Sometimes, I Want to Run Away…
I had that wide-awake dream again. The one where I, and my family, disappear. We just leave. Sometimes in this dream we move to an island in the Caribbean, live in a house on the beach, and go completely ‘off-grid.’ Sometimes in the dream it’s a cabin in the mountains, but the content of the dream largely stays the same…disconnect from everything, run away, hide, and in some way become free of the cares, concerns, issues, problems of our current day to day life. Sometimes the dream passes in a moment. Other times it lingers a while, a few hours or a few days, even a week. Then it passes. And focus returns. Life continues with all it requirements and concerns.
I wonder if this dream just might play out in real life somehow. Maybe in some subtle and unexpected ways. Maybe this dream is connected to some deeper personality stuff, or maybe it’s related to my own tendency to be an introvert, or maybe I’m just tempted to disconnect from others, from life, even from church when life gets tough, hard, overwhelming. I have noticed that this dream tends to occur more often during those seasons of my life when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, overworked and anxious, conflicted and lonely.
Am I alone in this tendency? I don’t think so. I think many of us, if not all of us, have these little daydreams and desires. But the reality is that most us will never do it. We won’t just up and leave, disappear, go ‘off-grid’ and become beach bums or mountain people. But we might do it in small ways. More subtle ways. We might start avoiding groups of people we used to enjoy being with; or we might start attending church or small group less and less often; or we might make excuses for disconnecting at just the moment we need deep connection the most. I think this is the tendency the writer of Hebrews was addressing in Chapter 10:23-25.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23–25 NLT-SE)
Even back then, apparently, there was a tendency to give up meeting together, a tendency to forget the encouraging presence of the family of faith, a tendency to disconnect. Perhaps, at just the moment we are most tempted to disconnect, is the moment we most need the deep connection of Christian community. The Christian life was never meant to be lived in isolation.
The next time you are tempted to disconnect, to leave, to run away…remember these two benefits of meeting together (there are more, but these two are a good start), of intentional Christian community:
1. Motivation. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” In the Christian community, we are motivated by our sisters and brothers to live the life we are called into. Sometimes we struggle with self-motivation, at that moment, the example of our family of faith can provide the right dose of motivation.
2. Encouragement. “But encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” When we lose hope; when we lose sight of the big picture; when we slide into the depression or conflict of day-to-day life our family of faith is there to encourage and refocus us.
And remember how the passage starts, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” We are a people who hold fast to hope, a hope rooted in Jesus. We are a people who know and love a God who always fulfills His promises! We are the Family of Faith. Never meant to live in isolation. We need each other!
Where have you experienced the encouragement and motivation of the family of faith?
Where do you gather with your sisters and brothers in the faith?
Will you connect, when everything in you wants desperately to disconnect?
Will you be a part of the family of faith?
Grace and peace, Rich.