The image above of the bear hugging California is an excellent representation of my feelings toward The Golden State, and that’s why I’m bursting at the seams with excitement to tell you that we’re moving back to San Diego!! I know, I know, didn’t we just move to Texas this year? Yes, we did. But I guess when I said “Texas Forever,” what I really meant was, “Texas For-Seven-Months.” My bad.
The reality is, we are thankful to have moved to Austin and thankful to be leaving. If you’re a regular reader, it’s no secret that this has been a challenging season for me, filled with depression, loneliness, and a significant amount of writer’s block. While I love to feel good and happy as often as possible, I wouldn’t trade our brief stint in Texas for anything.
With our upcoming return to the golden coast, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about what this season has taught me and what I want to carry back with me to California. These are the biggest lessons I’ve learned:
BE A TEAM
Brian and I immediately felt divided when we got to Austin. He was in his comfort zone (he grew up in Texas and went to UT), and I felt more out of place than ever before—Texas is like a foreign country to a California girl! My frustrations with Texas were difficult for him to process, and he even confessed to me that he thought I wasn’t making enough of an effort to get settled. I, in turn, accused him of having absolutely no empathy.
It was lonely enough being far from my comfort zone, but even more so when I felt I didn’t have the support of the person I’m closest to. We eventually realized that the way we were interacting with each other was not sustainable (I was trying to pretend I wasn’t sad; he was focusing too much on work because it was easier than making himself available to listen), and that we needed to be a team who loved and supported each other, even when life wasn’t all cookie-cutter perfect.
SIT IN THE SADNESS
My past is a basket full of negative coping mechanisms: overworking, starving myself, emotionally eating, binge drinking. I have a very addictive personality, and have dealt with my pain in tragic ways in the past. This time, however, I’m so thankful that God spared me from that. Sure, it was a lot more painful at the time (negative coping mechanisms have a beautiful way of numbing things…temporarily), but I wouldn’t trade one single crying-induced puffy-faced morning.
Feeling my true feelings was something I needed to learn to do, and this move gave me that opportunity. I felt the depth of my sadness and loneliness in a way I never did before, and it was a beautiful thing to see that it did not consume me. I made it through the storm—I learned how to sail in high winds by practicing gratitude for the small joys of each day.
DIG INTO COMMUNITY
By far, the best thing about living in Texas has been our Wednesday night small group. Every week, it is my biggest highlight. While I didn’t know any of the people in the group when we started, they immediately welcomed me in with open arms. Our group has such a rare combination of vulnerability, true friendship and genuine interest in knowing Jesus. We often spend way too much time talking at the beginning, but it’s not time wasted. Through it we’ve developed deep friendships and become prayer warriors in each others’ lives.
So often small groups are awkward and forced, but this one was different. We became real friends who cared for each other, grew closer to Jesus together, worked through our marriages together, and actually prayed for each other throughout the week. While I’m truly sad to say goodbye to that special group, I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned from them and create something like it with our San Diego community.
APPRECIATE THE COAST
I confess, after spending four years at Pepperdine and another four years post-college in Southern California, I became fairly numb to the beauty and privilege of living by the coast. Now, I realize just how silly I was. Living in Texas has given me brand new perspective. I see now just how much my soul craves the smell of salty sea air, the feeling of sand between my toes, and the refreshing chill that comes with coastal mornings and evenings.
Have you ever made a big life decision, only to return to the way things were before? How did it go?