I haven’t published a blog in 2 1/2 months. Getting back into the swing of things, catching up with friends, and starting my own business has meant me going pretty much non-stop since the minute my feet hit the Georgia soil. This busy [almost] two months of being back in my home state have been exactly like I imagined. It’s weird when your life is how you want it to be. For years, and I think this is called young adulthood, I didn’t like my job, my relationship with Justin was um……under construction, I didn’t know where I wanted to be…..I didn’t know how to fix anything that felt wrong; I just knew that I was lacking. Now, living in my cozy Virginia Highlands neighborhood, I can’t think of very many things I would want to be different. I love my neighborhood; I walk to restaurants and coffee shops and Piedmont park. I have all the benefits of urban life mixed with living in the lush tropical forest that is Atlanta (a city under the trees). I love my job. I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. It feels like most of the boxes on my “what will make me happy list” are checked off. The fact that I can even say that is such an incredible reflection of God’s mercy to me.
In late November, at a Friendsgiving in LA when I was talking about being unhappy with my job, I was introduced to someone who worked in my industry who would become my business partner a few weeks later. Now I wake up every day and work for myself, which is all sorts of stressful and glorious at the same time. It alleviates everything I hated about working in an office, working by someone else’s rules, and working in an inflexible environment, but adds the tension of being responsible for all of my income without the comfort of a guaranteed paycheck coming in every two weeks. Corporate life made me feel suffocated. The routine, the monotony, the confines of an office building and meetings, these things never settled well with me and were pretty much a means to an end in my mind until I figured out what I really wanted to do. Now that I’m actually building something of my own, and deciding the direction for my own brand, and answering to myself alone, I can feel truly satisfied with what I’m doing with my life everyday because it’s mine, and it’s a reflection of me. But this is just another reminder of how much God has provided for me over the past year. It wasn’t in my plan to start my own recruiting agency, but it was His. If anything my ultimate, master, work-for-myself plan was to be a writer (which I still hope to eventually accomplish). The opportunity just fell into my lap, everything fell into place; never on my radar before the second that it was brought up as an idea to me. This is probably the thing in my life making me most heavily reliant on Jesus at the moment when most other areas of my life are looking relatively in order. Starting a new business is hard and exciting.
My daily life literally feels like an episode of friends. Always something to do with someone that I love. If I have a bad day its because of work stress, or family stress, and even then I can still look at my bad day and think el-oh-el because even my bad days are so full of good. It feels like I picked up my life right where I left off except for a better version, the version that I wanted. A couple of months ago, my mentor said your life has completely shifted in a dramatic way, and that’s exactly what it feels like. The only way I can describe it is that I actually felt a dramatic shift, like a Tetrus piece falling into place at the last minute. The entire year in California it felt like I was living in a parallel universe. I was living somewhere that I loved, but it wasn’t actually the life I was supposed to be living. This feels like the life I was supposed to be living. I was a train that was off the tracks, and now it feels like I made my way back to the line.
I was out of town every weekend for my first month back on the East Coast, roaming around in south Georgia. It felt so good to be home homein the flat, humid, wet, marshy, south Georgia terrain. I drove roads that I’ve driven since I was 16 and thought about everything that’s happened in the past decade, and how much I had ahead of me when I was speeding down hwy 40 in my silver Saturn just aching to get out of there. Those flat roads, engulfed by pine tress on either side probably feel mundane to the average traveler, but they were welcome roads to me. It felt so good to be home. It feels good to be where I feel like I am supposed to be, for the first time since I started my adult life.
I think I’ve always always had a problem of making my relationship with Jesus my first priority when my heart feels full. It’s like I need to feel empty to draw in as close to him as I should; to crave His presence and His word every day. Last night, I was thinking about how full I felt, and I’ve been thinking about how to be as close to God in a time of fullness, as I have been in times of great need. I don’t want my relationship with the Lord to be stifled because of how good He has been to me, because I am smack dab in the middle of a life that I love. When my life is full, when my cup is filled to the brim, I want to want even more of Him. I want to learn to completely give myself to Lord when my life is abounding, in the same way that I can whenever I am in desperation. I want His word to be the breath of my day when I’m miserable, and when I’m euphoric. I want to find myself in that alone time with Jesus, every single day of my life, in every season. My fullness in some ways brings me closer to the Lord, because I feel like my heart is in a state of worship, but in many ways the comfort I feel on a daily basis makes my awareness of how much I need Him diminish. I don’t need Him any less, I am just less aware of the need.
Philippians 4:11-13 says “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
I’ve never viewed this verse through the abounding lens, always through the suffering of need. Now I am learning to abound. I am learning to still do all things through Christ, even when I am full. When I read “I can do all things through Chris who strengthens me” before this period of my life, it always made me think of getting through something hard. Now, I am viewing this as a call to learn to abound and be full, and do that through Jesus too. It’s harder than it sounds. It’s like when you are in a relationship and you lose the spark because you are comfortable, and you forget to pursue each other. If someone leaves then you realize how much you love them. You only realize how much you are in need when you are in a state of discomfort. I’m ashamed of the fact that it’s hard for me to pursue Jesus in the same way when I am full, as it is when I am in need. When I’m in need I’m like a starving, weak animal, and I just need someone to feed me. When I am full and healthy, I want to run off and play in the wilderness again alone, when I’ve already learned that I can’t fend for myself. Then the day will come when I am weak and in need again, where I am desperate for His help again, so I go back faithfully every day until I’m well. But I want to go to Him every day for sustenance even when I am well. In John 6: 48 Jesus says”I am the bread of life”. He is what I want to sustain myself on. Not only sustain, but I want my growth to come from Him too.
I know my friends, my work, a beautiful Atlanta spring – none of this can fill me in the way that my heart needs. I think it takes most people a lot of time to realize that you can have everything on the check list marked off, but eventually you will realize that you aren’t full. You cannot be full outside of Christ. The desires of my heart and this insatiable desire I have to be loved and cared for and taken care of cannot be fully met by my boyfriend or my friends or making a lot of money. Every corner of my heart can never be filled by anything that any person can offer me. They will always fall short. If they aren’t falling short now, I can promise that somewhere in the future, they will fall short. People aren’t meant to be able to satisfy people. Only Jesus can do that. So now I am working on letting him be the satisfaction of my soul even still, when everything else is actually good too.