When Staying Home was Better Than Going to New Zealand

New Zealand. The majestic peaks and expansive fjords have called to me for years. Visiting and seeing all that grandeur has been a dream of mine.

I was restless in my job, feeling like I had been doing the same projects over and over. I wanted a change. The reality of those days for me was I was struggling with depression and anxiety, and I thought a new adventure would help pull me out. So I applied for a sort of work transfer to go help a ministry down in “Mordor.” During the application and interview process I was very honest about where I was at emotionally, and in the end my organization thought it was too risky to let me go overseas in such a fragile state of soul.

It was a crushing moment, especially as I had sold most everything I had and stashed all my possessions into a 6 x 6 sq/ft. section of a friend’s garage. I was all in for going, and was informed I couldn’t go. I cried. How could I not? I had put all my eggs into that basket and the basket fell breaking all the eggs. Almost immediately a verse from the Bible came to mind from 2 Corinthians 4, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair…” It was perplexing why when I had prayed and asked God for His clear leading, that He said, “No!” In essence, I felt like He said “stay here and heal.” 

On one hand it was crushing, on the other hand it was relieving. An odd sensation. Relieving because it was just as anxiety producing thinking about leaving friends and close community. So I wasn’t in despair, knowing I could remain in a place that is, well, probably a little less amazing, but no less picturesque. Many nights I walked to the end of this pier in San Clemente, CA. Too many occasions to count I was treated to sunsets like this. I was equally afraid to leave this paradise to go to another paradise. But I was willing to leave.

On this occasion, staying home in San Clemente was better than going to an obvious escape. I thought the change would be part of the healing, but no, staying put was in God’s perfect plan. Sometimes we think running away will solve the problems, but it never does. It is just a temporary distraction. So next time you are tempted to run consider this thought. Maybe staying put, reminding yourself of some of the beautiful things at home, and asking yourself the right kinds of questions might actually do more good. I made it through by talking with patient friends often and enjoying the sunsets as reminders of God’s goodness in the midst of my difficulties. I hope you can too.

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