This month makes 6 years since I moved away from the place I was born, raised and lived all of my life to embark on a new life and new journey. Before you go commending me for being all brave and inspiring please know that I went kicking and screaming (and literally crying) as I took the 10 hour drive from Miami to Atlanta.
I suppose I should give you a little bit of context. At that point in my life I was not the new creature in Christ that you all have become acquainted with through my posts. I was still the old Rita-knowing of God but not fully living for Him or living a life He would be pleased with.I was still clubbing, drinking, indulging in the occasional recreational drug and fornicating among other things. I was also still on again off again with my boyfriend of almost 10 years in a relationship that I knew could be destructive for the both of us if we continued. I will say this though: I could tell I was at a point of transition and could feel God tugging on me more and more during this time. I like to call it a crossroads of sorts because it’s as if 2 paths were set before me, and I had to eventually choose which path I would go down.
I had just graduated from college, and the next step for me was law school. Everything was going great until my world SEEMED to come crashing down. I had already decided that I was going to attend law school in Houston, TX, so I had paid half of my seat deposit for the school I would be attending, sent off a money order for the deposit for what was supposed to be my new apartment, and set the appointment to have my car shipped. As it was getting closer to orientation, however, I realized the school had not yet sent me the letter they promised to send when it was time to pay the second half of my seat deposit to secure my spot in school. So,I called the school and to my surprise, they said that they had already sent the letter. As a matter of fact, the deadline to pay was the day before my phone call, and they had already given my seat away to someone on the waiting list. I was CRUSHED to say the least. I cried, and I called everyone I could think of to help and I cried some more, and I prayed, and I cried some more. I tried to do everything I could to get the school to give me my seat back but to no avail. A friend suggested calling other schools that I had received acceptance letters from to see if my seat was still available. At this point, it was pretty late in the game, and besides I did not want to go anywhere else. I had specifically chose to go to the school in Houston because of the party scene and the potential guys I would meet (priorities definitely in order right? LOL) Anywho, I finally gave in and the school I had applied to in Atlanta was my last and only option. I REALLY did not want to come to Atlanta guys. Like REALLY didn’t. Everyone moved from Miami to Atlanta, and I did not want to see the same old faces. At this point, however, I really didn’t have a choice.
So on August 8th, 2011 I packed everything I could fit in my 2-door Solara and listened to gospel music as I cried the entire drive to Atlanta. A mix of emotions flooded over me. On the one hand I was completely and utterly terrified because I had never done anything like this before, and I had no idea what to expect. On the other hand, I had an incredible peace and a bit of excitement because I just knew deep down inside that something good was on the other side of this, and I just had to see what it was.
Now, it’s 6 years later, and I can say with certainty that taking that big step and making a change was the 3rd best decision I’ve ever made in my life (1st was accepting Jesus, 2nd was saying Yes to my husband). With that one change, so much has changed for the better for me, and I know that was a catalyst for it all. Has it always been unicorns and rainbows? Nah. But I am much braver, much stronger and more dependent on God as a result. I’ve learned so much from that major event in my life, and I want to share it in hopes that it adds fuel to a fire that I know is already burning on the inside of you. Your change may not be a move to a new city, but there is more than likely something on the inside of you that’s begging for a change, a reset, a chance to move into your MORE. So here’s what I learned:
1. You don’t have to wait for a big change. Instead, be the change.
Many times I hear people say if they could just get away and move to a new city then everything would be different. Yes, a move to a new city like in my case could be very beneficial for some however, if you take the same mindset, nothing is changing except your location. That was actually my case until God came in and interceded. For the first 6 months while I was in Atlanta, I was up to my same old tricks and headed down the same old path. I tried my hardest to make new friends to club and drink with hoping to become a familiar face in the Atlanta nightlife all the while telling myself that I would eventually find a church home. I was bound to end up in the same predicament I was in back home, but in February of that next year by the grace of God I got myself planted in a church, God surrounded me with a godly community and He was able to cultivate me from there. The point is though, I had to be the one to make the decision that I wanted to do things differently this time around. So stop waiting for a big move, a new year, a new month, a new age or whatever else. If you want to move, go for it. You want to take on that new business, I’m here for it! You want to put an end to that unhealthy relationship and try things God’s way, then do that. But don’t sit around and wait for anyone to make it happen for you, and don’t expect to get new results with an old mindset.
2. Change will require a new perspective
I’m always amazed at the fact that when the 12 spies came back to give a report about what they had witnessed in the Promised Land, (Numbers 13:25-33) All 12 had seen the exact same thing yet Joshua and Caleb were the only two who said "We can surely take it" The other 10 saw themselves as "grasshoppers". So what caused one group of people to be so sure of a victory and another so convinced of a defeat? PERSPECTIVE. Joshua and Caleb didn't focus on the obstacles, only the promise that was set before them. The other 10 spies however, focused on the problem and counted themselves out before even trying. Well guess who were the only 2 from their generation to enter into the Promised Land? Yup, Joshua and Caleb...even though it was PROMISED to all of them. The promises of God are not automatic. They are contingent upon you doing something, and the only way you are going to do something is if you see it in its correct light which is however God sees it. Perspective kept an entire generation out of the promised land. Don’t let negative thoughts, doubt, worry, an old way of thinking or anything else keep you from yours.
3. You may have to let go of some people and some people may let go of you
This one is the toughest for most people, I know it was for me. But the reality is that everyone you see around you right now are not meant to go with you to your destination. Everyone isn’t going to understand what you’re trying to do, and you know what? That’s ok. Did you know that rockets have multiple stages? The higher they climb, the more mass they drop off because less weight means that they can climb higher and travel faster. We can learn something from the rocket. In order to reach the higher heights we are being called to, we are going to have to be willing to say goodbye to some of the weight that is holding us back in the form of people. This doesn't mean that we no longer love them or that we have anything against them. It just means that we owe it to our future self to do whatever it takes to become her. Remember I mentioned the boyfriend I had of almost 10 years? Before, I could have never imagined letting him go. We knew all of each other's secrets, we were there for all of the big moments in each other's lives, and when we needed each other we were always there for one another. We were honestly more like best friends. My family was like his family and vice versa, and our lives were so very much intertwined. Back then, I didn't even think a marriage union could be closer than what we had. Yet way deep down on the inside of me I just knew that where I was going he could not go and it haunted me for a while. I felt guilty, I tried hard to force it, and I even double backed a few times, but it wasn't until I completely severed all ties that I was able to fully walk into my MORE.
Change is hard. Big change is even harder; I won't sugarcoat that, but if you are careful to follow God’s leading and His tugging on your heart I promise He will not lead you astray. Proverbs 3:5 says to “lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path.” So much was waiting for me on the other side of making this big change. My purpose was waiting, my husband was waiting, my baby was waiting, my friends were waiting, my very salvation was waiting. What if I had never taken that step out of fear, disobedience or whatever else?
Come out of your comfort zone. Don’t let all of that potential go to waste. Let go of the past and embrace your future. Let go of what was and reach out for what can be.
Still Hidden in Him,