Jun 26, 2011

I Saw the Sign: Part II

Deciding that calling Aunt Bonnie and hyperventilating on the phone to her was a better idea than sulking in despair in bed, I dialed her number and let it all out.

I kept emphasizing to her that I'm incredibly lonely, feel like I don't really have anyone here for comfort, and that I miss home -- but that I also feel like it's not my time to leave LA. My intuition keeps telling me to persevere, much like the other great women who followed their dreams (Oprah, Lady Gaga -- remember her "Your career won't wake up and tell you it doesn't love you anymore" quote?). Just. Keep. Going. 

I love to read interviews, and most everyone always comments how incredibly lonely they felt before they hit their stride. I don't know if it was because they were all 24 and going through their quarter-life crisis or if they were legitimately without anyone, but every time I go through these spells of complete and utter solitude, I think about those interviews to get my head right.

Bonnie put things in perspective for me. That life isn't a race. Texas is going to be there forever, whenever I want to go back is up to me. And more importantly, that this is a season of my life.

A season. Has a nice ring to it, yeah? Just like when I went through my four years of high school and four years of college, I'm embarking on the summer after my sophomore year in life. Probably the hardest season to go through, for sure, given we don't have the guidance of a school system, professors, and really even our parents at this point. We all just have to navigate ourselves in the best way possible, leaning on God for guidance.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friend Bailey, and she used the term "season" as well. She frequently reads my blog and asked if the reason I'm out here is because I think other people want me to be, not because I still want to be. This is something I have had to reaffirm several times in my mind. It's so easy when you're lonely and stressed to be like, "is it worth it?" and to wonder, "what do I really want?" 

Every time I sit down and pray for peace, the peace comes with knowing I'm exactly where I need to be, and what my dreams are. I've always wanted to move to Hollywood. And I've always wanted a TV show. I absolutely live to write, and one day I know that even if I don't have my own show, the journey of trying to achieve it will ultimately lead me to what God's plan is for my life.

So many of us focus on what was or what is to be; we think about what fun we had back in college and wish we could emulate those feelings of new-found freedom without the responsibility, or possibly the stirrings of having our first love and all the butterflies that come with it. Or we are impatient and want to reach the peak of our career immediately -- a place where we absolutely love our job and make more than enough money, or that we have that soulmate to come home to every night. In the midst of this, we fail to recognize what we're actually living through.

I had to step back from reminiscing and wishing to take inventory of my own life.

I'm 24. I have a stable job. I get to do what I love -- write. I'm taking a class towards my future. I live in a nice, safe part of town, have a reliable car, health insurance and my youth. I am mere 10 minute drive from the ocean, four hour trek to Vegas and a few hours away from the mountains when I want some snow. 

I have friends who care about me and a family who would do absolutely anything for me. These are not only things to be proud of, but things I need to enjoy while I have them -- not things to look back and wish that I had enjoyed when I did have them. 

For me, remembering what I want in my life has put everything in perspective. As my pastor noted last Sunday, we all go through a form of depression. We're all scared of that word because, well, it's not a nice word. It has serious connotations, and when you see envision someone that's depressed, you imagine someone who is absolutely never happy, ever. Fact of the matter is that we all experience a form of depression at some point. Life's trials can bring us down. It's natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling these emotions makes us all human!

Some of us might not need medication for it, and it may not last as long as others, but we all have things that tear up our heart and bring anxiety to our minds. It's when we understand that all the trials we go through are for a reason that we can learn and rise above our fears. 

Lastly, regarding the signs we all search for. We all want these black or white signs to appear and make decisions for us, almost for backup. Kind of like, "Well, if this happens, then I know God is telling me to do it."

Kind of like Gideon. Gideon had some decisions to make -- big ones (Judges 6:1-40). He wasn't sure if Israel should go to battle, so he placed a sheepskin on the ground and prayed to God. "Lord, if You are really going to help Israel win, then please show me. I will put this sheepskin on the ground for the night. If it is wet with dew, and the ground around it is dry, then I will know we should go into battle." The next morning, the sheepskin was wet but the ground around it was dry. But Gideon wanted reassurance, just for good measure that he was doing the right thing. "Lord, forgive me, please. But may I test You yet one more time? Tonight, could You please make the ground wet with dew, but keep the sheepskin dry?”

The next morning, the ground was wet and the sheepskin was dry. Without any reasonable doubt, Gideon know this was what God wanted him to do. (Thanks Aunt Boo for the story.)

Wouldn't life be so easy if we were able to communicate with God like that? "Hey God. I need to know if this guy I'm going on a date with is going to be worth it. If I wake up with a pimple, he isn't. If I wake up without, he is."

The fact is that we can communicate with God for guidance, but it's through our prayer and intuition. In reality, we're human. If God did give us signs the moment we asked for them, we'd find an excuse or reason to question it, wouldn't we? "Well, I did have bad skin all week. Last night I touched my face a lot. I used a new face lotion." And so on...

We want instant gratification, and unfortunately the lessons we need to learn or the signals we need aren't presented in a split second.

If we keep looking for "signs," they'll not only never guide us in the right direction, but we'll think everything is a sign! That's why following your heart and intuition is always the best bet. When I left Texas for California, I was nervous, but more so excited. And, more importantly, I wasn't worried. I wasn't worried about leaving my family or friends, because I knew they'd all be there to support me no matter what (they have and still do). I wasn't worried about finding a job because I knew God would provide (he did -- two days after I arrived). It was just something I knew, deep in my heart, had to happen. I know if I didn't leave, it wouldn't have felt right. I would have been content, comfortable and happy, but it would have felt like I was off the path I was meant to travel.

Granted, I know God would have stopped me from moving out here had I not had anything to learn or gain from living here. And, I know that if I wasn't supposed to make the move, my intuition would told me as such, and that God wouldn't have directed me here. That's the part I love the most.

Alas, I was California dreamin', and I still am. I know God has in store something amazing for all of our lives, and we need to allow ourselves to experience living through it all first. For the record, I found myself an awesome roommate the day after my meltdown. :)

Lastly, whenever you feel lonely and blue, Diane Sawyer has a magnificent quote to live by:

"Whenever you are blue or lonely or stricken by some humiliating thing you did, the cure and the hope is in caring about other people." 

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