Staying When It's Hard...

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What happens when you stay when it gets hard?

That's when you grow up.

I don't know how much you know about Benedictine Monks. I, admittedly, don't know a ton. But something interesting about the Benedictine Monks is that they take an additional vow that other monks do not take.

The Vow of Stability.

Essentially, other religious orders have a number of houses or monasteries around the world in which members will divide their time across the span of their lives. The Benedictine monk, however, remains in the same monastery for life. This vow precludes the monk from leaving his particular monastery when life gets hard or, worse, boring.

I think there is much to be said for this vow, especially in our current culture of always looking over our shoulder for the next best thing. Commitments are hard... because what if something better comes up? Kids can feel burdensome because they are a commitment in all ways possible. Even marriage has become sort of a "step up" from dating. If things get too hard, if things get too boring, if you've "lost that loving feeling", you can always leave. "Conscious uncoupling", thanks Gwyneth Paltrow, is a justifiable option for the young (or not so young) and bored (or dissatisfied). 

But, each time we commit to stay. Each time we remind ourselves that, yes, staying is hard but, yes, staying is worth it, we grow our muscles of stability a little more. We gain confidence in our ability to keep staying. To keep fighting for glorious in the mundane. 

On the vow of stability's purpose, St. Mary's Monastery says, "It is a commitment of love to the community for God’s sake, to be of service to the brothers who God has brought together in a particular place to perform his work."

What if we vowed to commit to love for God's sake? In our church families, in our marriages, in our friendships. God brought these relationships together in a particular place for his glory. And, we don't only grow ourselves when we stay, the relationship grows. 

So (obviously I am not including situations where someone is in harm... please know that), let's be a people who vow to stay. And not just stay physically... but stay wholeheartedly. For God's sake, to be of service to the people who God has brought together in a particular place to perform his work.

This isn't easy. Staying can be one of the hardest things we do. But, you know who runs? Immature people. Scared people. And I don't want to stay immature and afraid. I want to strengthen my staying muscles. I want to grow in wisdom and community and love.

So, what is the scariest thing about staying for you?


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