Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where I'm Meant to Be

We moved to California five years ago, and for the last four I've often said I would never leave.  "Why would I ever want to?" I've frequently wondered when friends and family expressed an interest in having me closer.  Though my first year out here was challenging, I've since grown comfortably accustomed to the endless sunshine, oceanic views, and delightfully pleasant weather conditions.  I can go to the beach and mountains all in the same day, see Mickey and friends whenever I want, and offer my son big city opportunities with which the small town simply can't compete.  Though the cost of living is astronomically high and the traffic continually congested, the pros have, in my mind, always outweighed the cons.  I truly love it out here.  Interestingly, I recently found myself jumping on the opportunity to leave.  Presented with the opportunity to pursue work in southern Texas, Sam and I were ready to jump ship and head east. Convinced that the opportunity came from God, we began moving full speed ahead into making it happen.  In the last month I've been packing up our condo, contacting realtors in Texas, and deliberately masking my excitement around family and friends.  The move would have put us 10 hours closer to family, and I could barely talk to my mom on the phone without spilling the beans.  I knew how happy it would make her and I couldn't wait to be the bearer of good news.  After a month of planning and preparing, we were informed that it wasn't going to happen after all.  "God? I don't understand," I softly complained in bewilderment.  Truthfully, I still don't understand, but what I do know is that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be.

Last week, my son and I went to Arkansas for a week.  It was the first time in three years that I've been, and the only time my son remembers being there at all.  From fields of open space and four wheeler rides to catching crickets and climbing deer stands, my son had fun on levels he has never before experienced.  As he met cousins for the first time and claimed them as his personal property, I watched him interact with not only them, but also his overall environment.  I realized that he didn't necessarily need life in Los Angeles, California; that was my need. I grew up in a small town in northeastern Arkansas and vowed from a young age to leave it all behind. It seems I accomplished my mission. 

Though Sam and I had yet to receive the final word of approval for the move, watching Ashton led me to become increasingly certain that it would happen. Moving closer to family just seemed to be what God was planning. We were given a probability of about ninety-eight percent, and I could foresee nothing standing in the way until I got Sam's call Wednesday.  The move had fallen through.  We would be staying in California.  Did I push and fight so hard to get away that I had become an example of the saying "be careful what you wish for because you might just get it?" I couldn't believe God had allowed me to move as far forward in the process as He had just to have the entire plan shut down before me.  Not only was our condo partially packed up, but I had even just been moved forward to the fourth stage of hiring with a company where we were scheduled to move.  "What do I do now?" I asked God, and then I became angry.

As I sat in my old bedroom in my parent's house and quietly yelled at God for leading me down what turned out to be such a devastating path, I unsuccessfully tried to pull it together and just be grateful that I still had beaches, entertainment, and palm trees.  Still, I couldn't fight the tears that ensued from finding out our plans weren't His. Over the next 24 hours, Sam and I both came full circle and made peace with what God was and was not doing.  "Seems we're meant to stay in California," we agreed.  "Not a bad place to be stuck," I joked.  However, it was over the course of the week that I realized how discontent I always am.  I grew up strongly disliking Arkansas, moved to California, and have recently been fighting to move closer to Arkansas.  Are we ever just happy to be where we are? Or, are we always chasing after something else? 

I don't want to want for something I don't have.  I want to be happy and content with what I already have and where I already am.  I don't know whether or not God plans to move us, and though part of me thinks He does, I've decided not to worry about it and just let Him take us where He wants, even if it means keeping us right here. I'm embracing what I have and where I am in a new way.  What I have is the love of a huge family all over the country, a doting husband, and an unbelievably amazing son. Where I am is sunny, southern California with endless beaches, uninterrupted access to Snoopy at Knotts Berry and Mickey at Disney, and a five minute drive away from the church I now love with all my heart.  It seems I'm right where I'm meant to be, and whatever moment you're in right now while you read this, know that you're also where you're meant to be.  Don't get angry with God when He doesn't do things in a way that makes sense to you. Muster the strength to thank Him and trust that He's moving you forward in a direction that is far better than the one you picked.  He has amazing things and places in store for you; trust Him to lead you!

Don't want for what you don't have.  Give thanks for what you do have!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:16-17                 

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