Is It Time to Walk Away?

A friend of mine decades ago was flabbergasted, to say the least, as he relayed to me how he had seen me on a sidewalk in New York City with the tall, dark, and explosive man I was dating as the man bent over me with such extreme rage that it looked as though he was moments, and inches, away from hitting me. The friend couldn’t understand how I would stay right there as the man hacked away at me with his verbal venom, let alone how I could stay in such a relationship. I did not know the Lord, and I knew no better. Years later, as I stood in my front yard with a tall, dark, and explosive man doing exactly the same thing, I knew the Lord. I knew better. And when the Lord whispered into my heart, “Walk away,” I remained. I would not walk away. And no matter how many times the scene played again and again, I did the exact same thing again and again. The Lord told me to walk away. And I stayed. I was never beaten with fists, thank God, but the verbal pummeling, the demonic rage, the seething words that beat away at my heart, they took their toll. And still, still I refused to walk away.

Years later now, I know the Lord. I know when He tells me to walk away, whether from an unhealthy relationship, the wrong situation, somewhere He does not want me to be, someone He does not want me to stick around, someone He wants me to let go for a season or permanently. I know better now what situations to get into, and which ones to avoid. But still, I find myself over and again in various situations and relationships with people, for whatever reason the Lord may have, hearing the words whispered into my heart. “Walk away.” And the truth is that I have never been good at walking away. I have never had an easy time letting go. Perhaps it’s because I have so much rejection and abandonment and brokenness in my past. Perhaps it’s because I have such an extreme sense of responsibility when it comes to being there for others, helping others. The reason really doesn’t matter. What matters is this.

No longer am I the young, lost and broken woman standing on a sidewalk of New York City in a relationship I should never have been in unable to hear the Lord speak to me because I did not know the Lord at all. Nor am I the woman years later who had come to know the Lord but stubbornly, rebelliously, fearfully, refused to do what I was being told. I have come too far in my walk with the Lord to pretend I don’t hear His voice when I do, or to dig my heels into the ground and refuse to walk when He tells me to. I have come a long way in learning to walk away, but I am not as far as I would like to go with this. Because now that I know the Lord, and now that I can hear Him tell me to walk away, and now that most of the time I am willing to do just that, sometimes my physical body walks away while my mind stays back in the place I was told to leave – worrying about what the other person thinks, wondering what it would have been like if I had remained, wishing I could try it again, telling God how frustrated I am, something, in some way, to reveal that I’m still not where I need to go.

Ideally, I would like to get to the point in which I not only know how to walk away, and that I do walk away, but that I so trust God’s voice, that I have heard His voice and have obeyed, that I do not need for even a moment’s time need to question anything about the decision I have made and the action I have taken. When God says walk away, I would like to be able to simply pick up my feet and get moving – and take my mind and heart with me.

When God gave me the name Walk by Faith Ministry, little did I know how much my faith would be tried along the way. Nor did I have any idea how much walking I would be called to do. But I suppose walking goes with the territory of following Jesus, eh? If I plan to keep following Him, I need to keep walking. Now that I think about it, when the Lord whispers into my heart to walk away, He’s not just calling me to walk away from some person, place, or thing. He’s calling me to walk forward, step by step, by faith, after the one who leads me in His ways everlasting!

If you believe the Lord is calling you to walk away from a person, place, or thing, listen and obey. Dig into the Bible for confirmation. The Lord will never say anything that goes against His Word. And seek counsel if necessary from people strongly grounded in the Word of God to help you discern His voice. If it is the Lord calling you to walk away, remember to walk in His strength. If He is calling you to walk, He will give you the strength to do just that. Listen, and obey. 

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

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