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The urge to leave

Hammock 2 c815ea65
I wrote about coping with loss yesterday. No one likes losing (unless it's weight), but loss does have an upside. Once you've lost something, it doesn't have the grip on you it had. So in a way, your freedom has increased. People frequently email me describing the crossroads they are…
By Seth Barnes

Hammock 2I wrote about coping with loss yesterday. No one likes losing (unless it's weight), but loss does have an upside. Once you've lost something, it doesn't have the grip on you it had. So in a way, your freedom has increased.

People frequently email me describing the crossroads they are at as they consider the tradeoff between this freedom and the loss they'll experience. Leave a relationship? Leave a town you've called home? Leave the things that have defined you that seem tired and shopworn?

The urge to leave can be God whispering to you, "Get out of this place, it's bad for your soul." Or it may be God saying, "There's a better place for you out there – go discover it."

Or, it may be your own brokenness crying out for relief in a place where commitment and endurance are needed.

Given that commitment issues seem to be standard equipment for a lot of young people, the default response by some boomers to their children is often "Hey, just stick it out." As a young person, how do you tell the difference?

I recommend asking a few diagnostic questions that may help:

  • Have you made a commitment that you know you need to keep?
  • Are you in a rut that leaves you regularly feeling discouraged?
  • Are you feeling called to something that will require you to leave?
  • Are you in a season of life that is hard and requires perseverance?

These days many young people have fewer options than in the past. They find themselves stuck in places that dumb them down. Places that have more to do with survival than with fulfiling their life call. "Is life as a barista really my destiny?" You may be asking.

If you're a 20-something who is feeling stuck, if your grip on identity is uncertain, if you've never wrestled with foundational kingdom issues, you need to consider that the restlessness you feel may be God whispering to you. And he may be whispering this, "My child, you are so much more than the world knows. You are an undiscovered treasure. The rut you're in does not need to define you."

In America, we have the luxury of prioritizing fundamental identity issues before we prioritize basic survival needs. We can always stay for a while at a friend's house. There is food and comfort there. In America we have a basic social safety net protecting us if we fall – no one starves like they do in other countries. The penalties for failure are so small in comparison for the penalties of staying in a rut that you know you weren't made for.

We need to understand the freedoms we have and listen to the urge to leave. It may well be God whispering, "there's more."

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