday. I needed to get some air and fix myself since I’ve been failing in every way. I didn’t believe I can serve or be even a participant at Renew in the state I’m in.
Ellis’s response? “If you do that, you’re not going back
Then, he launched him into a whole spiel about how it doesn’t matter if we fail every single day, but we try anyways. That God already knows that we’re going to fail with people, that we suck, that we’ll have issues big and small in every season. He said he might not understand what I’m going through, but he was confident that this wasn’t the answer. Life is littered with angst and insecurity and fear and shame. We don’t cure ourselves by taking a breather. We don’t fix ourselves by not going to the church we are called to. Get closer to God by not going your church? Yea… that doesn’t make much sense. Was leaving Covina the right choice at the time? No. Was it good for me? Perhaps. Now, is leaving Renew, even for a little bit, the right choice? I’ve realized, No.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:22-25
It isn’t that we need a break when we struggle. We don’t just drop our responsibilities as servants of Christ, to find ourselves again and fix ourselves. We don’t just sit and wallow at the back of the congregation when the service lets out because we’re suffering or struggling. We’re still called to do things and work and walk with people, DESPITE all the turmoil we’re feeling. And we may fail. It will feel like too much. We’ll get the urge to run away. We will trip and fall on our faces again and again and again. But we have an everlasting HOPE.
Hold on and keep running.