I’m a person who loves order, structure, and sameness. I’ll wear the same outfits over and over again. Keep my house decorated the same way for years. Fix the same things for dinner repeatedly. Go to the same restaurants and order the same things.
I find comfort in having a plan and knowing what to expect. As much as I can, I avoid unknowns.
Moving from Kansas to Tennessee in May brought a lot of newness and unknowns into the life of a girl who craves sameness. Then, there were quite a few extra doses of new business, speaking, and media opportunities thrown into the mix. And this was all topped with a completely new way of doing family life.
What did this result in? An unsettled feeling.
For a few months, it felt like life didn’t have any ruts or familiar grooves. Instead, every footstep was like treading on brand-new soil.
There wasn’t a clear plan. There wasn’t organized structure. And there was a whole lot of new.
New kid’s activities.
A new life to navigate.
In the middle of reeling from all of this newness, I went to a get-together with new friends. As I sat there amongst this group and heard the friendly chatter around me, I suddenly realized how out of place I felt. Almost as if I was in a foreign land.
Everyone seemed to have memories forged together, roads traveled together, and life lived together. Everyone, that is, but me.
I tried to smile and engage in conversations and ask questions, but it felt like I was the odd one out. The only one who hadn’t been apart of all of these adventures and stories they were laughing and joking and teasing each other about.
My heart felt torn. I was so grateful that they’d been kind to invite me. But I also wanted to run away… back to where it was safe and known and comfortable.
We said our goodbyes, I got into my car, and cried all the way home.
The next morning, I got up early and sat on the couch trying to will myself to dive into the day’s to-do’s and responsibilities. I felt tired and lonely and just plain done with all the newness.
Jesse came downstairs and while he made his morning coffee, all my thoughts started jumbling out all over the place. (God knew what He was doing when He gave me a man who is so willing to listen to all my verbal processing!)
“I just want to go back to Kansas… where I don’t have to use the GPS to get to ALDI, where I don’t have to spend most of my social gatherings trying to remember whose name is who, and where I have memories of life lived with people.”
My husband graciously listened to all of this. Then he reminded me of why we’d made this move. It wasn’t for comfort and safety and sameness and familiarity.
Those things can be good, but they can also be stifling. And, in our case, we needed to jump out in faith. To forge new paths. To step outside our comfort zone. To be stretched.
The process would be hard and messy. We knew that. But the results would be worth it. We’d already seen fruit in our lives from unearthing new soil and how this was giving us fresh growth and inspiration.
He encouraged me to grieve what I’d lost and left behind. To acknowledge that it was hard. To talk about it with him and a few other good friends. But to not stay there and sulk.
Instead, he challenged me to embrace the unknown, welcome the new, and revel in the unexpected. This wouldn’t always be easy, but it would certainly make the journey much more enjoyable.
We continued to have conversations like this over the next few weeks. It took time. It took tears. It took prayers. It took safe people around me listening to me and letting me be honest with them about my struggles.
In the end, it has made such a difference for me these last two months. I’m finding that I’m feeling a lot less unsettled. I’m actually enjoying many of the new experiences. And I becoming much more spontaneous — which has completely surprised everyone who knows me well!
I love what Michael Hyatt says, “The most interesting things in life happen just outside your comfort zone.” It’s hard to step into the unknown. It’s often not fun to experience big changes. It’s usually difficult to face unfamiliar territory and new situations.
But if we embrace and welcome these changes, and newness, and unfamiliarity instead of just wishing we could play it safe and comfortable, a lot of unexpected joy and blessings can result.
For instance, in our situation, some of those blessings have been meeting new friends who are fast becoming very dear friends, opportunities for sports activities and advancement that our children didn’t have before, getting to see my husband thrive and find fulfillment in brand-new roles, and discovering that I actually can kind of enjoy being spontaneous.
Sometimes, changing your attitude can change your whole outlook on life!