I Needed to See the Ocean

On New Years Eve morning I sat around in my favorite long-sleeved tee and spent the morning listening to some of my best friends reflect on 2016 and dream about 2017. It's become our tradition to do this every New Years and it's one of my favorite things about these friends--their ability to listen, lean in, and push each other forward.

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When it came my turn to share it felt a little more heavy than normal--heavy like picking up something that makes me stronger rather than weighs me down. I think the reality of not only turning over a year, but turning over a decade (my 20s) was setting in.

Obedience. 

The word that came to the minds of my friends after I shared that morning was obedience. They felt like in my reflecting and dreaming and praying, it appeared really clear to them that, for me, 2017 and turning 30 was all about being obedient to things the Lord is calling me to and running hard after the things that fire me up.

The ocean has always been one of my favorite things. There's something so grand, yet so calming about it. So, having the chance to live at the beach for the first half of 2017 has been a gift to say the least. God can be so present and clear in my life when I'm in the car, deep in thought in the office, or slap in the middle of the night, but standing by the ocean, it's like He's standing there too. The rhythm of the waves crashing quiets my soul to a place where my breathing matches each break of the wave. And there in the peace, He is so near. 

I think God knew how much I'd need to see the ocean this year. 

I never thought I'd actually ever leave Nashville for good. That city is so very special to me. Not only does it hold some of my family, but it holds some of my dearest friends.... well... family.  It just holds alot of family. Yes, I can also tell you how much I love its culture--its ability to house the creatives, the musical, the passionate. Its ability to entertain and feed. But really, it's the people that made me think I'd never leave.

So, Nashville to California to Dallas in the same year? Yeah, it's a little crazy on paper. Today, I wrapped up my job as the Interim Student Ministries Director in Santa Barbara and this week I start the trek to Texas to join the IF:Gathering team (well, with some time in sweet Nashville first!). It sounds like an adventure for the crazy. For the indecisive. For the wandering.

Wander, I might, but clear direction marks the path. I have prayed for clarity more in the past 8 months of my life than I ever have before. Clarity to stay or go...to say yes or say no. Clarity for discernment. Clarity for direction, decisions, wisdom. And God has granted clarity every single time.

As I've stared at the ocean so many times this year, I've wondered a few things about the waves. As I watch them roll and build like the way our favorite songs rise to the very best part, I've wondered why it breaks and crashes before it comes to rest again. And then God reminded me a little something about obedience.

With the clarity comes obedience and with that obedience there's a required need for trust. It's as if the need for clarity builds and builds and builds and builds until it rises to the top and the need for trust kicks in. The kind of trust that doesn't feel smooth at first (aka usually involves tears) but settles into a deep surrender. The kind that feels like freedom.

On paper my year may look like pen scratches across a map of the U.S. but to me it feels like the deepest breath I've ever taken. The kind that exhales in rhythm with the waves and with every crash my soul whispers, "I trust you."

I think God knew how much I'd need to see the ocean this year.