I thought when I left for three weeks I would leave the heaviness I had been feeling for months behind, but I was wrong. Instead, it was like an additional unchecked bag that I carried with me into every airport, every bus, and every hostel room. I thought I could behind my personal struggles and be free for three weeks, but my unsettled heart was the same heart in Europe as it was in the U.S.
Every new city I entered I asked myself, “Could I live here?” I wanted to prepare my heart in case God moved at lightning speed and called me to one of these new cities, or so I told myself. God wants me ready and willing, right? “God, you could call me here,” I said, as if God needed my permission.
After the third city with these two sentences on repeat, God interrupted the track: “But I’ve already called you somewhere.” “Yes, but I just want you to know I’m willing to go anywhere anytime. Like here, next week,” I responded, proving I was his willing servant. “I already told you – Gainesville, GA for two years,” he responded a bit more sternly. “I’m just saying you could change your mind, if you wanted,” reassuring God of my good intentions and hoping my hinting would change his mind. “Or you could accept that Gainesville IS a calling and that I’ve called you there for two years.”
Those words were aimed directly at the hurting parts of my heart, the parts that don’t want to accept this tiny town as a placement with a purpose. His words highlighted the complaints that ooze into my daily conversations that originate from an unsettled and unhappy heart. He challenged me in my belief that he doesn’t REALLY want me here and at any moment he’ll change my placement.
Years ago Francis Chan said, “What makes you think that a re-location is going to change you? If you’re not already doing it here, why would a city change all of a sudden change your habits?” His words flooded my mind, sending me back to the time and place I stood when I originally heard those words and reminded me of the revelation I received so many years before. If I can’t do it in Gainesville, GA why would I be able to do it in Tirana, Albania or Kotor, Montenegro or Skopje, Macedonia?
It was like my heart had been holding its breath for all these months and finally exhaled. My time here has purpose and reason. I’m not here by accident but by God’s plan. I’ve been invited into a deeper level of relationship with my Heavenly Father that I ultimately have the choice to accept or reject. I can choose to sit with my arms crossed with a scowl on my face on the small wooden bench in the hallway by the door. Or I can choose to rise, walk into the next room, and join the party I’ve been only hearing and not participating in.
I don’t want my “Lord, send me” to be heard as “anywhere but here.” I want to be present in what God is doing, not just as a spectator but as a participant. Is there somewhere in your life you’ve been avoiding, waiting to be over, instead of participating?