This week was my fourth anniversary of moving to a new state and starting over in many areas of life. Five years ago, everyone around me seemed to be growing and moving up in life while I felt stuck in old habits and stalled dreams. A relationship had ended, my job didn’t feel exciting or progressive anymore, and my friends were gradually leaving town for other jobs or spouses. I needed change, but I was also scared to make any real changes in my life, nor did I know how to begin.
Over the course of a year, God patiently whispered a plan:
On a visit to our company’s main office where I worked, my boss casually offered to move me to his office in Atlanta to work more effectively with our team in person. I thanked him for the offer but said I wasn’t ready to leave my home.
Having completed their advanced degrees or gotten their first few years’ worth of work experience, many friends were leaving town in pursuit of better jobs. I didn’t think too much of it – the ebb and flow of living in a university town means people come and go every few years – until a friend I had recently grown close with mentioned she was also looking for jobs elsewhere. Driving home from church, I wondered: Do I have the courage it takes to leave our comfortable town? Where would I go? Do I look for a new job? This is exhausting to even think about. But I’m thinking about it.
Then the ex got engaged. It was definitely time for something different in life.
Sitting in church a couple Sundays later, the pastor spoke about Matthew 7:7:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Okay, but I don’t know what I want besides a change that’s going to bring my life up out of the lonely, boring, tear-stained mess it has become. What do I even ask for?
A week later while watching a baseball game with a co-worker, she revealed that she would be transferring to the Atlanta office soon. “Really? How did you manage that?” I inquired.
Her reply was like that moment when you’re tuning a radio and the scratchy static suddenly quiets to give way to a crystal-clear voice: “I asked our supervisor, and she said yes.”
She asked. She asked!
God wasn’t whispering anymore. I heard Him loud and clear.
One week later, I asked for and received a transfer too, and began preparations to move.
For my birthday this year, a dear friend gave me a book by about thoughts to live by. On my fourth anniversary of becoming an Atlantan, I finally opened it and found this in the first story:
“Why can’t we get a new experience? It takes courage. It means believing that we are deserving of a better experience in life that we have had. It requires intentionality. It means we have to create a plan and find the discipline to follow that plan sure that our experiences will be better. It involves accountability. We have to be willing to say what we want and ask those around us who can help us achieve our goals to partner with us in making our new experience richer and more life-affirming. Getting a new experience is born of hope that life is ultimately good and that we can experience that good in our lives.” – Candace McKibben, Take Heart
Four years ago I asked God for a new experience, and man oh man, have I received it: a four-legged love who licks me to pieces every time I come home, four wheels that rolled me to a new city, for addresses that I’ve called home since July 14, 2012, and almost twenty-FOUR months of marriage to a sweet guy who wouldn’t let me go.
Four challenging but happy years in Atlanta, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has made them the richest and most life-affirming yet.