There are few Bible personalities I really connect with. You know: Ruth was so good, and Esther was fearless and beautiful, and Mary was amazing. Paul is hard for me to get my head around, and the disciples, well, they were interesting and funny, but relatable? Well, maybe not so much.
But start talking about Jonah, and I’m right there with you. Somewhere amidst that moody, intense, prophet nature, I sense a personality at war with itself. He knew what was right, but he also knew himself. Maybe even doubted himself. And feared failure. And likely even feared success.
Yes, the fear of failure and success can live in one soul. When God told Jonah to go to Israel’s enemy and preach repentance, imagine the struggle that waged in Jonah. The compulsion to do what was right—what God was calling him to do—and Jonah’s natural struggle, disdain, and fear to follow through with it.
Who isn’t like Jonah, really? Which Christian hasn’t appealed to God for a higher purpose, for meaning, for work to do in this mortal body, only to be afraid it might be a calling we are inadequate for—like Moses fearing to speak—or a place we don’t want to go—like our friend Jonah.
I realized only recently that I’m a Jonah. I know my calling is writing. I rarely feel God’s pleasure more than when I string words together. I’ve known few greater moments of purpose than when I’m bashing out a story that has totally gripped me, and when I can help others by telling what God has led me through. To this I am called, but from this I often run.
Why? Why do we run from that which brings us the most life, be it God, His calling, or even His love? It’s a mystery never explained, but which everyone understands at a level logic can’t describe.
I know for me it’s life. There are many dynamics to life—busyness, obligations, relationships to maintain, duties to fulfill…essentially a dozen balls to juggle—that are all very, very important, needed, and loved. It’s the very stuff life is made of. It’s God-given, and thus good, worthwhile, and meaningful. But honestly, sometimes these very things become my ship.
You know, the ship I jump on to take me in the opposite direction of Nineveh. And because they are good and worthwhile and meaningful, it’s easy to throw myself into them. And many of them I should! But the only problem is, I’m all the while sailing away from my true calling.
By not prioritizing our callings, we drift until we find ourselves as far away from them as earthly possible, or until God sends a whale to get us to refocus. (Click to tweet.)
Can I just say that I don’t want to be swallowed by a whale? Who does, right? It’d be far easier to just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, be obedient, and do what God has called us to do (which, by the way, was probably the result of a prayer for God to use us.)
Ah, easier said than done, right? But nevertheless, done it must be.
All that to say, this Jonah may not be blogging for some time because I need to be writing other things, namely my manuscript and devotionals. But it’s likely I’ll resurface (hopefully not via whale transport) again in the future when God gives me direction regarding blogging.
As I grasp the oars and turn upstream, I’d love to hear from you. Are you a Jonah? Is God calling you to something you secretly fear? Has a proverbial whale ever turned you around?
(And, hey, let’s stay connected! Consider dropping me a message here at The Empty Inkwell or follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I love hearing from readers and appreciate every one of you!)
I’m a Jonah. Are you? (Click to tweet.)
New Years Resolution: no more being a Jonah. (Click to tweet.)
“The Jonah Within.” Why do we run from our callings? (Click to tweet.)