and you’ll be surprised, you’ll be surprised if you just look around.
When this year started, I had grand expectations – as I suppose most people did. I wanted to change the world, as I do almost every year. Because what good are resolutions if you’re not trying to do something big with them? Instead of wanting to change the universe, though – I just wanted to change my world.
I was already well on my way. In October I moved across the country. I knew a handful of people when I moved here, but none all that well. I walked away from my best friends who have spent countless nights comforting me as my life fell apart – they watched over the years as those reasons went from absurdly dramatic to slightly dramatic and loved me anyway. And listened to every moment of it without judgment – except when I needed it, of course.
I’ve spent the past six months missing them terribly.
I moved away from a salaried job with a 401K, good benefits and stability into waitressing and living off tips, picking up shifts and prayers that my tables were feeling generous – I am a planner by nature, and the idea of not having the stability I spent years creating was terrifying.
But I survived. And I guess I started a trend – for myself, at least.
I started this year wanting to do pretty much anything and everything that I found frightening. But I didn’t really make a list. I suppose I mentally assumed I’d just know when I found things scary enough to make myself attempt them. I’m the kind of crazy person who likes to force myself into situations I don’t want to be in simply to say I overcame them. Because I guess I like torturing myself or something.
These were my grand expectations – do a whole bunch of shit this year that terrifies the hell out of you.
And then about a month ago I started thinking – what exactly have I accomplished in terms of changing my world? Have I forced myself out of my comfort zone and into this wonderful being who simply walks around saying, “Ha, I’m roaring like a lion. Listen, world!” Well, no. Not exactly. Not really at all.
I felt like I spent the last few months being a bit of a hermit. I missed my friends and family and wasn’t really sure if I would ever find those same kind of relationships here. I barely spent any time with the handful of people I did know when I moved here, and the new friends I made seemed like wonderful people, but I wasn’t sure how well they actually liked me.
I felt bad. Like I let myself down. But people forget resolutions all the time, right? What’s the big deal?
I turned 25 this year; my one and only 25 year. The only first quarter century I’ll ever get. And I wanted to make it epic. Why? Because everyone around me seemed to be doing big things. They were engaged, married, having babies, making career moves – sometimes all at once.
And all I had done was move to a new city where I felt pretty lonely. So I wanted to change that, because life is too short not to at least try to change the things you hate.
But when I thought about it, I hadn’t actually tried very hard to change anything. It didn’t feel like it anyway.
Then yesterday happened. It forced me to think about the past four months.
And I mostly thought, “Wait, what?”
I’ve changed everything in my world in four months. I’ve moved, started a new job, lined up another job, made new friends, found a church and totaled a car.
And I thought about how thankful I am that I was able to accept all of those things without too much discomfort. That I didn’t realize how much changed in those months. That by the grace of God I was so used to discontinuity that I didn’t hold up my hands and scream, “No more,” – at least not too loud.
I thought about how much I’ve changed in those months, in regards to handling my surroundings, mostly.
I feel confident for the first time in my life. And not the kind of confidence that comes from attention or affection – the kind of confidence where I do actually feel like walking around and saying, “Hey, listen, I’ve got this roar thing down, y’all.” Not because I’m great at everything or even good at most things, but I feel good in my skin.
And I feel like enough.
But I don’t feel like enough, really. I know I’m enough.
I feel a new kind of peace that I’ve never felt before. The kind that comes from knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be. The kind that comes from being still spiritually – the hardest thing for me – and listening. I’ve been trying so hard to listen. I still fail, but I feel okay about it. I know that’s where this peace is coming from.
And as I look at the past four months, I think about how terrifying things don’t always have to mean hanging out in a lion’s cage or hiking across the desert. Sometimes scary things are just part of life – and they take many different forms.
I’m glad to have faced a few of them. I’m thankful for the grace that reminded me of that this evening.