I went too far south the other day. I was driving down the highway, headed towards home, and I drove right past my town. I had this burning desire to just keep heading south. It was a little bit intentional and a little bit surprising, really.
As the signs flew by and I found myself surrounded by cornfields, I started contemplating how long it would take me to get to Texas. That is where my heart is, after all. San Antonio is full of my people and the whole place dances with wild abandon. And then for a fleeting moment, I wondered at what point I could turn and head west instead and just drive straight to the mountains of Colorado and find myself a wee cabin and simply write for days on end and have the people I love over for hot cocoa and hugs. My people there are big dreamers with big hearts and they fill up empty spaces with their love and passion.
I have long been a runaway.
I ran away from childhood at 14. Well, it kind of ran away from me but then out of spite I turned and ran faster and farther just to escape the devastation sudden and too-soon adulthood brings. I ran away from God about then, too. I ran away from the states at 22. That was a wild time. But the Lord caught up to me the day I turned 23. Just a few months later I ran away from a dream and returned to the states. Then I ran away from Iowa after two years. I ran away from Arkansas a few months ago. And now…
I just want to run away again. Everything is awry. I just want to run and hope I don’t miss the point of the adventure along the way.
It is hard to be a runaway.
Some people, for their own safety and security, want you to settle down. It makes them uncomfortable when you cannot stop your wild core from flinging love and joy and dreams and deep thoughts and raw honesty all over the place without shame. They want you to stay (literally and figuratively) in one place long enough to be a part of their circus. I just can’t do that kind of life. I can’t be tamed and I can’t be strangled to make others feel better about their own misery and to justify their jealousy and their cruelty. I just can’t. So I run. Far far away. I wish them well on my way out and I harbor no ill will. No space for that in this heart anymore.
Thankfully, the Lord runs, too. He caught up to me some eight years ago and He has not let go. I’m pretty quick. But He is quicker. That’s a good thing. The One who loves and saves doesn’t expect me to quit being a runaway. He Himself has called me to a nomadic existence of sorts. What He does expect, what I cannot ever run away from, is the command that I am to love and serve in all things, that I am to abide in Him, that I am not to get too caught up in myself, but to get caught up in Him so that I may love well, that I am to live the grace I have been given. To do anything less or other would be the waste of a good good gift.
I get it wrong. All the time I get it wrong. I fail and I say all the wrong things and I get misunderstood and I do things too quickly or I expect too much.
In these times, I run away and hope He forgets me.
He remembers me.
And He offers me rest. And He promises that the restlessness in this runaway heart will be met with the privilege to love. And He assures me that He is much more faithful than I and He will not grow tired of calling me daughter. He will run as far and fast as He must in order to keep me.
He loves runaways, too.