Embracing the Next Step

wander

I don’t like large shifts and changes. I especially don’t like not knowing the next step in front of me. Waiting on the universe to unfold the next stair while my foot already dangles mid air. No thank you, sir. And sometimes. This general resistance toward change can lead to a not so great thought process.

In mid June my contract at my current position is ending and I’ve chosen to not attempt to renew it. I’ve known for awhile this season was passing through, but now that it’s coming to a close I’m wanting to stay on this page instead of turning to a new chapter. I want to write a few more pages into something already ending because choosing to stay means not having to feel stuck, unsure, or afraid the next move won’t present itself. My instinct as of late has been to avoid the uncomfortable nature of being stuck and the following changes.

I became frozen with the indecision of staying where I am or moving forward because not having it all figured out felt unnatural, irresponsible, and a wee bit nerve wracking (read: makes my heart clench cause PLANS ARE THE BEST EVER). I was ready to stay in a season that had passed in order to avoid feeling unsure and afraid of not being able to figure it all out.

But here’s the thing: You do not have to have it all figured out to move forward. You just don’t.

Let’s be honest: Change is hard. Even when it’s good change, it’s hard. Just like stress is a bell curve so is change. It’s good up until you hit your max and then it starts to wear you down.

And dammit. I’m tired of change. Since I began college it has felt constant. However many years later I am in grad school and change still beckons with it’s knobby old finger. People who think spontaneity is sexy are smoking something because consistency is the real head turner if you ask me. I like rhythms and familiar things. Knowing what to do when and where. But that just hasn’t been the road for me. I look to my left and right at friends who went to college and graduated to get normal jobs, and feel envious of the routine they already have in their lives. And then I look back at what’s in front of my own two feet. And I know they’re planted right where they need to be and I’ve been making the hard choices to move forward even when I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out.

Maybe you feel this too. Stuck. Not wanting to move forward for fear of what it will mean to take those next steps. And I really get it. But what scares me more than change and not knowing the next step is staying somewhere I’m not supposed to be anymore. Somewhere where I’ve learned my lessons and left behind my own good things.

All that said… Now I get to choose if I want to keep walking along resisting each tiny step forward. Or if I would like to embrace the new opportunities that I know are silently on their way. As stubborn of a person as I am, I think I would like to let go of the fear and say hello to the new good things on their way. I’m not saying I won’t feel the weight of the change because I know I will. I’m saying that I’m choosing to trust myself that this is for the best and I’ll be happy I didn’t choose to stay.

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When Chaos Reigns

chaos

Lately, life has been all blurred edges and falling pieces hurtling down faster and slower than my fingers can seem to grasp. And while I fail to run frantically enough to keep pace, I am somehow also far from being present. I fumble at gestures of letting pieces fall into place, which honestly, is pretty much sandpaper against the grain. It just ain’t me. I love clean lines, the deep dark blues of almost dark, and the calmness of whites and greys. Patterns and bright colors feel loud and all wrong most days in my own quiet space. I want to take hold and shift all the things in my life around until they are just so.

But life doesn’t bend and fold itself into the strategic color coded maze which is our agenda. And don’t even get me started on the self created stress of feebly attempting to fit life into neatly labeled boxes. Here on my left we have work in this nice medium sized box and friends in the gold glittered on my right. Don’t forget about family and school on the shelf above.  A box for everything. A label maker’s heaven.

But the thing is, people and places, and the sharp curving lines of those life gone wrong kinda times just can’t be duct taped into our self assigned and allotted spaces. Life seems to have the habit of bursting out of duct taped boxes with silvery threads dangling down and every bit of too much spilling out over broken edges.

And you’re going places, meeting people, and building & building and striving & striving cause nobody’s gonna do it for ya and this is what we’re taught. But there’s hustle and then there’s frenzy.

The line is as dark as it is faint. Tip toe around that line and learn it well. Because on one side there is the sweetness of rest as well as good beautiful faith filled work. Cross over to the other and never enough will creep into your bones and grind them down to a dust. And as never enough distracts you, anxiety will steal away with the pieces of every good thing already in your hands as you sprint to get to the place where you think you’ll rest.

But there’s always another staircase to climb – I seem to find them around every corner. Moving and reappearing like Hogwarts come to life.

Jobs. Money. You know the drill. All those things. They’ll own you and run you. Move back to a kinder metric my friend. Those things will color your world in shades of envy laced with fear tinged by the thoughts of never being enough. How ugly that must be. How alone is it there? No wonder that place slowly fades to the color of nothing which is the living kind of death.

And then in a beautiful moment where I call upon my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder… Didn’t I stop measuring my success this way a long time ago? Maybe I need a reminder that this is all so fleeting and the real work, the real nitty gritty let’s get down to it and hustle is the much harder and truer work of knowing god & loving people. I mean that’s my metric and I swap it often for others, but I need to come back to this.

I don’t know if this lesson is just for me alone or perhaps also, another’s ears. To step back and survey how we are measuring our days and hours together. 

Breathe. Be present and aware of what you’re really after. Trust that god is with you. Moving from frenzy to hustle means repeatedly taking a step back and choosing to align with your truest self, which you know is quite the work after all.