Sometimes, I get hit with the travel bug, simply watching airplanes fly by and wishing I was going somewhere.
Anywhere but here, I think.
I become discontent with where I am, not valuing the community God has placed me in.
Wishing for more.
Frustrated, I challenge God over the need to stay here.
I argue with God over the logical nature of putting in roots, desiring to be a wanderer, not a stationary figure.
God challenges me back.
What is so wrong with staying put for the time being? What is wrong with putting down roots and allowing people to know you? Truly know the Sara I created you to be.
When life has been a variety of hellos and goodbyes, I become use to the ideas of moving on.
I settled into to the idea of creating space for new adventures and possibilities, as my spiritual formation has been shaped by lush green springs, the grey, rainy days, the vast deserts in Africa, the blue-green oceans in Haiti and the magnificent mountains in Montana.
God has met me in so many places in the reality of my nomadic past.
Recently, the idea of a theology of place has challenged my nomadic desires of traveling the world.
Staying is even more terrifying than going.
It means knuckling down and doing the nitty-gritty acts of life with a community. It means sharing more than a piece of your story with the people you end up doing life with. It means daring to be known as the incredible imperfect mosaic of heartache and blessings that I am. It means unfurling my clenched hands and accepting myself. It means bravely deciding to stay put, when my heart knows it would be easier to go—to leave all I know for the unknown.
“Staying put and daring to be known, engaging in life with people just as imperfect and weird as me, staying through the seasons as they come and go is changing me to be more like the Jesus I love so wildly. It’s a different kind of fearlessness, the fearlessness of engaging in community—slowly and steadily and wholeheartedly. Real, hard conversations usually only come after a lot of surface conversations”.
Staying put requires a fearlessness that says “I value this community more than I desire to be comfortable”. It says, “I choose you. I choose to be invested where I am instead of actively pursuing the need to be anywhere but here”. Staying allows us to embody the Gospel in our conversations, prayers in the living room, watching families grow, of friendship deepened by doing life together, and of choosing to invest in people’s lives.
Staying allows us to take off our masks and grow closer to God as we pursue the people who love us the most.
Getting to this place of accepting the importance of staying challenged me to change my attitude as I bravely decide that choosing to stay was more important than my desire to flee.
When life gets challenging or difficult, my impulse is to flee.
God continually reminds me that sometimes the greatest things happen when I allow the radical act of staying to shape my soul.
There is incredible freedom in allowing the holy work of staying to remind me that I need people and community to be a successful human being.
People who will ask me the hard questions and truly listen to my trials and victories.
The beauty in choosing to stay put is that I continually find Jesus reminding me that He will be my strength when the staying gets tough and the impulse to run is driving my emotions.
Sometimes, the act of staying is just as important as the act of going into the world.
One thought on “Theology of Place.”
This is so excellent, Sara. I needed to read this today (7/30/21) so I thank you for sharing it. You have such great insights! Hugs & blessings from Virginia
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