I was sitting at work one day this week providing training to a new hire and going over our store Active Shooter Plan. The fact that we live in a world where I even have to discuss a plan for this hurts my heart, but I also know that good preparation gives us the best chance at success, or in this case, survival. I wasn’t even halfway through the training when I realized that it wasn’t just a training for a store action plan, but a training for our hearts as we navigate a changing world and our own changing lives.
Some people really love change. And I don’t just mean the kind of change where you rearrange the living room furniture monthly or swap out your hair color on a whim. I mean the kind of change where they never feel settled in the right now, and are always looking for the next thing.
While there are moments where the new feels refreshing, I’m not the person who needs change just for the sake of change. I am a faithful friend, a loyal partner, and about as consistent in life as they come. My couch is in the same place it was when I moved into our home two years ago and many of my friends have been around so long that I don’t remember life without them. I like that life. It’s comforting to live in the constant, loyal places. But I also recognize when Jesus is tugging at my heart and asking me to lean into something new.
And that is where I find myself today. Change isn’t knocking on my door and asking me for a complete life overhaul, but it is asking me to be open to Jesus’ leading and to make room for His artwork to grace the canvas of my heart.
As I’ve allowed these changes in my heart to take root, it seems like everything takes on new meaning. The quarantine life asks us to slow down and find value in the things we once hurried through. To choose what matters and invest our time there. To let fear take a back seat and press on in His calling, even if it looks different than we thought it would.
In an active shooter situation there are three choices. Run, hide, or fight. And ever since I gave that training this week I’ve been thinking about how we have the same choices to make when Jesus beckons our hearts to move into something new.
I’m not a runner, both physically (please don’t ask me to run with you!) or emotionally, but I don’t always feel like pressing on. There are days, when I let the weight of life make a heavy home on my weary heart. It’s on those days that I want to get in the car and drive until I hit either an ocean or a mountainside. I really dislike the idea of being a quitter and hopping in the car on a whim to escape life kind of falls somewhere in that camp for me.
But there’s something about being in the middle of God’s creation, away from the pressure of life, that makes it easy for me to imagine Him meeting me there. And that isn’t at all quitting. I’m not running from something. I’m running to Someone. I’m running right into a life led by Him. And goodness, I’m ready. I’m ready to live all my days in His house.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house
of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
It can be easy to hide the things we don’t want people to see when they look under the covers of our life. We justify the hidden places by telling ourselves that people don’t really want to know the truth. If they did, maybe they wouldn’t stay. Maybe they wouldn’t like us. And maybe they won’t love us either. So we tuck the hard things away and put on a facade for the “greater good”, but it isn’t good at all. There truly is freedom found in the truth. In letting people in to who you really are and not hiding behind a wall of things you’re not proud to call your own.
If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know I love honest relationships. I am open about my failures, successes, and everything in between when I share my life with you and I want the same in return. That doesn’t mean I share with just anyone who will listen, though.
Truth on display, not for just anyone to sit in the hidden places of your heart with you, but truth spoken to the right friends at the right times. Be honest about where you are. Lean in to the truth that rests safely in the arms of an honest God who asks us to be like Him! Let the honesty become your anthem and once you find the freedom there, let Him lift you from the hidden places.
For He will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me under
the cover of his tent;
He will lift me high upon a rock.
Sometimes I think we do the hard work of being honest and vulnerable and then forget to stay in the fight for whatever it is God has called us to do. There’s a reason why the choice to fight falls at the end of the active shooter training. It’s a choice that leads to a permanent outcome. Once you decide to fight, you cannot give up until the battle is won. There’s no half–way. Your life is at stake!
What if we looked at the life God called us to live in this way? What if the right–now thing He is asking you to do is for you to stay in the fight for freedom, to follow His leading even if the road ahead is blurred, to not allow fear to win? There is not a moment in this kind of fight where you can get lazy, take a break, or stop. But you won’t be in the fight alone.
You can trust that the things He brings into your life are worth the fight. Worth the wait.
He who calls you is faithful. He is present. And the reward is His goodness.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart
take courage; wait for the Lord!
When change comes knocking. Answer the door and then choose to…
RUN. Not from your problems, but to the One who already has the answers and is waiting to meet with you in the quiet places.
HIDE. Not from the things of your past, but in the arms of the One who knows the secret places of your heart and invites you into His.
FIGHT. Not against the truth, but for it. And don’t stop until you see His goodness win.