Coming Home

My first morning waking up in Atlanta in almost 7 months and I was on cloud 9.
For the past few months I’ve felt alone in LA.  I can love things about it like the food, the beachy culture, the ocean, and the weirdness but there is still this element that I am walking out of tune with the world around me.  I am one of the most adaptable people I know, and I can mold myself to my environment, and I’ve done that in LA but my soul hasn’t settled down.  My heart doesn’t find little things to be happy about in the grocery store in the same way that it does in Atlanta when I overhear conversations where a shopper is gushing over another shopper’s baby in a sweet southern accent.  In the beginning of living in LA I was mesmerized. I wanted to be there. I needed to be there.  The beauty was restoring and spoke straight to my heart.  It gave me adventure.  It gave me distance.  It allowed me to be alone and break away.  It gave me room to grow and room to explore. I was marveled.
For the first time in the past year I read my old journal entries this past week while i was in Atlanta. After I arrived in Atlanta and everyone had gone to bed I was left awake catching up on the latest of Anthony Bourdain (who I’ve missed dearly in my no cable life).  I was dozing off, so I turned the TV off, went to the kitchen, my old kitchen, to make a glass of water before I got into bed.  After one Manhattan, short friend catch up time, and husband cuddles, I was blissfully happy.  I turned around and saw a simple little note that I had left on the refrigerator white board for Ellyn right before I left. It said:
I love you
See you soon.
It’ll be no time.
Husbands are forever.
Seeing these simple words brought it crashing in on me that I literally packed everything up and left my life behind, and I was overcome with emotion. It feels like the world that I left is frozen there.  There are still pictures of me in our kitchen and living room.  My stuff is there. It feels like I belong there, like I just picked up exactly where I left off.  Like I finally got back my old favorite pair of jeans that are comfortable and worn in. Being there felt like I had been living in discomfort for 7 months and I finally got to come home, nestle up and feel relief.  It gets exhausting meeting new people all the time, working at conversation.  Sometimes going to an event with new friends here can feel more like an effort than a fun thing. The only way I can describe coming home to my friends and going to dinners and tailgates, and being around people that truly know my heart is that it feels like Christmas; comfortable, joyful, and an anticipation that the next few days will be good and full of old things that you love.  But 7 months ago I wanted so badly to get out that I left behind everything and moved almost 3,000 miles away.  It just seemed completely insane to me while I was reading that note, that I would leave my home, and friends, and everything I love so I went to my journal to try to think back on what I was feeling right before I left and what could’ve pushed me to take such a drastic leap of faith.
When you are light years from home and you feel lonely, it’s really hard not to question whether or not you did the right thing in leaving.  This is one of the many times I’ve been thankful that I keep a journal.  I forgot how restless my heart was.  I was restless in everything. I was in a constant state of wanderlust and wanting job changes. I wanted to move far away and travel the world living out of a back pack.  In all honesty, I was feeling strife even toward my friends. I was sick of everything. I was so unsettled.  Even when things felt good with my ex-boyfriend in my mind when I asked myself would I be happy just staying here and settling down and getting married, the answer was no, and I was afraid of that answer so I ignored it.  There might be some deep complicated answer behind all the angst I felt or it might be as simple as maybe I had to see the other side [of the country] before I could realize that my grass was pretty green and pretty great.  Atlanta is a city with soul, just like most cities in the south.  It has seasons.  There are trees and green things everywhere. I could go on and on but this post isn’t about Atlanta.  I think I would’ve been unsettled there, no matter what, if I hadn’t gotten the chance to spread my wings a little. I know me, and I know I usually have to learn things the hard way, and if I never would’ve just followed my heart and left, I always would’ve felt unsatisfied with what I had in Atlanta.  The circumstances that gave me the final push to leave were hard, yes, but I fully trust that they were orchestrated by God because He knows my heart so deeply and intimately and knew that for me to plant roots, I needed to see other planting grounds first before I was satisfied with my decision.  I just needed to see, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I’m happy I was created that way because I got an adventure.  I changed so much.  I am stronger and braver; some days I feel fearless.  People tell me I’m courageous, and I love that.  I love that other people would use that adjective to describe me because I want to live a courageous life.  I’m more appreciative of my friends and my family.  I’m more appreciative of where I’m from and the deep culture and unique sweetness of the south.  And I love that I have that new appreciation because I needed it to be able to completely immerse myself where I am and sew and watch good things grow.  You can’t sew if you are one foot in, one foot out, always thinking about the what if option.  I got to experience and entirely different way of life than the one I was brought up to live.  I’ve never felt so full and confident.  There are definitely things I’m scared of if I decided to move back, but I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that whatever you are afraid of you should go and live there, close to it, press it into the palm of your hand.  The enemy uses fear to keep us from things we are destined for, to keep us from God’s plan.  God doesn’t use fear.  He tells me if something is wrong through the Holy Spirit, but He never puts fear as a banner over it, it’s more of an internal stop sign.  If I feel fear, I know it’s not from God, and especially in the past 7 months I’ve learned to go running head first into the things that scare you.
I feel affirmed and confident (most of the time). I don’t feel enslaved or controlled by anything.  I feel the faithfulness of God, and am blown away by the fact that He knew my needs so much more than I did.  Nowadays when I feel like I can see how something in my own life should unfold, I am automatically pretty certain that they shouldn’t unfold that way because God’s design for it is so much more intricate and detailed than anything I ever could’ve come up with.
The past few months have been hard.  I’ve grown a lot.  But being able to be home in Atlanta with my friends that love me, and to have people that I love, and community, it makes every hard thing that I’ve felt worth it.  I would never know this fullness or appreciation for my life if I hadn’t stepped away to grow in other ways.  I don’t want to take back hard things because I’m hard headed and that’s how I learn.  I’m not sad at all about the way God crafted my soul, and my adventurous spirit, and my need to be chasing something.   I’m so excited about where that will lead me in the future and the fact that He created me to hate complacency, and to be curious, and questioning.  I have a new confidence in myself that I know for certain I wouldn’t have found if I had never left.  I have a new appreciation for the life that I get to live.

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