But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3

Last weekend our family enjoyed watching The Sound of Music together. In a scene I hadn’t paid much attention to before, Baroness Schraeder and Captain von Trapp are discussing why he has been spending so much time away from his beautiful countryside home. He says, “Activity suggests a life filled with purpose.” To which she replies with a question, “Could it be you’re running away from memories?” He thinks for a moment and says “Or perhaps just searching for a reason to stay.”

It wasn’t until this moment of prodding and introspection that Captain von Trapp realized he could be running from something and to something else. He recognized he could be running from memories of his late wife while also desperately trying to find a reason to stay at home with his children. Though our life story may be very different from that of Captain von Trapp, we are all running from something and to something.

Today, grab a pen and paper and fill in these blanks: I’m running to _____________. I’m running from _____________. I’m running because ______________. May this exercise be helpful as you spend a few moments getting painfully honest before God.

I’ll share mine here with trepidation, but with hope that my example will inspire you to do some honest soul-searching and confession.

I’m running to the satisfaction of perfection in my home, my relationships and myself. I’m running from fear of failure. I’m running because I believe that if I’m perfectly productive and successful I will be worthy of love and attention.

Once you’ve written your sentences down, offer up a prayer of confession: Lord, you see me and know me. You know what I’m running to and from. Show me the futility of my ways and change the direction of my heart to run toward you.

By Ellen Rosenberger

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