2018: A Review

I’m sure this will come as a surprise to no one, but I have to officially say that this last year has been the wildest, weirdest, and most life-changing one of my life thus far. There were so many things that happened, so many new places that were visited, and so many ways in which I grew, and in that I declare that 2018 was a game changer. I solo-traveled for the first time in March, followed closely by my big solo-trip around Europe; I learned more about who I am and the way I’ve been made (thanks for the assist, enneagram — a 4w3 right here); I learned how to identify my feelings and work through them in a healthy way; my confidence and belief in myself skyrocketed; I embraced my single status and am (finally) thriving in it; and — most importantly — I stepped into more freedom and abundance as I’ve continued to follow Jesus. It hasn’t been an easy year — not in the slightest. But it has undoubtedly been the best one yet.

So here it is: a quick recap of this last year . . .

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Wild Hearts with Gennean

I've called myself a wild heart for a few years now, which all began when I realized there was something in me that longed for more: more than living for the weekend, more than 50-60 hr work weeks, more than storing up physical treasures, and more than settling for the mundane. My heart was unsettled, and it became a real place of tension as my desires just didn’t quite line line up with what I felt like society and culture were telling me I needed to be getting after, especially as a young adult.

The thing is, though, that I've always believed that God didn't create us to just get by, live in mediocrity, or play it safe. He's never been mediocre or boring or safe (if we're honest) — so why do we subscribe to the thought that our lives should be? He's wild and free and full of adventure, and I've chosen to live wrapped up in that. All of my big decisions — and many of my small ones — have been made in faith, and they've led me to some of the coolest and craziest places that often didn't make sense on paper. Yet in seeking wisdom with each risk that I've taken so far, things have always fallen into place in the best of ways.

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The Next Adventure

It has been just over six weeks since returning from my Europe trip, six months since I left the states to start that adventure, and about one year since sharing the news that I was leaving Nashville to move back to California to prepare for the trip. It’s an understatement to be sure, but the last year has been a complete whirlwind of emotions and growth that included countless bouts of loneliness, excitement, frustration, and everything in between. After living in that beautiful city for four years, leaving who and what I knew and loved in Nashville proved to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve made thus far, only being slightly surpassed by choosing to solo-travel around Europe for almost five months. Both were difficult choices to make, and yet both were worth it in almost every way.

Speaking of, I realize that I haven’t properly shared an update on how the second half of the trip went (first half is recapped here), and the easiest way to do so is to say that it was even more eye-opening and life-changing than the first.

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Not So Brave

"You're so brave!"  It's something that I've heard over and over again, from the moment that I shared that I would be quitting my full-time job to take this trip until just today while chatting with someone at my hostel.  It's always an interesting response to this little season of my life, because I don't feel all that brave.  Sure, I suppose it's pretty cool that I felt confident enough to quit my job, move back to my hometown for a season, and then traverse around Europe for a few months, but brave feels like a stretch to me.  Looking back, I was scared when this all started to come together, and I'm still a bit scared now.  From the initial dream to travel and knowing I'd have to leave my job of 4 years, to realizing that moving back home — while weird — was exactly what I needed to do, to planning all of the details and then leaving the states for 4+ months, I've been nervous the whole time.  But it has all come together one step at a time, because I honestly did not have the nerve to jump head first.  No, I had to take baby steps, asking God to affirm anything and everything along the way.  Do you see why "brave" might be hard for me to grasp or accept?

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