When Longing Becomes a Distraction

In case you’ve missed it the other 586 times I’ve mentioned it in the past two years…I miss Asheville, NC something fierce.

Leaving our home in PA…the only place we’d ever lived…and heading to NC was terrifying. I fought it like nothing else. But, we felt called and every single door I hoped would slam shut swung wide open. It was with good reason. We grew in our faith, we grew as a family, we learned, we made forever friendships we could have never imagined and we adventured (seriously. There are very few trails that we didn’t venture out on in our time there). It was gorgeous. We felt as though we were surrounded by some of the best nature scenes and views God could have put together and felt blessed every second of every day to get to live there.

But, we knew it was never meant to be our forever home. When the job signs aligned, family needs became clear and doors back in PA started to open back up, we knew it was time to head back. So, we did. And truthfully, God blessed that journey as well.

In the past two years, he’s made it abundantly clear that we are where we are meant to be. We’ve found a church family that has challenged us, come alongside us during a difficult pregnancy and has helped us grow. We’re in our dream neighborhood through circumstances that only God could have aligned, where we are surrounded by kids our kids’ ages, and families that have become friends. Our families are here; our kids can get to know their aunts, uncles and cousins again. There’s no doubt that this is to be our home right now.

That doesn’t take away the longing though. Which, when I’m honest with myself, has become a hindrance.

Instead of waking up most mornings, looking at the beautiful surroundings we have here and appreciating them for what they are. I look out and wish I was looking at the mountains in our NC backyard. Instead of looking for adventure here, I miss the hiking trails there. Instead of taking in the beauty of Pennsylvania’s winter and snow, I disdainfully think of the storms that would come in NC, then melt by afternoon, followed by days of light jacket weather. Instead of focusing on here and now blessings, I started to turn NC into an ideal that is impossible to match everywhere else.

And it’s not okay.

In fact, I think it’s a targeted distraction that I’ve let get in the way of what we’re called to here, the missional living that we learned so much of and lived out in Asheville. Coincidence? I don’t think so. My longing for what’s “better” has become a wall in living out our calling that we feel so fiercely.

I don’t think I’m alone. I think that we are programmed to “miss” things, to build attachments and to search for what WE think is “better.” But, when we let this get in the way, we miss what God tells us is better. We start to rely on our own understanding instead of his. And, if we’re honest, we become bitter toward God’s plan…our hearts get hard. This makes us unable to be useful; guys…this is scary stuff!

So. I’ve started working on it, or, better yet, I’ve asked God to work on it on my behalf. I’ve put Asheville in a compartment. One that I can think about and appreciate, then put away to focus on what’s here and now. One that I can go back to visit, but not one that can be home right now. There are still tears; I’m human, this is natural. But, I’m not letting it block my view and purpose in the here and now. I think that awareness is the first step toward change and I’m trying to live it out and lay it down every single day.

Has anything been nagging you lately? A thought you can’t squash? A longing for something that you know just can’t be right now? Is it blocking your relationship with God? Have you laid it before him and asked for heart change?

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