Are You an Extrovert or Introvert? Or Maybe That’s the Wrong Question

Gina Butz identity 3 Comments

Are you an extrovert or introvert? Or maybe that's the wrong question

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

My 2nd-grade report card tells me I was a friendly, socially active child, but it contains one criticism, “Gina needs to learn to not talk to peers during quiet times.” I was, in the beginning, an extrovert.

And so I believed for many years. After all, I am a verbal processor. I love talking. Public speaking is my jam. The bigger the crowd, the better. In groups, I easily jump in with stories. I’ve always left parties feeling energized.

Or so I thought. After a while, I wondered if what I was feeling wasn’t energized, but “unsettled.” Mixed in with that energy, often, was insecurity. What did people think of me? Did what I share make them like me more? At times I feel compelled to join in social interaction. The FOMO is strong.

God brought me through a season when I recognized the dark side of this drive to belong. The expectations and opinions of others held me captive. As I experienced deeper peace and rest in my identity in Him, I felt freer. In that freedom, I thought, “Perhaps I am actually an introvert.”

So I gave that introvert emotional space to exist. My soul desperately needs solitude and silence to be restored. As fun as it is to entertain others with stories, I prefer sitting in the depths with someone one on one. Small talk is loathsome to me. It was freeing to step away from that which drained me.

Ah, but what to make of all my words and love of people? To claim introvert leads others to assume things about me that are not true: I don’t want to engage with them, would rather be left alone, or need time to think (I probably should take more time to think, but if you need thoughts from me, they’re right there). It’s left me lonely when I didn’t want to be.

Lately, I’ve noticed an inclination to choose solitude when I actually need people. I use the excuse that I’m an introvert, but perhaps the real reason is I’m afraid or lazy.

Easier to say I’m an introvert than drum up the courage to initiate with someone who might not have time. Admitting need is hard for me. Engaging with others is easy when I dominate conversation-harder when I have to listen well.

Perhaps on this journey, I am neither and I am both.

My suspicion is, the majority of us are. More than that, I see is how easy it is for us to use either one as an excuse. We use them to justify seeking the satisfaction of something our soul needs apart from God.

Maybe our pull toward people sometimes isn’t because they energize us, but because we are afraid of being alone. We seek affirmation that we are loved. Our souls ache for belonging. We long to feel accepted. Being with others is both a way to affirm our worth and to avoid the loneliness we dread.

There are times when we choose to be alone because we don’t want to put forth the energy to engage with others. Or we believe others disinterested in our presence. We let inertia keep us at home. And rather than using that time to feed our souls, we distract them with YouTube, social media, and a million other shallow pursuits. Our souls stay lonely.

These days, whether I feel inclined to engage with others or not, I’ve been trying instead to ask myself: what is driving me?

Am I avoiding something my soul needs to address by filling my time with people? Am I hoarding my time because I’m afraid to need others, afraid of rejection?

We all need people, and we all need solitude.

And yes, we tend to be more naturally comfortable with one or the other. But these labels harm us if we use them as an excuse to avoid what our souls truly need at any given time.

Could I suggest instead we be more contemplative? Rather than labeling ourselves one or the other, let’s acknowledge that we were made for both, and ask God to help us engage in ways that feed our souls and others.

Related posts:

Drop the Hot Dog: Learning to Feed on What Truly Satisfies

What I’m Learning from Loneliness


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Why I Love Being Middle Aged

Gina Butz faith, growth, identity 3 Comments

Why I love being a middle aged woman

photo from

This summer I celebrated my 44th birthday. I’m officially just, “40 something.” I thought this was when I was supposed to have a midlife crisis, or pine for my youth, but as I reflect on it, I actually love being “middle aged.” Here’s why:

  1. I am more comfortable in my own skin.

    I’d love to say “completely comfortable” but I’m not quite there. It’s been a journey. I am more able to laugh at my foolishness (and less surprised by it). I’m learning to accept my limits rather than always pushing them. My physical body may not be exactly how I’d like, but I love that it is still healthy and strong.

  2. I can wear what I want.

    Sure, I’d like to still stay within the boundaries of looking socially acceptable (or at least not land myself squarely in “completely out of touch”). But more and more I take a look at what passes for “this season’s trends” and think, “Yeah, maybe next year.” Or maybe never. I’m aiming for “classic” these days. No one’s expecting me to be cool anymore, thank the Lord. Wearing what I like instead of what’s expected is awesome.

  3. I have wrinkles.

    Now, this is a “by faith” kind of love. Sure, I wish I didn’t have them, but the fact that I do is a reminder that I have lived. They are lines of experience, evidence that I have seen and done much. The sun has shined on my face in a dozen different countries. I have laughed. Hard. Those wrinkles are an accumulation of joy at the blessings I’ve been given.

  4. I have life long relationships.

    There’s something about being able to say, “I’ve known this person for decades, and they know me (and still like me).” What a blessing! My husband and I just hit 20 years of marriage. Soon we will have been married longer than we were single. One of my closest friends I have known for over 30 years. The amount of history wrapped up in those kinds of relationships is priceless, and there’s an aspect to it that only comes with a lot of time.

  5. I’m more at peace with the world.

    I get less worked up about most things and more passionate about what I feel really matters. There’s more gray in the world that I knew, and that makes it easier to major on the majors rather than every little thing that seems out of sorts. Along the way I’ve realized most of my attempts to control the world are futile (though don’t be surprised if you still catch me trying). What we think is huge is small in comparison to God’s sovereignty.

  6. My mess doesn’t bother me as much. 

    For so much of my life, I aimed for having it all together. Being messy felt like a one way ticket to being shunned from good society. But some time back, God started teaching me that not only can others love me in my mess, they often love me more when I let them into it. The more I own my depravity, the more I see that God’s grace is greater than anything I lack. He is leading me to rest in my flawed existence and know I am still loved.

    why I love being a middle aged woman

    my middle age self on a mountain in Colorado

  7. I have experienced God’s faithfulness.

    None of these things could be true of me apart from the relentless, tender grace and love of God that has pursued me every day of my life. I love that I can look back and trace the lines of His faithfulness to me through countless years, places, and experiences. He has been my most steadfast companion over all the mountains and through all the valleys. The more I live, the more I can attest to the truth of it, and it makes me love Him more. If I’ve learned anything, it is that He is good.

So there you have it-me enjoying my 40s. The best part is, these things I love will only continue, and I have hope that they will get even better with time.


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Storm Preparation: Principles for the Spiritual Life

Gina Butz trials 1 Comment

weathering the storm-principles for our spiritual lives

Photo by Jean-Pierre Brungs on Unsplash

This week we, along with other Floridians, are staring down a major hurricane. Riding on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, emotions are higher. Fear is strong. Already by Tuesday, supplies were out, though the storm shouldn’t hit till Sunday. As we prepare for this storm, I reflect on how our actions translate to principles for the spiritual life as well.

When we see a storm coming, our first response is to gather supplies. I’m thankful I had the foresight to ask our son to pick up water on his way home Sunday, because yesterday there was none to be found. People get salty when supplies are scarce. And often, in our spiritual lives, we act out of a scarcity mentality. The truth we need to ride out storms we gather in short supply. We reach for it in moments of desperation, instead of storing up for a rainy day.

But friends, the truth that sustains is there for the taking. It never runs out. We must constantly feed ourselves a supply of truth, so that when the storms of life hit, we have a storehouse. And we can be the ones generously sharing that truth with others.

While my husband is traveling until Friday, I’m thankful for my team from work. All day Wednesday we continued an email thread checking with each other. Who’s staying? How do we prepare? I confess, I was reluctant at first to admit my ignorance. I’m a Minnesota girl. All our storm preparedness is, “When the sirens start, grab some snacks and head for the basement. Turn on the TV.”

But in admitting my need, I receive help. There is comfort in connecting with them. We know we are not alone. Others will walk with us. When we weather the storms in life, we desperately need others. That requires owning our needs, ignorance, and poverty, so that others can help us. We were made to weather storms together.

Part of our preparation is checking for the safe places. Our house has few interior rooms-just a small room under the stairs and decent sized closets in the kids’ rooms. (Looks like we will hunker down Harry Potter style).

We need safe places. In God, we have the greatest one. Twitter He is our solid place, rock, refuge, our anchor in the storm. Too easily I wander from that home and look for solid places elsewhere; it is a pointless search. He is the best hiding place.

Despite our best preparations, we know this storm might cause damage. Our backyard is wooded. Surely branches will fall and trees may be uprooted. While our house was built to withstand strong winds, it can’t bear everything. How will it all hold up against the storm?

In our spiritual lives, there is where I see God work so much good. Storms are when we see what we’re made of. We see if we have built our lives on solid ground. There’s uprooting that needs to happen so God can plant something better. We come through a little battered and worse for wear, but humbled as well. They bring us back into dependence.

I confess, through all this preparation, I am fearful. There are so many “what if?” scenarios. There is too much out of my control. In the face of a storm, God calls me back to rest in His goodness.Twitter  He reminds me that He is greater than any storm, even the biggest one I’ve ever seen. His perfect love for us drives out fear. While we remain vigilant and alert to the destructive forces around us, we are trusting, hopeful, and deeply loved.

So we store up truth along the way, guarding our hearts for whatever might come. We keep building our lives and identities on the solid ground of who God is. That way, when the rain comes and the wind blows, we rest secure. We do it together. We do it knowing that however great the storm, He is greater.


Related posts:

Peace and Hope Amidst the Storm


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What We Don’t Have to Carry

Gina Butz dependence on God, peace 4 Comments

What we don't have to carry-remembering to give our worry to God

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash

I woke up one morning recently, and in that space between sleeping and waking I had a clear picture in my head of a room. Lying in the room were objects that represented aspects of my life that were causing me to worry.

It was right in the middle of a crazy week. Our kids had started school and I was trying to get back into my role at work, bringing a thousand minute decisions and needful things screaming for my attention.

The night before, as I reviewed my day, I had been aware of how those worries had occupied my thoughts and energy during the day. It occurred to me how much I had been holding onto them, rather than stopping to pray and release them to God. I determined that the next day would be one of peace. Surrender would be my course of action.

But as I woke up that morning and pictured that room, my eyes found those worries lying around me. I immediately felt a heaviness in my soul as I saw myself reaching to pick them up again, throw them over my shoulders, and trudge on. But as I leaned to take hold of one of these burdens, I heard God say,

“That is not yours to carry.” 

There was in that instant a momentary sense of relief, and a reminder of my determination to stay in a place of peace this day. But in the next second, another worry popped up, whispering over my shoulder that surely I needed to carry it. As I turned in my mind to pick it up, again I heard His voice,

“That is not yours to carry.”

And then I breathed a sigh of surrender.

Sitting down that morning to pray, I thought of all those worries I was tempted to bear. I thought about this invitation from God to release my grip on them. They are good and important things that do require attention and care, but they are beyond my control. It’s best I admit that. That’s a good place to start.

So I wrote them all out one by one, writing a prayer of release for each detail. And then, I asked God to make me carefree.

I like that word-“care free.” To be free from care. Not that I stop caring what happens in our lives, but I stop being the carrier. I stop believing that without me at work, they will be forgotten and lost. I believe that the God who is stronger, wiser, bigger, and more powerful carries them for me.

That morning, a friend of mine posted 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” I took a few minutes to read that verse in other translations, and I had to laugh when I opened The Message. It reads, “Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.” 

Full of care for us. Fully able to carry all those burdens that threaten to weigh us down with worry. Whatever is calling for you to pick it up and bear it today, don’t. Live care-free. Let Him carry it.


Related posts:

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Doubting in the Darkness

Let Go and Let Him Hold You


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The Secret to 20 Years of Marriage

Gina Butz relationships 5 Comments

The secret to 20 years of marriage

photo by

20 years ago, I walked excitedly down a church aisle to my grinning man. Standing on the wooden steps, light streaming in from the high windows, we said our first yeses to one another as husband and wife.

Marriage starts with a yes. We enter in bravely saying, “Yes, I will journey this life with you,” most of us barely knowing what that will really mean.

That first yes is easy. But what is the secret to staying married for the long haul?

Marriage is a million yeses.

We say yes to doing the dishes, getting up with the kid in the middle of the night, mowing the lawn, and a thousand other tasks we would probably rather not do.

We choose to step toward reconciliation when we’ve disagreed, to forgive, to admit wrong.

Decisions are made to deny our own desires, our ways, our plans, and allow someone else’s wants and needs to trump our own.

We overlook the offense, accept the quirks, smile instead of frown at the annoying habit, knowing that the thing that bothers us will probably happen again tomorrow.

Wrinkles, receding hairlines, stretch marks, and pot bellies we accept into the story.

Walking together through the valleys and the challenges, going places we would rather not go, is a choice we make.

We commit to being in their court even if no one else is.

Naked vulnerability, physically and emotionally, becomes part of how we live.

We sign on daily to bear witness to someone else’s ordinary and extraordinary moments.

We say yes to all of this and more.

Sometimes a yes is easy.

It feels like the most natural thing in the world. We say it gladly, as though it was what we were made for.

But other days, a yes is sacrificial, so hard we feel like we deserve a medal for it (note: my husband should have oodles of medals for saying yes to me. He’s on track for sainthood).

Some days a yes asks too much humility, too much vulnerability, when our hearts are already raw. It’s tempting, in those times, to let our yeses become nos. The more we do that, the more our hearts close.

Some days we determine that our spouses don’t deserve a yes, and we’re right. So often they don’t (and neither do we).

But this is where we’re called back to the economy of the Kingdom, which says we have been overwhelmed with what we don’t deserve, and we are called to model our lives and marriages after our Savior. God says yes to us again and again, moving toward us despite our response or worthiness.

Each time we choose to move toward each other, we create a greater space for the other to rest in, a place of acceptance, grace, love, and commitment, of belonging, permanence, and rootedness. The yeses deepen our dependence on each other, claiming ground in each others’ hearts.

Each yes to our spouse is a reflection of the relentless, pursuing love of God.Twitter

This is the opportunity we have, not only in marriage, but in all relationships-to say yes when it’s hard, when we’d rather go our own way, and serve ourselves. We journey well together when we choose to give and move toward each other, holding tight, leaning on each other.

So we keep saying yes, day after day, year after year. That’s the secret to how we got here. And it’s how we’ll keep going.

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Surviving Your Child’s Senior Year

Gina Butz parenting, perspective 6 Comments

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

It’s finally here: our son is a senior in high school. This thought instills in me an equal mix of terror and grief. We have to help our son navigate all the craziness of this year to do the very thing we don’t want him to do, which is to leave us. Cue tears.

I want to do this well, though. Hopefully, we look back and say we navigated this year with grace, wisdom, and hope. We feel like we made the most of it. I’ve been pondering what that might look like, and I’ve decided on four words as our mantra:

  1. Celebrate

    Let’s begin with a hearty celebration for getting to this place. He’s come a long way from the boy who put an unpopped kernel of corn in his own ear because his sister wisely wouldn’t let him put it in hers. He has learned to navigate life in three countries, discovered life passions, learned to drive, held down a job, made deep and lasting friendships, and embraced his own walk with Jesus. This is all worth celebrating.

    But God’s goodness to him has only begun, and it is sure. The word “celebrate” leads us to a mindset of gratitude and expectancy. When we are tempted to be overwhelmed and we need prayer, begin by thanking God for what He is doing.

    And after we plant ourselves in God’s goodness, we need to:

  2. Breathe

    It is easy to look at the business of AP classes and college applications and financial aid, and run for the hills. But getting through this year will be the kind of journey that is “one day at a time,” and probably “each moment at a time.”

    So when it all feels like too much, take a deep breath and be in the moment, both to experience it fully, but also to remember that it’s all going to be ok. This breathing has already begun in our house, in earnest. I’ve grabbed my son by the shoulders and done it with him. Lots of deep breathing happening around here.

    We breathe in God’s strength, wisdom, and guidance in every second. Then breathe out the fears and uncertainty, letting His presence with us be our rock of refuge and rest. Next, we:

  3. Trust

    Easier said than done, but what a great opportunity this year will be to grow in our trust that God is greater than anything we face. The older our kids get, the greater the challenges. We could let that cause us to up the control ante, or we could release the reins altogether. Trust that even though we have to release them more and more, His grip on them is greater than ours, and never loosens.

    Isaiah 26:3 says that the perfect peace we seek for this year is found as we depend completely on the One we trust. And as our school administrator shared with us during orientation, “You feel like you’ve been dropped in the deep end of the ocean. But remember that God is the Creator of the ocean.” He will guide each step. He can be counted on to carry us.

  4. Savor

    When life feels tough, it’s tempting to rush through the stress and exhaustion to reach the finish line, but if we do that, we will miss the journey God has for us along the way.

    Instead, let’s savor every moment. Linger over meals and family times and the last ponderings of each day. Live this year fully present, putting aside our tasks to make space for just being together. Hold each minute just a little longer and recognize the gift it is. We want to slow down time, but if we can’t, at least we can relish it like the richest of fare.

If you’re with me in this boat, let me know. I’d love to hear how you hope to journey well as you launch your child. If you’ve already been through this, I welcome wisdom. If this is your future, it’s never to early to start practicing these attitudes.

Wherever are you on your journey, would you pray for me? With God’s help, we won’t just survive this year, but it will be a year when we experience Him deeply.


Related posts:

As the Ride Winds Down: Thoughts on the Last Moments of Childhood

When You Just Have to Do One Day at a Time 

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When Your Birthday (or any day) Sucks

Gina Butz expectations 5 Comments

when your birthday (or any day) sucks-learning to rejoice in spite of circumstances

photo from

Birthdays are supposed to be great. They’re supposed to be the days when all your wishes come true. But sometimes, well sometimes they just suck.

Our family took a once in a lifetime kind of vacation this summer. On one of the last days, my husband was scrolling through his Facebook feed and said, “Oh hey-it’s my birthday.”

This was news to both of us. Not the most auspicious beginning.

The morning was decent-a long walk around the insanely cool, old neighborhood where we were staying, some quiet reading time. Then we set off for London. It kind of went downhill from there.

We couldn’t find anywhere to eat. We had to keep stopping for the bathroom. Since my husband was the only one registered for the rental car, he had to do all the driving and for crying out loud that country’s not made for driving high speeds. Or two lanes at the same time. Plus, left side. And stick shift. I think we all lost years off our lives navigating those roads. Thank God for a diesel engine because where are the gas stations? Four plus hours of this.

But we had something to look forward to-seeing the new Spiderman movie at a cool old theater (can we just assume everything I’m talking about is cool and old? This includes my husband, wink). And then . . .

We couldn’t find parking, because no one actually drives in London. Or rather, they drive but seemingly never park. We finally found a space, begged a parking permit off a local, and made our way to the theater where we discovered we had shown up for a 6:30 showing that was actually at 7:30. Dejected, we headed back to our hostel, which was seemingly 4 miles away yet took us 30 minutes to drive.

So, dinner. Dinner at-say it with me-a cool, old pub. But we got a late start and most everything in the little town center near us was closed. We found a place called the Snooty Fox which sounded oh so promising. Ah, but no children under 18. They directed us to a restaurant 10 minutes away. It closed at 9. It was 8:50.

Ready to throw in the towel, we found a mini mart where two of us grabbed snacks to eat. In the end, the others got burgers and fries from a sketchy looking pizza joint. And thus ended the lame birthday.

Yep, sometimes your birthday sucks. Sometimes you have the highest expectations for the perfect day and it’s anything but. It rains on your wedding day. It’s 100 degrees at Disney World. You drive 2 hours to take beautiful beach pictures and it’s actually super windy and cold (this may or may not be a true story).

And you’d think we would be ok with that, but there’s something bred into us, woven into the great American dream that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” means things SHOULD go our way. It’s our right. Especially on our birthdays.

But the passage that came to mind for me as we tramped from place to place was Habakkuk 3:17-18, Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

There is always a “yet” when we have God.Twitter

There is always a reason to give thanks, a reason to praise. Because no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, He is still on the throne. Yet, He is good. Yet, He is faithful. Yet, He is with us.

So I try to insert our own circumstances to remind myself, “Though we missed the movie, and the pub wouldn’t let us in, though we spent half the day driving and had to eat mini mart food . . . Yet I will rejoice.” 

Because we still have something that is above and beyond all these worldly hopes. Better than a day at the beach. Better than the happiest place on earth. Better than the best birthday.

We have a life that can’t be taken away by the worst circumstances. We have hope beyond this world. We have freedom and grace. We have joy and peace.

So there’s always a “yet” we can claim. Yet He can do more. Yet He can redeem. Yet He can work. Yet we can rejoice.

The list goes one. We can choose to claim it, even on the worst days.


Related posts:

Where’s Our Hope?

Grace for the Less Than Ideal Days

Finding Home – Guest Post at The Mudroom

Gina Butz home, personal, transition 0 Comments

photo by Andrew Branch

In October of this year, our family will celebrate the fact that this home is the place where we have lived the longest together. The bar is low: our record is only four years and ten months in one location.

My husband and I started our life together in a tiny basement apartment near downtown Minneapolis. We then spent thirteen years in Asia: six homes in two countries. When we moved back to the U.S., we lived another three months with family before settling here. The idea of having a permanent, long term place is foreign to us.

But in place of permanence, my view of home has expanded.

I’m happy to be guest posting again at The Mudroom today! Hop on over there to read how I experience home now. 


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Where’s Our Hope?

Gina Butz expectations, faith, hope 0 Comments

where are you putting your hope?

Photo by Tom Ezzatkhah on Unsplash

I’ve never been an optimist. I don’t like to call myself a pessimist, though. I prefer “realist” because it sounds better. Less of a downer. I just don’t want to be disappointed. Who does? Yet all the time, in so many ways, we hope.

I hope that the light will stay green until I get through it, or there will be good BOGO deals at Publix. I hope that the kids will find something else to do so I can have time to myself, and the key lime pie from last night doesn’t show up on my hips.

Those aren’t so bad. The bar is low. It’s when I hunger for deeper things that it can get dangerous.

I hope that my husband will always be there for me. I desire deep friendships. I long for our kids to grow up to love Jesus and follow Him. I want my life to impact others in a positive way. I would love to avoid pain. I wish all my prayers would be answered in timely and satisfying ways.

That is where hope gets tricky for me, because I know the potential for disappointment is so much greater. These are unpredictable, temporal desires, out of my control. My husband travels and leaves me alone. My friends get busy. My kids have to choose their own way, and it may not be mine. I am just one person amidst a sea of voices. The path of growth often leads through suffering. God has other ways of answering my prayers.

It’s tempting to lower my expectations, play it safe, safeguard my heart.

That’s not where life is though.

So do we stop hoping? Or do we fix our hope on something more solid?

This spring and summer, I have been camped out in the Psalms. I keep coming across verses about waiting on God, hoping in Him. He doesn’t ask us to stop hoping. He just asks us to place it in a different place. We hope not in gifts, but in the Giver.

But what does that look like? For me, I’m learning that it means laying all my desire before Him, acknowledging that they are good and God-given desires.

And then I have to open my hands and release my expectations on how those desires will be met. I trust that He will satisfy me in His time and His ways. Easier said than done.

But when God is the anchor of our hope, we aren’t blown about by the winds of disappointment as easily. We believe that He sees our hearts and knows our ways, and if we don’t get what we want, there’s something better in store. We have Him to come back to, our solid place, when we are disappointed.

Without this, without Him to go back to, I could easily lose hope. But with Him, I am reminded that hope is good. Hope keeps us expectant. It keeps us looking to Him, believing in His goodness, trusting in His love. Hope keeps our hearts open.

In that light, I could be an optimist.


Related posts:

On Waiting Well

Having Hope in a New Season

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Running from God

Gina Butz dependence on God, faith, trials 2 Comments

Are you running from God?

photo by Atlas Green

“What would make you run from God?”

A pastor asked us this question one Sunday as he began a series on the person of Jonah, the poster prophet for running from God.

The pastor suggested we might be tempted to run from a calling to another country, maybe one where westerners aren’t welcome. I found myself surprised that a specific location hadn’t even crossed my mind.

No, for me it’s not “please don’t call me to that place.” My “places” are more internal. Maybe I’m not alone.

We are, at the core, self-centered people, which is the heart of the book of Jonah. God was calling him not just to a place, but to a surrender of the heart. That, maybe more than Nineveh, was the place he didn’t want to go.

So he ran toward Tarshish. Not sure what made Tarshish so appealing. Me, I run too, but in smaller, less obvious ways (because I don’t know how to get to Tarshish).

I run by staying busy, too busy to reflect on my heart, too busy to hear from God.

I run until I feel I’ve given enough, done enough, been enough.

I run from insignificance, from feeling small or forgotten.

I run from silence, where I might encounter emotions or truth I don’t want to own.

I run from being exposed to God, or more aware of my sin, is not a place I want to be.

All places where He is calling me to surrender, to let go of what I cling to that I think is life.

I want Him to call me somewhere else,  some place where I look good and successful and admirable, and I don’t have to own the mess inside.

God calls us to places of surrender in order to do a deeper work in us. For Jonah, it was a big fish for three days. I can’t say how grateful I am that God has never felt He needed to throw me in a whale to get my attention.

For me, it’s places of unanswered prayer, unexpected disappointment, unmet desire, loneliness, trials. Those are places we would rather not be, but they are the places where God can bring us to the surrender that needs to happen for us to go deeper in Christ and further in mission.

This was a good reminder for me, to ask myself whether I am willing to sit in the places where He takes me, rather than trying to scramble out to a more pleasant existence. I need to surrender to His work within me.

What about you? Are you running from Him, or are you surrendering to His work?


Lean In

Why God Won’t Just Make It Easier

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