A Time for Every Purpose

Loving the place I am and loving the place I left is making my heart feel a little divided.  Sometimes I’m not fully letting myself enjoy what I have here, because I’m thinking about what I miss of home.

I miss southern accents.  I miss thunderstorms.  I miss rich, moist dirt. I miss the feeling of summer rain.  Believe it or not, being in California is evoking a feeling of missing Folkston, GA, and slow days where there are only a few cars on the road.  I miss listening to old, backwoods men and women talking to each other.  I miss yes mams, and no sirs.  I miss “how’s your momma doin?”.  Los Angeles has taught me a lot so far, but strangely enough it is pushing me to miss the town that I’m from in a way I never have before.  I miss polos and khakis.  I miss drinking beer around a fire with my friends, listening to country music, wearing boots, and acting like rednecks.  I miss being in the woods.  I miss the option of going home to see my family for the weekend.  I miss Atlanta rap stations.  I miss conversations with my friends about life and Jesus.  I can’t even imagine in 6 months how much I’ll be missing fall, and Athens, and the southern obsession with football….prepping myself for that now.  I miss home.

I love California.

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I love the landscape, I didn’t know so much natural beauty could exist in one place.  I love the West side of the US and how rugged and wild and beautiful it is. I love the lack of a mold to fall into here, and the open mindedness.  I love the genuineness of people’s faith here; if you’re a Christian it’s not because someone told you to be it’s because you are actually seeking out God for yourself because it’s counter cultural here.  I love the overall acceptance of people – there is very little judgement, and in this regard the south could learn a thing or two from LA.  I love that everyone has a dream, everyone is creative and entrepreneurial; LA is nothing if not inspiring.  I love the ocean.  I’ve been obsessed with the ocean since I was 4, playing mermaids at Fernandina beach, only coming out of the water to eat a sandwich, and climb on rocks to catch hermit crabs; living on the Pacific ocean fills my soul to the brim.  I won’t ever live in a place that isn’t coastal again – it makes me too happy.  There is a limitless amount of good food, great fashion, and good vibes overall.  Believe it or not, when I’m riding my bike around my area on the weekends, it almost feels like a small town.  The beachy, west side, LA world that I live in is overall a lot less materialistic than Beverly Hills or other places in LA, and I love that too.  People spend their money on surf boards and camping trips over Chanel bags.  I wear less make up, do less blow drying, and feel totally fine wearing whatever I want, wherever I want.  It’s the best place I can imagine for just being yourself, which I understand goes against the usual perception of materialism and obsession with image that clouds LA.  And I love a tribe called quest, and the fact that the West Side of LA feels like 1973.

I’m learning how to love the place I’m from, while loving the place I’m in and experiencing it to the fullest.  I’m trying to live by the understanding that life passes in seasons.  I know I’m in a season of restoration now.  I want to live by the fact that this season is set apart for me to be set apart.  God has confirmed over and over that this time is meant to restore my heart.  I can’t describe the way I feel other than to say that I can feel the grace, and restoration, and strength washing over me like waves.  It fills my heart with thankfulness, and I’m reminded of the theme that is penetrating my life right now from Isaiah 43, commanding me “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”

I don’t want to miss the sweet time that is this season of restoration, by looking back at old things, and considering former things.  I replay good and bad things.  I’ll think of all the things that could’ve been different. I’ll long for the days when I got to spend all day hanging out with my best friends, and how much fun it is to be around people who make you laugh and are rooted in the same foundations.  I get frustrated about how something bad can win over something good, at least in the short term.  I’m a dweller.  I’m reminded that there are a lot of things that are completely out of my control and that there will be many more things that are out of my control.

I look back on good and bad things, but they both leave me with a feeling of frustration and longing.  I know this isn’t a time for me to look back on my past and be thankful, or look back on my past and be angry.  This isn’t a time for looking back at anything. This isn’t a time for me to look back on where I grew up, or think about being with my brothers on family vacation.  It’s not a time for me to think about my teenage years spent riding dirt roads, and playing never have a I ever with 4 girls, and one Coors light.  It’s not a time to think about how fun it was to be under those Friday night lights in a small south Georgia town.  This isn’t a time to thirst for old things, or even to be thankful for them because I’m not there yet and it’s not the right time.  This is a time for me to receive and be restored. For the pieces of my heart that I’ve left in places and with people over the past 25 years to be replaced with good, new things.  This is a time for me to be affirmed and reaffirmed by God and His word.

There is too much to consider looking back.  God knows that, that’s why He has so explicitly told me to not consider those things – it’s too much.  Look at the new thing I’m doing.  Can you not see it? Does it not excite you?  Can’t you see it bursting forth? I can.  I don’t want to miss out on this sweet season by looking back at old ones, or longing for ones that are yet to come.  I trust the Lord, and that I am here by no accident, that  His will for me is sovereign; that I’m here by his hand, and I’m not there by His hand.

It’s comforting that life happens in seasons, because it helps me remember that everything is fleeting.  I can rest, and enjoy the beauty in where I am now, and how much provision I’ve been given because I know this isn’t a lasting thing, and I want to soak it up while I can.  If I have a time that I feel angry about something that I don’t have, I can rest in the fact that this season has been set aside for me not to have whatever it is.  I need and want to consider what His purpose is for me in every season. What should I be learning? What is the Lord building in me right now?  In Haggai, the Lord tells the people over and over, “Consider your ways!”.  This is a calling to consider your life.  Consider how if what you are doing, or what you have done is producing fruit.  Consider this season, and what God’s purpose is for the season that you’re in.  Are you growing? Are you being threshed and refined?  The Lord wants our hearts and minds to change, and be renewed to be more like Him.  He wants us to think in new ways.  He wants us to see and know different sides of Him, to learn His character in a deep way.  If you aren’t growing, if you aren’t experiencing seasons, if you aren’t changing, if you are stuck in a rut, if you aren’t experiencing fruit, if you aren’t being torn down and rebuilt, if your mind isn’t being renewed – consider your ways.  God has a purpose in every season.  Consider your ways.  Why are you where you are?

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven
A time to be born
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace

Ecclesiastes 3

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