On Growth

I don’t know if you read my last blog post, but if you did, you may have been able to tell that it was a hard one for me to write. It was even harder to post, because it was ugly and raw, and a part of my story that would have been a lot more comfortable to keep to myself. But I did so because I felt like I had to, and I am so glad that I was obedient to that feeling, because your feedback so far has meant the world to me. I’ve been reminded that we are not at all alone in our struggles as people who follow Jesus, and I hope you know that He is so much better, more loving, and more understanding than we can even begin to fathom.

The day after hitting publish on that post, I found myself driving to Dallas to spend a few days with friends and reflecting both on that last year of my Nashville season and the one I currently find myself in, which was followed quickly by the question I’ve gotten more times than I can count over the last few weeks: why did you drive across the country to spend just a few weeks in Nashville?

I mean, that’s a great and very valid question: why did I decide to make the 2,500+ mile drive from California to Tennessee to stay for such a short amount of time? The truth is that I don’t really know. Apart from wanting to see some friends, I really don’t have a sensible reason to be here, other than that it always just felt like the natural course for this season. Is that crazy? Maybe, but what in my life isn’t right now. While on my final drive day from Dallas to Nashville, however, I realized that after writing that post, this time in Nashville is for closure: the one last step in my healing process from all of the disappointment and bitterness I left with back in 2017. And I sensed that it was also going to require acknowledging that — just as I’ve grown in leaps and bounds since living here — so has this city, and the people I love who live in it.

growing growth friendship share love everywhere

Maybe that sounds simple, but it meant coming to terms with the fact that some things, feelings, and relationships in my life that have been comfortable and reliable were likely going to change, because we have all grown and changed. I have changed. Nashville has changed. And lots of people have changed. Our growing sometimes that means that we grow apart or head in different directions, and the truth is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s both natural and okay to grow apart, because we actually weren’t made to stay in deep connection or relationship with all of the people or places in our lives forever (and if you really think about it, it’s not even really possible). I’ve experienced this in other seasons of life, with friends, family, work roles, and more, and even while I was in California, I made some conscious decisions toward this while a few others happened more naturally. It’s rarely easy. but there’s something really beautiful in coming to terms with that kind of growth, because ultimately . . .

Growing apart is still growing.

And the beauty in that is knowing that we are moving and changing, which is always better than being stagnant, and regardless of what direction we find ourselves heading, it’s good to remember that it doesn’t mean that we can’t — at some point — grow back together. As I find myself back in the city that I called home for four of the most transformative years of my adult life, I have a deep sense that this is both the end and the beginning: it requires a letting go and a saying goodbye, and that in turn requires some grieving. But it also goes to show that God is moving in new ways, and that is always a reason to be expectant.

So here I am: learning to reconcile my grieving with acceptance as I have grown and continue to grow, because even though it feels like some things are ending, I know that other (big) things are right on the brink of beginning.

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