obedience? direction? [a post about stuff i don’t know how to summarize in a title.]

I’ve been thinking a lot lately – reflecting on what all has happened in the last four months since I made the move to Lexington. What I find interesting is the emotions that are conjured by being in the cities that used to be home. After all, I’m in Berea once a week (at least) for church, and I usually end up in Richmond at some point, and I find my memories of them – or at least how my brain categorizes them – to be sort of odd.

Especially Berea. Man, Berea. I grew up there, lived with my parents for a long time there (21 years!) and made a lot of friends and a lot of memories there. I still enjoy my trips there a lot, because in some ways, it still is home…that is, I have so many connections there that it feels like a go-to if, heaven forbid, everything goes wrong in Lexington.

But Richmond just feels like a black hole sometimes.

If you’ll remember, the week I moved up to Lexington was the week that my then-girlfriend and I broke up. For the longest time, every trip back to Richmond felt like a trip to hell, and let me explain…

At that point in life, I was pretty isolated. I wrote a blog about it then – I was stretched between Lexington, Berea, and Richmond; I was working a ton, and led a life group once a week in Berea; and most of my friends lived in Lexington. So this odd dynamic formed to where I was basically doing church in Berea, socializing in Lexington, and sleeping in Richmond. But when I say socializing, it was odd because my friends were there, but they were friends I didn’t really do life with. I talked to people in the shop but I found myself just going home after work a lot instead of staying in Lexington to socialize with people.
I was really alone.

Those few months I spent working in Lexington and living in Richmond were realistically some of the best and worst months of my life. On one hand, I had a job I loved (and still love) and I was making friends and I was head over heels for the girl I was with. But on the other, I was lonely, tired, confused, my relationship ended up going to hell, and I was really directionless.

I felt stuck.

I felt like I had no idea where I was going – fresh out of college at a job that at times made it difficult to make any sort of financial progress, had no friends in the city where I lived, I spent my days and nights eating donuts and playing FIFA sitting Indian-style in front of the television in my brother’s apartment.
I played soccer when I had nothing else to do, I took naps and went to the local coffee shop in Richmond, went to the library sometimes, took a run…

But I wasn’t going anywhere. Man, I was clueless. I still don’t know how I made it through those months.

There was something in me that thought I was supposed to be in Lexington. Now, hear me here…I’ve never been the type to think that God is going to drag us kicking and screaming in whatever geographic location He wants in. I don’t think that the fate of humankind (or even an individual’s fate) hinges on whether we live in one city or another.

But maybe I do just a little bit.

I think eventually life could have made sense if I’d stayed in Richmond or even Berea.

But here’s what happened when I moved to Lexington: I had to meet with a landlord for the first time ever to view a house. I had to sign a lease for the first time ever. I had to talk to a gas company about activating gas so we could have heat for the first time ever. I had to go to the utility company to get utilities. I had to create a system for keeping up with bills. I had (well, chose) to get cable connected and hooked up for the first time. I started learning about deadlines with bills and learning what it meant to cut certain costs so that I could pay them. I started getting used to living with other people and learning how their experiences shaped how they live with people and how that differs from my own experience.

I had a hard breakup that forced me to face my own selfishness and insecurity in a whole new way.

Then I got a promotion at work and I had to start making phone calls or writing emails or meeting people that previously would have made me shrink in fear. I had to start making choices that affected more people than I’m used to affecting. I got to experience frustration and triumph in a whole new way in the context of work.

And I started talking to people face-to-face. Man, let me tell you something – I’m so out of practice with that! I’ve had two or three lunches/dinners/drinks with friends in the last week or so and I’ve realized that socializing isn’t as forced as I used to think it was.

I’ve probably lost a million events in the process of writing this, but basically, what it boils down to is that I think God has used my move to Lexington for sanctification.

Before I moved here, I was plagued by what I call Youngest Syndrome, which is basically failing to take any initiative and make any decisions because there’s always someone – parents or older siblings – to make them for me. But fortunately I’m learning some life skills and experiences, and learning that the things I used to think were scary or intimidating aren’t so bad. It’s like I’ve had automatic confidence pumped into me because of some of my circumstances.
So the settling process has birthed a ton of confidence in me, which is good…but now I think the next step is to move forward. If Richmond was a directionless place, Lexington is the complete opposite. I know part of why I moved here – I think God wants me to plant a church. That’s the direction I’m heading in. And I think I wrote about this lately – how when you’re 23, at some point you have to come to a point at which you stop wandering and realize that every step is a destination. That’s right now for me.

So I’ve been pondering this question: Jesus, what does obedience look like right now? What do You want me to do, and how do you want me to move toward that?
Here’s what I believe the answer is –

A few months ago, I was in church and Jesus stopped me and told me to write in the back of my Bible (you know, where they throw in all those extra blank pages…thanks, ESV!) and here’s what He said…
Open your life to others – your home and your time.
Open your bible with others.
Offer your life for others.

That’s the command. Here we go. Every step a destination.

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