In case you can’t tell from the title of this post, we are smack dab in the middle of An Uncomfortable January. Getting real about dreaming, risking and getting out of our comfort zones in 2014. Earlier this week I talked about the risk of staying, and today my friend Sara is telling us about the risk of leaving. Cause she’s risky like that in 2014.
When Liz asked me to guest post for An Uncomfortable January I thought, “Well this should be easy. My whole life feels uncomfortable these days.” Not in a woe-is-me kind of way, but more of a nothing is too certain or secure kind of way.”
I’m 24 years old. I got married 18 months ago. Around the same time I moved to Waco, Texas to attend a church planting school and will head out to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a handful of friends sometime next year to plant said church.
I just quit my stable job as a nanny, to pursue writing full time with a new publication here in Waco that I really believe in. So taking a pay cut with no indication of if or when it will increase is a tad uncomfortable, also.
I guess you should know before we move forward that I have some contradictory characteristics about me. Sometimes I’m excited about all that lies ahead, and other times I’m terrified. I’m a big dreamer, but I’m often fearful of what the future holds. I’m a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie, but I’m afraid of heights. There always seems to be an introvert and an extrovert fighting inside of me.
The dichotomous heart of mine is a discomfort factory – like having a never-ending emotional wedgie. It takes exposing my discomfort and being willing to dig deep to relieve it, no matter who’s watching, if I want to deal with it. (TMI with the wedgie illustration? It seemed fitting to use an analogy that may also cause some discomfort to you. We’re in this together, right?)
I realized over the holidays what I’m truly fearful of when I think about my future though: I have a deep fear of missing out or being left out when it comes to my family.
Maybe it’s a hint of middle child syndrome (I’m the second born of three girls). Maybe it’s the fact that both my sisters are getting married this year (I know, my poor dad), and I can see their lives settling in Texas as I see on the horizon that mine will take me far, far away.
I’m fearful, as Noland and I dream of being parents one day, of raising a family far away from my own parents. I’m fearful of my sisters’ kids growing up together and never really knowing mine. I’m fearful of everyone getting used to it and no longer feeling like something is missing if we aren’t there. I’m fearful of disappointing them by missing things. I’m fearful of being disappointed in God for asking me to go so far away.
Then I wrestle with my selfishness. Am I acting like a child, kicking and screaming at the idea of being obedient to what God has called us to do? Is it ok for me to feel this way and grieve leaving my family behind? How do I find the place of peace, trust, and joy in God’s presence, no matter my uncomfortable and uncertain circumstances?
I’m learning that the “in His presence” part is the answer. I laugh at the irony that I spent all of last year memorizing and praying Psalm 16, and I still can’t seem to fully grasp its truth…
Truth that the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant paces, and that I have a delightful inheritance. Truth that because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Truth that He makes known to me the path of life, and in His presence there is fullness of joy.
I’m learning that maybe the antidote for being uncomfortable in my circumstances is to speak truth boldly and confidently right back into them, even when it causes me discomfort. And truthfully, the more I embrace the uncomfortable reality of being obedient to follow Jesus, the more I don’t really ever want to be comfortable.
These are the places I’m digging deep to trust God that He knows what He’s doing, and as a result He’s digging a deep well in me. A well that He intends to fill, because His word and His promises never come back void.
So this month, I’m starting my days by waking up and picking my emotional wedgies. I’m confessing that no person, not even my family or husband can fill the places in my heart that God can, which means nothing is worth holding onto at the expense of not following Him.
I’m staring discomfort in the face and saying, “Thank you , God, for this season of my life. Thank you that you are my portion and you hold my lot, so I don’t have to. No fear of what may or may not happen will overtake me, because I am yours, and you’re the God of the impossible, so I’m going to expect to do the impossible with you. Following your lead is worth everything I leave behind, because it is only in your presence that I find fullness of joy. So I’ll stay in your presence, wherever it goes, knowing this is the only place I will ever feel fully alive.”
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Sarah is a journalist and a blogger – although she prefers the overarching term “storyteller.” She is also a church planter, wife, sister, daughter and really great eater of all things chocolate. She loves live music, to the point that she almost did at a music festival once and had to be rescued by a truck full of hippies. If she could trade all her talents for just one that she doesn’t have, she’d become a broadway star. She is also her grandmother’s namesake, which is one of her favorite things about herself. Check out her blog Wo/ander and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.