Are You A Runaway?
Most of us when we think of runaways, think of kids or teens who are rebellious, have packed up their suitcases and their frustrations to escape to a world outside of their home. Often it is filled with incredible danger and it can potentially be life-threatening to be out on the streets. Somehow it feels safer than where they were before. Is that really true?
The kind of runaways I want to talk to you about is the people who have problems they feel are so huge and the only way they get through life is with surface level relationships. The second someone gets a real glimpse of who they really are, they bolt. They go through life afraid of the mask slipping the second they feel uncovered, vulnerable or exposed. So then they just run to the next place where everyone doesn’t necessarily know all of their junk. They feel safe once again. They feel back in control. They feel the facade is in check. Well, until they feel people there are starting to pick up on their dysfunction too. Then the running shoes come out of the box again.
I have also seen people who are habitual runners tend to gravitate to unhealthy people. Why? Because they are not going to be challenged to walk the hard road of healing. Why would you be challenged when everyone in your new circle has opted to wear a mask too? Feels kinda normal now! Wow, you just fit right in. And besides, their problems are way worse than yours anyhow, right? So once again you feel safe but you are not challenged.
The problems with these scenarios are many. You will never heal until you bring your deal out into the light. Hiding, being secretive, emotionally reclusive, and pretending, are not how God created us to be. You see Adam and Eve thought hiding would help them too, it didn’t. Until they admitted where they were, healing would elude them. It’s the same for you and me.
We also know that God himself exists in community (the Trinity) and so should we. If community was important to God, and he has existed since time began in community, what makes us think we dont need other people? Some people say, “Well I just need God to help me with my situation.” And yes, that is true you do need God but you need other people too. Adam walked with God but God still created Eve because Adam was not meant to do life on his own. There is nothing in the bible, not one scripture that would give any credence to the fact of isolating yourself. In fact it is just the opposite, it says those who do so bring destruction to their life. And besides, if hiding was the answer, then why do you feel lonely when you do it? It doesn’t work, does it?
When you don’t allow others into your life and you consistently run, you thwart your healing process. You see healing sometimes requires quite a bit of pain and many quit right there. Have you ever broken a bone and let it heal by itself then the doctor told you that it had to be re-broken? Yep, if it didn’t heal properly it has to broken again and boy does that hurt! It’s because the first break was an accident, the second is on purpose and is quite painful to endure. When you are intentionally broken, it hurts but healing is the goal, not your comfort and not mine.
You see when we have to admit our faults, our mistakes, and observe the consequences of our decisions, sometimes shame can try to creep in and wipe us out. We decide to feel the intense pain of shame instead of the conviction to change. Shame will bring you down and destroy you. Conviction will cause you to act in a positive way. Shame is full of regret and fear. Conviction is full of promise, that there is something more, if I can just hold on a bit longer. When the mess you are in becomes more painful than the thought of getting help, you will quit running. The pain of staying where you are is what will eventually lead to you getting the help you need. Then the pain of change decidedly becomes accepted.
Are you a runaway child? Here are some quick questions to ask yourself.
Do I allow deep, meaningful friendships in my life? (family excluded)
Do I let people see my pain and my flaws?
Am I able to receive correction from others?
Am I defensive?
Do I blame others for my problems? (scapegoat: spouse, kids, boss, friends)
Do I hang with emotionally healthy people or gravitate to people who are unhealthy?
Do I keep my commitments?
Do I avoid confrontation?
Am I getting help for my issues? (Life Groups,attending church, counselor, healthy friends, etc.)
Do I fear intimacy?
When a situation is tough, do I avoid phone calls, not return emails or become withdrawn and isolated?
Do my parents and family members have healthy relationships or could I have picked up unhealthy patterns?
Are you easily offended?
Do I try to get the speck out of someone else’s eye when I have a board in my own?
Ok, those are just a few questions to ask yourself. If you have a hard time answering those questions, then maybe have someone help you to walk through the questions and tell you what they have observed. Ask them to be open and honest. Healing is the goal, not comfort, remember?
Here is what I know. God loves you so much. He wants you to completely fall in love with him. Once we understand his love for us, it wont be as hard to understand that other people can love us too. People are a part of your healing process. Let them in. Don’t be a runaway, you are God’s child. He wants you to only run to him!
P.S. If we run from others it is a sign that we do that to God too. Our ability to trust others comes from our ability to trust God. Food for thought.