The Decision to Head West

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All of my friends know that I’ve been talking about moving since the day I got here.  I never imagined myself in Atlanta.  I moved to Atlanta because I got a job and it was the easy thing to do.  It was easy to follow my friends, follow my solid community from college out into life.  Never had I imagined as a child or teenager dreaming, or even in college, that I would find myself settled in Atlanta.  I didn’t expect that I would fall in love with this place.

Atlanta has all the hospitality and charm of a southern city, while hanging on to a very urban and transient vibe.  People here are free thinking, motivated, friendly, educated, and for the most part pretty well off financially.  There is always something to do.  The food scene is great.  The spring days are the best, when everyone can be found soaking up the sunlight and heat that is finally starting to penetrate, bopping around Piedmont Park and saying goodbye to winter with joy. Man those first few warm days are glorious. In the summer there are endless activities outdoors, perfect weather (though they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing), and just hours away from countless beaches making weekend beach trips a frequent happening.  I absolutely love the south, and I love stepping outside in the summer in all of the humidity and feeling the weight of the heat on my skin.  The feel of that humid air feels like home to me.  Fall here, is perfect. It’s the best fall i’ve ever seen anyway, since I’m from South Georgia which is basically Florida and doesn’t have distinct seasons.  Fall is colorful, crisp, and brings that feeling of hope mixed with nostalgia that rears itself at the beginning of each new season.  I can’t forget to mention, I’m conveniently located an hour away from my beloved Athens, and Georgia Dawgs, meaning I can venture up to Athens any time during the fall and see home games and cheer on my dawgs.

However, no matter how I weigh it on paper, no matter how much I should be perfectly content here because it makes sense, and this city matches the person that I am , 50% OG, %50 southern belle, I’m not.  My heart has been restless since the day I moved here.  This place at times has felt light, and like home, but more often than not has made me feel trapped, like a squirrel who needs to find a way out of it’s cage and run and climb.  As perfect as this place is for me, it’s not.

I can tell you that from the ages of 10 (when awareness of the world begins) to 18, all I wanted out of life was to move to California.  In college, it changed from being California that I had to get away to, but my desires become more worldly and I wanted to travel farther. California wasn’t a goal anymore, too liberal and fantastical for me to consider. I wanted to live somewhere with more problems, like India.  Then I wanted to live somewhere with no problems, like Charleston, a place that reminds me of home; still southern, and still comfortable.  Anywhere but where I was, I needed to go.  I can’t explain the insatiable desire that I’ve had to just go and be anywhere but here, even though here is great.

I had been applying to jobs in Charleston for months without any real results, and I began to wonder if that was really God’s plan for me, terrified that maybe I was wrong and His plan was for me to stay here and push through how I was feeling.  Bloom where you’re planted, as they say.  I was pretty sure He was pushing me to move, but my fear that He wasn’t going to provide that for me falls in line with my usual thinking that God’s route is probably always the hardest.  One conversation with my sweet friend Mary was all that it took to convince me that A. I was wrong about Him wanting me to stay, and B. He didn’t want me to go to Charleston.  The minute I told Mary that I was thinking maybe California, though not sure where, she lit up with a solid YES.  Her reaction was all the confirmation I needed.  I started applying to jobs in California a little over a month ago.  A month later I’ve flown out, interviewed, and am all set to start my new job March 23rd.  A month.

As soon as I opened up to what God had in store for me, He began to work immediately.  I prayed over every interview, every phone call, asking Him to bring it crashing down if it wasn’t His plan for me.  After getting hired I asked for a significantly higher salary, just to test this plan some more because really how could this be this easy and be right?  My entire walk has been wrought with struggle and resistance, and it’s very rare that something works out so smoothly.  But it did, and it has.  Since I’ve made this decision I’ve been flooded with support from my friends, and even my family (I know it’s hard for them to see me go to the other side of the country).  I’ve been put in touch with tons of people who are out there from Georgia, friends of friends. Friends of friends – how exciting! I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that people I love, have people that they love in L.A. because I was feeling 100% like I was walking into a place as a completely foreign object.

In the beginning of this, I was terrified.  I was a seesaw going back and forth, frozen into inaction by fear, knowing without a doubt that the calling of my heart is to leave this wonderful city, but incapable of bringing myself to say “yes”.  Afraid of losing my friends, my community, the people I love…..you haven’t had FOMO until you’ve explored moving 2,000 miles away, let me tell you.

Some how, over the course of this week, my spirit has been calmed. I’m not going to say I don’t have moments of panic, like am I really doing this?  And when I tell my friends, who are so excited for me, but also palpably sad and affected that I’m leaving, that’s hard.  But I know it’s right.  I have waves of peace and calm that I wouldn’t otherwise have, that can only be of the Lord.  It is a very new thing for me to walk blindly behind Jesus into something that I have no foresight into.  Finally, finally, my mind is stopping.  I’m not trying to sort everything out. I’m not trying to concoct 24 different roads that my life could lead down, with 24 different end results.  There is no end result.  Praise the Lord, I’m literally exploding with joy to say – for once, in my life of walking with Jesus, for once I am not striving. I’m not trying to figure it out.  The road ahead isn’t unhappiness and unhappiness – the road ahead is I have no idea.  The road ahead is possibility.  The road ahead is faith filled.  I’ve never not been able to see that X,Y, and Z could happen and one of those is going to happen and i’ve just got to prep myself in every way possible to protect myself when any of those things happen. No.  It’s literally, completely, entirely unknown, and it feels incredible.

I am so excited to step out into something completely foreign, yet completely assured that the Hand of the Lord is in this, and leading me.  In a time that I should feel transient, and anticipatory, I feel only security.  I feel led.  I feel protected.  It finally feels like I’m not fighting an uphill battle, and that I’m on the path of obedience and walking in His will, not just generally but His will FOR ME.  Maybe this freedom is what total obedience feels like.

My heart has always known that I can’t just follow.  I have a need to go. I have a need to see. I have a need to experience. I have a need to push, and get closer.  I have a need to see different people and different things. I have a need to learn. I have a need to be uncomfortable.  I have a need for a new place. I have a need to have a fresh start.  I have a need for a clean break from things here that make my heart heavy.  I have a need to explore.

But FILA, y’all.  Atlanta is a part of me now, the people I love are here.  This city is a place that I’ve grown to love.  I just need to go see the world for a while.

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