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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Trust in Transition

If there's been one constant or consistent theme in my little life so far, it is change, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. From jobs to friends to passions to cities, it seems that the things in our lives are always moving and changing, and in the midst of the endless transitions, it feels like we are all just doing our best to keep up.  I've been on this earth for almost thirty years, and do you want to know what I've learned about change?  It never ends.  Life is full of change, and there's a very good chance that things will continue to shift as we keep on living; our jobs, our circumstances, the people in our lives, where we live, and everything in between will inevitably continue to grow, morph, and change.  Does this thought freak you out?  If so, you are not alone.  Change is a hard concept for a lot of people because risk and fear are closely associated with it, and that is hard for many to grapple with.  It can mean a disruption in what is familiar and comfortable, or it could potentially be a life-flipped-upside-down kind of thing, and while these are sometimes the results of choice, they can also come at you out of nowhere.  So yes, it makes sense that a lot of people aren't huge fans of change.

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A Little More Love

Something that's come to the forefront of my attention recently is just how much the world needs to see and experience the love of Jesus.  There are a lot of things happening in the world right now, from controversial politicians to the refugee crisis to gun control issues to the sex trafficking epidemic and so on and so on, and it seems that there is just so much darkness surrounding us, making it easy to understand why people might be feeling a little — or a lot — hopeless.  And hopelessness, in a way, is like a disease.  It infects and spreads and wears people down, bit by bit until they can hardly see the light and goodness that are present in the world.

And living in the time that we do means, I think, that there's just a lot of confusion about who God is.  Is he cruel, judgmental, full of wrath, and if so, is that why the world is so dark and hard and evil?  Or is He loving, kind, and full of grace, because if that's true, where is that on display?  Plenty of people grow up or grew up in some form of the Church, learning about God and about Jesus.  Many "know" the basics, yet have chosen not to believe, and I really think that a choice like that — to not believe — may be two-fold: they see evil in the world, and can't bring themselves to believe in a God who would allow it (or "cause it" — another topic for another day); and/or they don't see God amongst the people who claim Him... which is a very huge and very real problem.

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What Trust Looks Like

Honesty hour: I'm not totally sure how things look from the outside, but this is easily one of the weirdest seasons of life that I've walked through.  It's unpredictable, uncomfortable, and unlike anything I've known thus far.  When I think back on past seasons, it's not difficult to see why they were easier to digest than my current one.  Much of my time in high school and college was fairly predictable and routine, after which I went almost immediately into the workforce.  Then God put Nashville on my heart, so I moved there in faith — which was totally scary — and pretty quickly got a job with Dave Ramsey's organization, where I ended up working for four years.  And it was there that I paid off all of my debt and worked toward the season that I now find myself in: living back in my hometown, working part-time, and planning for my big upcoming trip.

If you read my birthday post back in October, you know that I am about to embark on a multi-month long trip through Europe, which is definitely exciting.  The truth, though, is that it doesn't feel very exciting right now.  I left the comfort and safety of a full-time job (with benefits!) to literally move back home, *maybe* work a little, and plan a massive, so-many-details-involved trip, all while having pretty much no idea what my life will look like once I come back.  To my little Type-A heart, this has all been real scary.  But my re-burgeoning faith is telling a different story; it's reminding me daily that in me not having a solid plan, God can do anything.

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