This is a post written by a good friend of mine. Her words sting my soul, for I too have been in this place.
I ran away from home…
But, it’s a secret.
No one knows.
My face didn’t end up on a milk carton.
There weren’t flyers posted to downtown telephone poles hoping I’d turn up.
My cell phone wasn’t being blown up by family and friends frantically wondering where I am.
There was no reward provided for whoever could locate my whereabouts.
A news report didn’t show up on ABC 33/40 in desperate search of what had happened to me.
But I was long gone.
I’m a runner.
Physically… I hate running.
You can see how that would be a problem considering I’ve been an athlete my whole life.
But straight-shot exercise with no diversity of obstacles aggravates the piss out of me.
You want me to just…run?
Just take off until you tell me to stop?
Until I’ve reached a certain mile marker? That’s a freaking joke.
I’d much rather get in shape by playing basketball, dancing, joining a game of ultimate frisbee in the rain, or just going on a hike.
Spiritually however, I’m an Olympic gold medalist.
I could run for days, weeks, months, years.
And I have.
Even when I’ve grown weary, I’ve kept on running.
Even when I’ve cried every day for longer than I’d like to publicly mention, I’ve kept on running.
Even when I’ve been physically sick and my body attempts to collapse on me, I somehow manage to muster up the strength to run a little further.
I’ve refused to stop.
I’ve refused to humbly admit that the decision I’ve made to leave home might have been a huge mistake.
Even when I didn’t realize it, I’ve just wanted to be in control of my own life…
I’ve still showed up to church.
Still dragged myself to the prayer and worship nights.
Still forced myself to be around people on behalf of checking fellowship off my list.
But what no one knew was every time when the final amen was said, the final song was played, and the last light was cut off and everyone went their separate ways…
I would grab the few belongings I had thrown in the corner, walk out the door, and keep running.
I’ve found myself stumbling through the front doors of a mosque.
Overwhelmed with the knowledge and history of Islam.
I’ve found myself sneaking into the science labs and libraries of every major university.
Bombarded with the ideology of evolution and the unbelief in any higher power.
I’ve skipped to the front pew of every American church only for my pace to doze off when every pair of judgmental eyes met my stare.
Swallowing my stomach because my struggles and sin were too big for anyone to understand or love me despite of.
I’ve been alone.
I’ve doubted the very existence of my Creator.
I’ve depended on everything but Him.
I’ve refused to surrender my life.
I’ve found my happiness in all the things I’m capable of losing.
And I’ve been miserable.
Until this morning at church.
Yes, at church.
The pastor was talking about how destruction comes when you ignore God and try to control your own life.
That pain is a gift from God to warn you that something isn’t right and it needs to be tended to. Depression.
Loss of appetite.
The past few years of my life have been destruction.
And though I refused to admit it before, I know it’s because I’ve been ignoring Him.
So much that I’m numb to my choices, misery is normal, and I can’t even hear Him anymore.
Until He blew me up this morning and reminded me that regardless of my doubt…
Whether I choose to believe He created me or I choose to disregard His existence,
I did not earn my life.
There was absolutely nothing I did to put myself on this Earth.
Therefore, life owes me nothing.
So all the independence I’ve been chasing and the desires I’ve been fulfilling don’t have to work out for me.
Nothing really has to go my way.
And the reality of that knocked me to the ground in brokenness.
And after all that running where did I end up?
Physically on the floor of my apartment bawling my eyes out.
I’m so freaking tired of running.
It has worn me out in every shape, form, and fashion…and I’m done.
And before I could even get the words out of my mouth…there He was.
He’d been waiting all along.
He didn’t chew me out.
He didn’t tell me how disappointed He was in me.
He didn’t ask a million questions as to why I left.
He didn’t manipulate me into feeling terrible for running.
When I dropped my head in shame…
He lifted it up.
When I’d weep and word vomit a million apologies, He’d tell me to shhh.
When snot would run down my nose…
When the sobs were giving me a migraine…
When my exhaustion was as vivid as my tattered clothes…
He’d just looked at me with those eyes that spoke “I know.”
And I was incapable of doing anything other than falling into His arms and saying,
“Daddy, I wanna go home.”