Hello, My Name Was Gomer.
(*Originally posted May 2019)
Some run marathons. Some run relays. Some may run sprints. Not me, though.
I run away.
In fact, we all do. That's who we are. It's all part of our glorious rebellious, fearful nature. Sometimes running away gets just as exhausting as actually physically running. Not that I would know. If I start running, there's either a cinnamon roll in front of me or a killer bear behind me.
Who and what are we running from? I think this idea of our cowardice can be beautifully represented in the person of Gomer. She's not the most famous woman in the Bible, but she's one of my favorites. It's crazy how these people who lived thousands of years ago can relate so well to my millennial, modern self. I guess it's not that crazy, it's God.
Who is Gomer? In short, Gomer was a "woman of whoredom" which is just a fancy way of saying she got around. And she wasn't sorry about it. She was pursued by and married to a man named Hosea who was commanded to marry her. Strange choice in a wife, not exactly a girl you'd want to bring home. And not exactly a girl who wants to stay home. She had a wandering eye for men, and she left to pursue her desires. But Hosea didn't quit. He pursued her and bought her out of slavery to be his again.
I know we don't know what was going on inside Gomer's head, the writings only give us so much. But, I know Gomers. I've been a Gomer. I've run away from something incredibly good and sweet to cling to the very thing that cripples me. And I was always motivated by fear.
In The Next Right Thing, by Emily P. Freeman, she talks of a decision she had to make that she thought about for weeks. A decision that was a wonderful opportunity. She listed a ton of logical reasons for her to say no, but the real motivation behind her hesitation had nothing to do with any of those reasons. When she finally sought counsel about this decision the words she heard were, "There are a lot of reasons to say no to this, but please don't let fear be one of them." Dang, he got her. Fear was the exact reason for her hesitation. She had a realization that her fear was controlling her, blinding her from making a logic-based decision. She eventually said yes, not letting that fear take over her.
I'm afraid of rejection. Afraid of being worthless. Afraid that I'll never be good enough to please those I yearn to please. For a long time I held onto those fears and ran away from the gentle truth that God was whispering in my ear. "You are mine, whom I have earnestly pursued. Let go of your crutch, and let my hand be your steady guide." I didn't believe those words even though God had never given me a reason not to. I finally realized that for those words to become my comfort, I had to name my fears. I told them what they were, and let them know that while they may exist, they no longer have power over the way I live. They are no longer my motivation.
If you're running, clinging on to the lies that your fears are telling you, you're not alone. Those fears will always slow you down, they'll always inhibit you instead of helping you. God is faithfully pursuing you, even when you're running towards lies your fears tell about Him. Stop running my friend. Name those fears. And give them no power. For you are His whom He has earnestly pursued.
I want to end with this prayer found in the book, Uninvited, by Lysa TerKeurst:
"Lord, I release my grip on all the things I was holding on to, preventing me from returning to your passionate embrace. I want nothing to hold me but you.
So with breathless wonder, I give you all of my faith, all of my hope, and all of my love.
I picture myself carrying the old torn-out boards that inadequately propped me up and place them in a pile. This pile contains other things I can remove from me now that my new intimacy-based identity is established.
I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do.
I lay down my fears about others I love walking away.
I lay down my desire to prove my worth.
I lay down my resistance to fully trust your thoughts, your ways, and your plans, Oh Lord.
I lay down my anger, unforgiveness , and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense a hint of rejection.
I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that your Holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes.
And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me."