For the Moments You're Tempted to Chase Something Better

Originally published Tuesday, 08 October 2013.

There hasn't been a day in my 20s when I haven't asked myself: what on earth am I still doing here?

I'm through with my M.A. credentials. In fact, I walked across the graduation platform a year and a half ago.

Back then, I was supervising a local restaurant. Working nights made the whole full-time worker/full-time student bit of my life manageable (though my social life was hanging by a frayed thread set on fire). Those years I spent at my restaurant job, I wasted. Not using any of the skills or talents I had dedicated two additional years of study to. Not developing any life skill or moving forward at all.

Or so I thought.

Still, I lived a sort of panic-stricken life. The "I'm not doing enough or ever going to amount to anything" looked like this:

Most of my friends live in Washington or New York. 

I should move to Washington or New York. 

I've wanted to be a New York writer all of my life. Shouldn't I be making moves and plans all on my own?

What am I doing in Virginia Beach?

What if I don't accomplish all of these things before I marry/have kids/turn thirty/die?

What if I never marry or have kids?

What if I'm stuck here,in this unforgiving job, in this stupid career forever?


Most nights, I'd slide into my sheets totally disgruntled and discouraged. I didn't have time to date. Or have friends. Or go home for the weekends. All of my other friends had real jobs, real lives and real families. 

Why couldn't I be more like them?

But then I wake up, stir the Splenda in my coffee and decide to stay a little longer. At least until the coffee cools. Because I think, in spite of everything, tiny little roots in my life that are reaching through the ground.  

Underneath it all, I knew I had been called here. And as much as I wanted to leave, I stayed.

It's been three years since I've moved to Virginia Beach. Three years of planting. Three years of yearning for a better job. Yearning for a better life. Yearning for friends, dates, people to cook for. A beautiful church community.

Three years, and my degree is finished. Three years, and I no longer work nights in a restaurant. Three years, and I have a church and a community where I belong. Three years, and it seems that harvest-time is here.

Three years, and I'm so glad I stayed put.

I think about my creative coworkers and our trips to Starbucks. I think about how they challenge me to keep writing and to keep wading into this pool of creativity and life with meaning.

I think about my church, and my pastor who cries during every sermon.

I think about the mentors who have helped me through my hurts. And the ladies who are hurting here who tell me their stories and let me help them with their own heartbreaks.

What would I have missed if I had just given up?

I'm writing this today, because I have heard many people (like me) say it. I've heard them say that they want to give up. I've witness them pack up their U-Hauls and ship across the country. Not following a calling, but escaping their problems. Giving up when they're heartbroken, or when work stinks, or when they're lonely.

Just like me.

But the thing is, sisters, when you uproot in the false name of chasing your dreams, it's you who is actually being chased. Chased by the problems that nip at your heels. The problems that you struggle with don't leave you because you move to a different geographical location.

I'm not saying that moving is bad. I know we can't escape it. I know we get called to different jobs. We get promoted. Our family circumstances change, or we sometimes find ourselves in potentially dangerous or threatening circumstances. That's not really the type of move I'm talking about.

I'm talking about wanting to move away from a place where you were called. I'm talking about moving to a different city, state or apartment because you feel that it will solve your problems.

It won't.

How are we supposed to bloom where we're planted if we just keep uprooting ourselves? Uprooting yourself in the name of finding a spouse, friends, or a better job. How are we supposed to be successful if we just give up and leave?

Maybe this is what life with Christ looks like. Having all of the freedom in the world to move to places like New York, or Nashville, and yet–being thankful for the roots in the ground. Being thankful for the community around you, and learning to be content in all circumstances.

What do you think, sisters? If you know you're called to a place but are met with opposition or struggles, is it better to leave? What are the benefits of sticking around a place where you're uncertain of your calling or purpose? Have you ever felt like I have? Leave a comment below!

photo credit: -Charlotte Gonzalez- via photopin cc