I snuck out of the house this morning.
It was decidedly less dramatic than those sneak outs of my youth, when I would dress all in black and climb out a window, usually to be interrupted by my father who would causally walk in and say, “You know, the front door is open.”
It’s surprising, sometimes, how trapped a person can feel inside her own home.
Or very skin.
And in the “just do it” culture where I live, when the going gets tough, the tough get going… to somewhere decidedly less difficult.
That was definitely an appeal to go on the World Race, and it’s no small factor in my deep desire to go to Africa.
So this morning, I snuck out the front door.
The last week got a little bit crazy.
I went from busy to having my feet pulled out from underneath me in a riptide of chaos, dragged and tossed about by a myriad of demands and unmet expectations, sucked under water so deep I didn’t know when I’d next come up for air.
And then, just as suddenly as it began, the riptide deposited me on an island of dark circled eyes and 700 unread emails. I was alive, but barely, and with the last of the strength I had left, I came home and collapsed in my bed, to be awoken the following morning by the voice of my grandmother, telling my sister about all of the allegedly horrible things I had done (none of which were accurate).
I slipped on my sneakers, quietly packed my bag with the laptop that follows me everywhere and some books that explain the chemical workings of our bodies’ cells, and left. No words, no kiss on the forehead, no explanation of where I was going or when I was coming back.
The going got tough, and for a moment, I didn’t know if I was any longer worthy to be counted among the brave.
Last night, a dear friend asked a question that I’ve heard many times:
“Natalie, are you trying to do too much?”
Maybe I am.
Maybe this riptide life I’m living is more than any one person can handle. I want to go to school because I want to be a nurse, but if I take out loans then I’m trapped to a job for years when I graduate, and I have Africa tattooed on my heart. I want to hang out with teenage girls because I want them to know about the risen Son of God, and I truly believe that we are called to look out for the generation below us. As in, I am personally responsible for my role in the lives of 5 very specific teenage girls. I want to be able to spend the night at my grandma’s house so she doesn’t get scared, because she’s old, widowed, and starting to lose touch with reality. In the middle of the homework and the jobs and the nights spent in preparation of a Bible study, sometimes I like to, you know, hang out with people my own age.
And just like that, my schedule is overflowing, the waters rising higher, some days, than I think I can handle.
It’s into these moments where I have to remember:
I don’t have to worry, I just have to be faithful.
Is that easy when the old ladies rant and the professors scream? Or when the emails pour like a flood from heaven, demanding immediate attention? Is it easy when the phone rings in the middle of the night, a quiet voice on the other end pleading for help?
The God who created the whole world knows it all before it happens, and He is my help and my portion forever.
As the great Gerard Forde said,
“There is nothing you can do now but, as the words of the old hymn have it, “climb Calvary’s mournful mountain” and stand with your helpless arms at your side and tremble before “that miracle of time, God’s own sacrifice complete! It is finished; hear him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die!””
The very same power that rose Christ from the grave is alive and active and working in me (Romans 8:11). Come riptide or high waters, come scorching sun and desert heat.
My Jesus saves and my God sustains.
I am free, now, to live.