It's so easy to get overwhelmed with circumstances, situations, and people. It's so easy to want to escape, rather than face a certain issue. It's definitely not fun, though, and it ends up being harder. The past few months have been really weird for me. The past few weeks have been even crazier. It's been a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. I'll feel really close to God and so aware of his goodness and then something will happen and I feel so distant, not necessarily from God, but from people. I was confused as to how I could feel so passionate about God, feel closer to Him than I have in a long time, hang out with some of the most godly, encouraging people I know, and not be able to fully embrace this wonderful life God has blessed me with. I don't want to get into the details of why I was feeling this way (since this is a public blog) but it was controlling my life (my sleep was all off schedule, too, because I would be up very late, unable to get my mind to settle down, then I would end up sleeping in.) I was thinking way too much about certain relationships (and I don't just mean romantic kinds) and wishing things were different.
That's when I began escaping. No, I didn't go into isolation, locking myself in my room and shut myself down. I didn't avoid people. For me, my escape was the gym. Now, I know you're thinking, "Haha, good one! You? Escaping to the gym? Yeah, right. " It was true though, and I didn't even realize it. The gym was the place I not only could go, but had to go (summer class), so it was easy. When I needed a break, I could go to the gym. I didn't get told no, because my parents knew I had to go a certain amount of times per week for credit. I could go alone (yet still be with people), stick earphones in my ears, and try to distract myself from everything. The gym allowed me to focus on what needed to get done. I could count the minutes, I could take my heart rate, I could count repetitions on the weight machines.
The thing is, I didn't really view it as an escape, and I think that's where it got dangerous. I was able to temporarily escape problems, but it didn't make them go away, and the longer I carried them, the harder it got. Finally, this past Thursday, the last day of my class, God completely showed me what I was doing. I was shocked. I was totally blind (or in complete denial) to my escaping. But I also realized in all my attempts to escape, God was pursuing me in love. When I put those earphones in and turned the ipod on shuffle, he knew just what songs would bring me comfort and conviction. It has been awesome to look back over the last few weeks and see that God was close by the entire time. Even when I was trying to get away from my problems, he was like, "You know, you can stick those things in your ears, but I'm going to give you the perfect song. You can try to escape your problems, but you can never escape my love."
Today, I am feeling so free. It's amazing the difference. I plan on still going to the gym because I really enjoy it (shocking, I know. I can't even believe I am saying that and meaning it), but I don't plan on using it to escape my problems. Sure, I'll still focus on whatever I'm doing, and I'll still put those earphones in my ears, but it won't be to escape!
I encourage you to seek God and examine your life and ask if there are any ways you are escaping without really giving much thought to it. It could be in "good" things, too. The gym is definitely beneficial, but apparently one of my motives was wrong. Maybe for you it's cleaning, cooking, sleeping, shopping, or reading. Obviously none of these are "bad" things, but if you're using them to escape problems, they can get dangerous.