I’ve been rather nomadic during my adult years. Four years in Pennsylvania for undergrad, six months in France for study abroad, one year in Dallas for one grad program, five months in Georgia for an internship for another grad program. In between those times, I’ve found myself back at home base, usually living life and kinda unexpectedly coming up with the next moves.
I usually make a big deal about going places. I have no problem telling people when I’m leaving; it’s the coming back that always trips me up. I try to lay low when I come back and give myself time to get readjusted. Maybe I lay too low; someone saw me at a funeral a few weeks ago and asked me if I’m still living in Texas. I moved back to Maryland from Texas in June 2012.
So I don’t share this lightly.
(December 2011 in Dallas, TX. Christmas decorations at the place I worked at (not my doing). Yes, that’s a nativity scene being towered over by a John Wayne statuette. I dubbed this masterpiece “Jesus and John Wayne”. How much more Texas can one get?!)
When I went to Georgia in January, I knew that I had a number of possibilities ahead of me. I figured that if I really liked my practicum and if I did a good enough job that I would be asked to stay for my internship. That would be perfect because the biggest hurdle, I thought, would be housing and that was taken care of. I was not familiar with Macon but Atlanta wasn’t too far away and I knew enough family and friends down there that if I decided to just stay down there after the practicum and internship that I could plant myself in a place I had grown fond of with the benefit of having an already established community. Good plans, eh?
The practicum went extremely well. My supervisor and I had a great working relationship and I enjoyed working with most of my colleagues. I grew much and learned much more so when I was offered the opportunity to do my internship there, I was excited and relieved. Whew! Now at least I don’t have to worry about going through the hassle to find an internship.
(May 2015 in Macon, GA)
That all changed with one revelation. I knew that I could not go back to Georgia, at least not right now. I agonized over this decision because it seemed so stupid to let go of a sure thing (and a place where they really liked me!) and taking the safest route is kinda my thing. It just did not set well with me, among a couple of other things I needed to take into consideration.
I shared my decision with my parents and a few close friends. The predictable questions started rolling in and I began to feel even more pressure and began to wonder what in the world I was doing. As soon as I made the call to notify the appropriate people of my decision, a couple of opportunities opened up immediately.
The way I generally have operated is that an open door is the one to walk through. In this season of my life, I have shied back from that philosophy to really look at the opportunities. I have been compelled to say no to certain opportunities that I KNOW six months ago I would have jumped at because “I just needed something.” I’ve stayed in jobs that didn’t utilize even 5% of my expertise and potential because “I need something to pay my bills”. I have gotten comfortable in those situations and others have gotten comfortable seeing me in those situations.
That’s not how I want to live my life. It’s freeing when you wake up one day and realize how you’ve been selling yourself short and you get mad enough to do something about it. You realize that you’ve settled for situations, circumstances, jobs, opportunities, etc that are beneath your level of expertise, passion, and education. You’ve settled into good enough, always convincing yourself that better will come after this happens or after that occurs. Only…the cycle never ends. And later you’ll look back on your life with a bunch of good experiences knowing that you were capable of better, facing the grave unfulfilled. May that never be me.
(February 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland in front of Jet D’Eau)
Sometimes Most times reaching for better will leave you in a bit of a rough spot – mentally, physically, emotionally, financially. I don’t know anyone who stepped out on faith and didn’t have moments where it was shaky or where they didn’t consider going back to the good life. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it is this – my dreams have become more vivid as life has happened. The more rejections I get, the bolder I am with what I know I can accomplish (even through tear-stained eyes and mascara stains on shirts).
All around me, people are making these kinds of decisions and it’s fueling my faith. From the one who took the dream job (which included a pay cut) and ended up getting more than the salary from the previous job within a month to the one who made an agreement with God and saw promises kept. I know that my work will not be in vain and that Provision will come. I’m thankful for the newly acquired ability to give up the goods and I can’t wait to report what’s next.
I’m finally understanding what it means to put my works with my faith and my prayers, what it means to be unafraid to dream bigger and unashamed to want more for myself. And since I’ve decided to take it to God, I might as well give requests that go beyond what I can do by myself.
I want to hear from you! Have you found yourself in a similar place or are there now? What’s keeping you encouraged?