But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish.
He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.
After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
I was the good girl, the one who followed her parents' rules, the one who never got into trouble. My sister and cousin consistently called me "square." (Don't think I haven't forgotten, girls. You forever scarred my psyche!) I didn't let them deter me from doing what I knew to be right, but it did smart a little. Being good wasn't good enough. Being good was the right thing, but being good was (dare I say it?) boring.
Nobody pays attention to the good kid. She does what she's expected to do. There's no drama, no excitement there. I wanted to be bad, just once, to shock everybody around me, to show people this good girl had some spunk. But when the urge hit, I'd ignore it every time. I didn't want to live with the guilt of doing something I knew I shouldn't. Don't be impressed. I was just chicken.
Until one night in college I found myself particularly vulnerable. I was lovesick and my dear boyfriend was traveling across the country, without a stop near Nebraska for months. I wasn't planning on going to the party after the Homecoming game, but some friends convinced me it would be good to get out. I sat among a bunch of happy people, yet felt very alone and sad, not joining the festivities, only staring at two punch bowls marked "yes, it is" and "no, it isn't."
And because I was melancholy, because I was sick of doing the right thing, because the person who knew me best was in who knows what church that night singing for God, leaving me there to fend for myself, I decided to "live a little" and bellied up to the "yes, it is" punch bowl, the yes, it is SPIKED punch bowl. All night. I always did what God asked and where had it gotten me? Everyone got to slip up. Why couldn't I? And who would even care?
I did some pretty stupid things that night. After the "yes, it is" punch was gone, I started mixing my own. I went cruising with guys I didn't know (Thank the Lord for good friends who were looking out for me. I owe you BIG TIME!). I used words I never utter and embarrassed myself so much I didn't want to leave my apartment the next day. But my belly of the fish moment came when I lifted the glass to my lips for the zillionth time that night and saw a friend over the rim. She was a year younger than me and had been through a tough time herself. She talked to me often. I knew she looked up to me and respected my opinion, but when our eyes met that night, all I saw was confusion. She said nothing, but her body language screamed, "What are you doing?!"
In one fell swoop, I lost my credibility, my respectability, and my dependability, qualities which took years to develop. Stupid.
I'm back to being a good girl according to most people's standards (if you don't count the Ozarks--ha!). I learned the hard way not to flee from God, not even for one night. His ways may be demanding and tough, but they are for our protection. Always. There's no taking breaks from Him, unless you want to roll around in the muck for a while. We can flee, but He'll find us every time.
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