It’s been 9 months since I last entered this space, 9 months since I released words out into the world.
And I’m not quite sure where to begin again, but my word for the year is “release,” so I think that includes writing something that makes it past margin-scribbles, notes, and journal-pages.
6 of those 9 months, I’ve been back in America. Returned from living in a place my heart loves so much, called into a brand-new season fitting for the word that rose to the surface in 2017. All things new. New job, new city, new trajectory of life. New place to call home, new darkness to contend with, new transition to walk through.
This year, the word release was uncovered by a tiny flashlight in my heart, shone through the eyes of a friend willing to ask the hard questions. We sat at Panera, but didn’t eat anything but the air between us in great big, gulping sighs. Transition is rough and it steals time—these 4 months living in Nashville feel like the blink of an eye. Both because I feel like I’ve done everything in them—learned the ropes of a profession I have next to no experience in, trained as an assistant and promoted as a manager; everything, and nothing—I hadn’t done much work in looking for a church, staying active with routine workouts, looking for community. My friend asked me how long it took for me to feel at home in India. My heart jumped with the word “immediately.” She scoffed and advised me to think about how long it really took. Part of me was at home immediately—descending into Delhi with tear-filled eyes, in awe of the fulfilled promise. But as the promise was taken apart piece by shattered piece, it didn’t feel like home anymore. So I responded to my friend, “About a year, I guess.”
And then I said, “You know, it really wasn’t until after I started allowing myself to dream a new dream did it start to feel like home again. The walls that were insulating my heart didn’t come down, roots didn’t form, until after I released the idea that India wasn’t forever. Until I let go of that perception of calling, I couldn’t be all there.”
Her brows furrowed. I get it. It’s a weird thing to say. But that small truth—realizing how releasing a long-held idea cemented in shame and “should” allowed me to be fully present in circumstances that I knew wouldn’t last forever—unleashed this idea of release over 2018 for me.
But in reverse.
You see, in India, that new dream that sang out like trumpets over Jericho, allowing me to more fully immerse myself in life there, was writing. And so, like the glass-house builder I tend to be, I set up walls around that dream. The next season, I laid out brick by brick, will be centered around writing. Think: getting a degree in it, working on a book, etc.
Clearly, that’s not where I am.
But let me tell you the story of how I got here: about a week after returning from India, I found myself staring at LinkedIn, scrolling through pages & pages of potential writing jobs. Most were sorted out because of education or experience requirements, but I stumbled upon one that looked promising. These words jumped out at me in the description: “Must have a passion for creative writing.”
YES. Sign. me. up.
I hustled through the application, writing way, way too much about how I wasn’t qualified but wanted to learn, how I didn’t know Adobe but could adapt the design elements I already knew, etc, etc, etc. I answered every question with a lengthy paragraph (shocker, I know…). I had an interview three days later, to which my mom drove me, because I hadn’t even driven in America yet! At the interview, I learned that the job would involve much more marketing than writing, but I was eager to learn it all. Two more days later, and I was offered the position.
So, I’m not spending my days writing like I thought I would be. But I tell that story because it is a reminder that, clearly, God had something else in mind. Something good. Something that pulled me in with writing, but keeps me falling in love with learning and figuring out all things Nissan and cars and marketing. Something better than I could’ve imagined for myself.
Knowing these things, and still my struggle to find joy in this season, my friend asked, What’s going to make it worth it? In full disclosure, I looked at her, bit my lip, and begrudgingly said, “Marriage.” We rabbit trailed there for awhile, and my heart got lodged in my throat for the rest of our conversation.
Days later, still processing, I texted her this bit about reverse—
So remember how I told you yesterday that I started feeling at home in India once I released that idea that it was forever? Well, I’m digging into the reading for Advent tonight in Jeremiah 31, and it’s covered in notes from the past two years, so of course me being me I go through those old journals, and the consistent word I’m seeing is “release.” So…what if it’s a bit of the opposite here in Nash? That I’m only gonna start fully putting down roots by releasing the idea that it isn’t forever?
I’m only going to start fully putting down roots by releasing the idea that it isn’t forever.
She had said it to me first, back there in a tiny Panera booth: “Nashville could be forever.” When I first met my company’s owner, on the cusp of taking over as manager, he said, “I hope this will be a long-term fit for you.” And out of my mouth came four little words so fast it was if I wasn’t the one speaking them: “I hope so too.”
Even now my eyes widen (as do all my friends’, because, well, um, I’m working at a car dealership in Nashville, TN…) at those words and the very fact that I said them.
Nashville could be forever.
But I’m realizing, releasing my heart into this new idea, that this is the very thing that will make this season worth it. It’s not what I get out of it; it’s not even all the effort I’m putting into it. What will make this season worth is just that: it fits.
The walls don’t insulate me. The boxes don’t remain unpacked. The roots don’t stay stunted in old soil. I learn its ins and outs, its ups and down, letting hows and whys and whens get answered in patient time. I slide into this new season like a second skin and wear it well with hope and glory and the light of Jesus shining even in the dark. I release the idea that it shouldn’t last forever, release the fear that the other dreams might not happen here, and I take hold of this small forever that it, that He holds me in.