There are three things that happen when I am avoiding something that is bringing me stress, or when I let fear take the reins.
- I stop writing, doing devotionals, and basically halt anything that would cause me to pause, breathe, and think about how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way.
- I throw any semblance of routine out the window. Why continue to make coffee in the mornings and take time to write in the morning and do my hair when I can creep on social media & avoid all feelings?!?!?!?!
- I am mean to the people I love most - mainly my mom. Which means I fight & I get unnecessarily upset about little things - like how a driver’s abstract HAS to be obtained when I come home.
These tell tale signs tell me two things: first, that I need to get my life together, and two, that I am trying to control situations - but more than that, I’m letting fear control the situation.
Life currently feels exciting and terrifying, all at once.
In the last month and a half, I threw the plan I’ve been clinging to since February out the window, and declared a cross country move was in order, for a dream job with a dream organization. The excitement of a new place, new people, new skills, new learnings, new growth, new adventures, & new cafes took over. There were many exclamation marks used to describe my new life plan. More than that, I felt a deep peace about the decision.
And yet, in a surprise to no one, I am absolutely petrified. I let the fear take over, so now I am feeling paralyzed by all the changes the next few months hold.
It is a guarantee that things will change greatly, and this guarantee is not just because I am moving provinces away from the people and places I call home, but because this is just the guarantee life holds: seasons change. The weather changes. Styles change. And we change. Whether you like it or not, things change: a move just fast tracks that nagging fear feeling that can accompany change.
After weeks of avoiding the fear in my chest & playing it off with great excitement and exuberance for this upcoming life adventure, the nagging fear crept to the surface. I finally whittled down the fear to this: I just have one giant case of FOMO. The fear of missing out. The fear that saying yes to Edmonton meant saying no to all the things & people I love in Ontario.
Saying yes to Edmonton does mean saying no, and it means saying no to a lot of r things: like Calvary campfires, being a cheerleader at graduations, attending weddings, spontaneous road trip adventures and family dinners and family game nights. No to Burger Bar, living a transit ride away from everyone I love. Volunteering at fundraising dinners, being involved in a church I love. No to dinner table lingering conversations, where Fred gets mad because we’ve somehow extended our dinner time an hour past the time we were supposed to finish. No to Ryerson Rams games and spontaneous sleepovers after an evening of tubing. It meant saying no to living with a good friend, no to plans I was excited about.
I knew saying yes to Edmonton meant saying no to many other things, but it doesn’t make saying no any easier.
Last week, I pulled off to this secret spot I’ve found to watch sunsets in Edmonton. As the sun moved down and the sky became a bright orange, I grieved all of those no’s, quietly letting my iron-like grip release from the picture of what I thought my life would be.
Over and over, I hear stories of how God is entirely faithful. How He doesn’t lead his children halfway. How God cares about the details of our lives. Despite my iron like grip on how I would prefer my life to have turned out, I see these truths continually manifested in my own life. I know it to be immensely true - I can trace God’s faithfulness in my life, like the detailed stitching in my favourite quilt.
I am constantly saying: this is not the life I imagined, pictured, or even wanted at certain points of my life, but I’m thankful that God knew better and was faithful to carry it out, even when I didn’t want to listen and added, “PS” to every prayer I prayed.
As I was quietly trying to open my hands to receive whatever this next chapter, this next step, this next adventure has for me, it slowly dawned on me that despite my fear of missing out and all of the saying no, there will be many things in Edmonton that I can say yes to.
Saying yes to Alberta means more road trips with loud music, loud giggles, and deep questions. There will be campfires and community, more nights of sitting on the kitchen floor, putting peanut butter on our oreos before we dip them into milk. There will be many more mountain adventures and maybe I will even say yes to a pair of hiking boots. There will be community, accountability, and lingering dinner table conversations here, too. There will be more adventures at 11:15 pm, more pranks to be pulled, more laughs to be had and more tears to choke back.
And if staying in Alberta means saying yes to all of that, then staying feels less scary and more hopeful.
Life is still terrifying, but it has more hope.