i am jonah.

If you’re like me and you grew up reading and listening to stories in the bible, you’re probably aware of the story of Jonah. And by “aware of” I mean you know that it vaguely involves a dude named Jonah and some giant fish-whale-thing that eats him for a couple days then spits him out and God is praised or whatever.

On the surface of this short, four-chapter book in the bible, that is essentially what happens. But there is so much more to the story than that.

In a bible study I’m doing with a couple friends, we recently read it in its entirety, our Sunday-school understandings notwithstanding.

For all of you who grew up understanding Jonah like I did, and for all of you who have no idea who/what Jonah is, Here’s the New Lindsay Translation of the book of Jonah in the bible:

God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that’s filled with all sorts of debauchery and horror, to tell the people there something like, “Hey! You! Stop being jerks because God is real and it’s, like, annoying!” But Jonah’s all, “No, God, not me, I don’t want to do that. That sounds scary. I’m going to run away instead.” So he goes and jumps on this boat with a bunch of people and is all, “SAYONARA SUCKAAAA” but God’s all, “Not so fast, Jonah, I’m God and I can still see you.” So God causes a huge storm to happen, and the people on the boat are like, “Dude, who pissed off their god and made this happen?” So Jonah’s like, “Oops, my bad, that was me, y’all. Just throw me overboard and the storm will stop.” So they do. And it does. So the people immediately begin to praise God. But after Jonah gets tossed overboard a huge fish is like, “NOM” and swallows Jonah. Jonah hangs out in there, not exactly knowing what God’s plan is or what he wants, but he prays and praises God anyway. Finally, God gets the fish to upchuck Jonah and so Jonah’s like, “FIIIINE GOD OKAY I’ll go to Nineveh.” So he does. And he tells the people that they should, like, rethink their life choices and stuff. And they actually hear him and listen. And they mourn. And they repent. And God forgives them and saves them. But then Jonah pouts because he doesn’t believe the people of Nineveh deserve forgiveness. But God gently tells Jonah that he knows those people and loves them and that he wants to keep them. 

After reading this story, it became clear that Jonah is actually a big brat. Also, I realized that I am Jonah. 

jonah

In recent months, my husband and I have done a lot of praying and talking about our current financial situation and the care our baby boy gets as a result. It’s lackluster, to say the least, and something had to change. Finally, after a lot of prayer and consideration, we both agreed that what was best for our family (our son, in particular, and his future siblings) is for us to move to central Florida to be closer to my family.

And I am sad about this. Very heartbroken.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and am so excited to be closer to them. But I have created a life here in the last nine years that is going to be so hard to leave behind. (My TILT list from last week probably makes more sense now.)

But here’s the crazy part — our lease is up April 30th. Neither of us have jobs lined up. If we don’t get jobs in central Florida by the time our lease is up, we’ll just move in with my mom until something materializes.

Yep. That’s right. We quit our jobs in an economy that is, um, less than stable. And we have a little mouth to feed. Everything about this just screams, “WHY IN THE F-WORD WOULD YOU DO THIS?”

I don’t know. It’s just what people with faith do, I guess.

And here’s how I’m Jonah. Without getting too spiritual, I know God is calling us to go. That is undeniable. But I don’t want to. I’d much rather scoop my husband and baby up and run away to find the nearest boat out of this place and hope God doesn’t see.

After coming to the realization that I am Jonah and, therefore, a big brat, I spent a couple days moping about it. I was mad at myself for doubting God and for throwing random tantrums whenever my husband tried to get me to have logistical conversations about our upcoming upheaval. (“I DON’T KNOW IF WE SHOULD SELL ONE OF OUR CARS TO HAVE MONEY TO MOVE OKAY WHERE’S THE BOOZE I JUST CAN’T DO THIS SOB SOB SOB.”)

Not my finest hour for sure.

But now, as the news of our departure is public, I am starting to look for the redemption in my story. Just like Jonah was redeemed.

Even though Jonah ran away, the sailors on that boat came to know God as a result. And even though Jonah went to Nineveh unwillingly, he still helped to save a nation of people.

There is a lot of hurt in this move, for sure. Hurt for us because we’re leaving, and hurt for the ones who we are leaving. But there will be light and redemption, too. Even if we don’t see it now.

I’m excited to look back on this in a few months and be able to point to all the ways we were blessed by this. I anxiously await the clarity that will come once this big-ass bandaid is finally ripped off.

But until then, sorry if I smell a little weird. I’m currently sitting in the belly of a giant fish. I don’t know when I’ll be spit out or where I’ll land. But I know that, during this time, I will praise. I will pray. I will trust.

Here’s your chance to throw all your central Florida connections at me.

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14 thoughts on “i am jonah.

  1. John and I were just talking about how eager we are to move back South to be closer to our families, and he said something to remind me for the millionth time he’s a keeper — basically, you take a job to give your kid a better quality of life, but if you take one that keeps you away from your kid’s loving grandparents, that’s not ultimately helping his quality of life, even if you prefer your 9-5. Good luck in the move!

    • one of the things we are hoping to gain from this is a way for me to be at home with dax. that is something that we both agreed long before we got pregnant that God wanted for our family. i am trusting that, with us being faithful, it will happen.

      though it’s still scary as hell.

  2. In being human I’ve done my fair share of “whining” recently about having to make choices that downright suck but are, in the end what’s best for the ones God has trusted me to care for!
    Keeping you and your family in prayers as you take this giant leap of faith! It’s never easy and when you have to worry about the well being of a little one, it makes it that much more of a challenge! I know all to well the anxiety of major life changes while adjusting to life with a new person!

  3. Hey Lindsay, I am reading your blog from all the way over in little old New Zealand! Anyway, I felt the need to comment on this post because I could totally relate to it. A year ago my husband and I decided to make the move back to our little home town from a city which we had been living in for 5 years, in which we had set up a pretty kick ass life. Firstly, because we seriously needed to get into a better place financially and secondly because we felt a small little tug from God telling us this was where he wanted us to go. We never knew why he wanted us here (that part he kindly didn’t show us!) and the past 10 months has felt like a lifetime of waiting and praying and missing our old life and our dear friends and our amazing church and wanting to just run back to our ‘old lives’ BUT we are only just now starting to see why we had to come here and it is AMAZING to watch what happens when you are faithful to go when God calls you. I am believing this for your cute little family also – that if you trust in him (and it might take a while for your new life to feel normal or for you to even feel settled or happy…) BUT he works all things together for the good of us kids who love him. Keeping trusting, keep praying, he is faithful – I know this to be true.

  4. Pingback: A “Perfect” Role Model | The Recovering Legalist

  5. Pingback: exile, ninevah, and the promised land. | fueled by diet coke

  6. Pingback: introducing nineveh. | fueled by diet coke

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