I had a dream the other night that I was in a car crash. A car was coming toward me, head on, and I swerved to miss it. While the front of my car made it, the back of my car was clipped, and it cause my car to flip and roll multiple times. In a panic, (I always think cars in wrecks are going to explode for some reason, thanks Hollywood) I got out of my seatbelt, and tried to wiggle myself free, out of my seat, to stand up looking through the shattered driver’s side window. The ambulance came, and I wanted to be out as fast as possible. I asked the EMT to pull me out through the window. I grabbed him and he started pulling, but the shattered glass caught my leg. I screamed and saw blood running down, and in that moment, I realized I could have just opened the car door and been lifted out after that. Then, I would have never scraped my leg and gotten the huge gash I now had.
And while I know that dream is crazy, (and I also wonder what the heck is going on in my subconscious mind), I felt this sense that it was about getting out of scary things prematurely. I so badly wanted to be out of the car, that my knee jerk reaction was to be pulled out immediately, even if it wasn’t the safest option. Had I waited, I would’ve be safer, and gotten out unharmed. I couldn’t help but think about the ways we all do this in every day life. Things may be uncomfortable, scary, or boring and we want to escape now, not later. We don’t want to go through the necessary steps to be better, to have growth, to make strides. We just want to be done with whatever we feel discouraged about, whether that be a job, a relationship, a pursuit of freedom, etc. But my question to you would be: are there necessary steps that you would be missing if you got out right now? Would that relationship heal if you pressed in or if you forgave? Would that job get better if you changed your heart toward it? Would you gain freedom if you kept pressing into your insecurities and fears?
I remember a few months after I met Clint, we had a Young Life leader meeting, and we had to pray for each other, and tell each other what we felt like God was saying to them. I’ll never forget what Clint said to me. “I feel like God is showing me a picture of a caterpillar in a cocoon. And you so desperately want to get out and be a butterfly already, but He saying that this time is needed for you to grow and be ready to emerge when the time is right. If you get out too early, you will forfeit the full potential this time could have”. Now when he said that, it was during a time when he probably, more than anything, wanted me to be ready for my next phase, and to be out of my current season. I had just recently told him I couldn’t date him because I wanted to see another relationship through. So more than anyone in the room, the last thing I expected him to say was “take your time, don’t get out too early.” It felt so genuine and heartfelt that he really deeply cared for me, regardless if he ended up being the guy that I married or not. For the record, I couldn’t be more thankful that it was him and that he gave me the space to figure that out.
My point is, we need to be ok with things taking a little longer than we’d like, or sticking around to see things through to get full wholeness and peace. The process of healing and reconciliation in my life has gone much slower than I’d like it to, and I’m sure you would say the same thing. There are relationships in my life that I feel discouraged in, wondering if they will ever fully heal to an amazing level of intimacy and trust. But if I give up now, if I turn and walk away early, I’m forfeiting the potential greatness that could come. Just as importantly, we need people walking along side us, like Clint did with me, to encourage us to press in, to walk in faith that things can get better with God all the time. This is also one of those things that you need to prayerfully consider. Many people stay in unhealthy situations long after they’ve known it’s time to move on (I’m also guilty of that). Don’t stay in abusive or manipulative situations. Don’t stay in situations that are bad for your emotional, spiritual, or physical health. But do stay in the fight for freedom, health, reconciliation, peace, and love when the cost may only be temporary discomfort, time, grace, and patience.