Sometimes a fresh start doesn’t feel fresh

A year ago we walked out of one life and into another. We needed a fresh start.

Four months into our fresh start things didn’t feel so fresh.

Our fresh start felt more like a slap in the face with a cold, smelly, dead fish.

We weren’t naive, though. We knew it would be hard.

I just didn’t think it would be this kind of hard.

What really stinks about life sometimes is that what is good for you doesn’t always feel good. This last year has been good for our family but it certainly has not always felt good. I’m sure you’ve had some experience with this type of growth. It’s probably my age or the larger amounts of free time I had when we first moved in with my parents, but I have done a lot of thinking. Introspective thinking. Thinking about who I am and how I got where I am, and I don’t mean where I am on the map. I found myself truly thinking about regrets from my past. I’m happy that I don’t have many, and none  involve anything terrible. Really, all of my dissatisfaction came from character issues. It wasn’t what I did that I lamented, it was who I was.

That stung, and more than a little.

The awesome thing about moving to a new city is that you get to be someone new. Not entirely new, not name-changed new (although if that’s what you need you’ll get no judgement here) just ‘I’m-braver-than-I-used-to-be’ new. We moved to Knoxville 5 years and 2 babies into our marriage. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done but the best thing, too. I can remember driving on I-40 for the first time in my little black Volvo station wagon just praying that I didn’t get creamed by the semi’s that were barreling along all around me. My radio didn’t work so I just sang at the top of my lungs to my little ones, flapping my elbows to release nervous tension.

That made me a little braver about life.

Once you do one thing that takes courage you can build on that, and build on the next thing and keep going until you’re a super audacious person who can drive on I-75 or I-40 or take your children to the zoo by yourself or walk up to strangers and introduce yourself.

Moving gives you a chance to push the reset button.

Sometimes, though, you don’t want to set the reset button. Sometimes you like it right where you are and you’re happy with the friends you’ve had who have  seen your babies born and grow and who love you even when you do really goofy things like quit answering your phone for a time. Sometimes moving feels like having part of you packed in a box and then lost in a storage unit. Sometimes moving hurts.

Who cares if you’re courageous when you’re in pain?

Then you cry a little, and you hug your  hubby and your babies who aren’t babies anymore, and that makes you remember why you were brave in the first place.

Courage isn’t always for us.

You start building on those little acts of bravery until you remember who you are.

If moving away gives you a chance to start over, then what does moving back home do?

Truth: Nothing brings out courage like running into friends from high school you haven’t seen since graduation.

Moving back home, for me, gave me a chance to forgive myself, to see my ‘character flaws’ in light of what they really were: youthful inexperience. Of course my character needed work when I was 19. I’ve learned more about grace in the past year than in my entire Christian life. I’ve been able to put into perspective the mistakes I made and give myself a good dose of grace. Moving back home, specifically into my childhood home, gave me a chance to remember the good things about me. Like, I was always kind of a misfit, but the kind of misfit that fit anywhere. I liked hanging out with older neighbors, the only adults I rolled my eyes at were my parents, and I was friends with everyone from cheerleaders to dog-collar, mohawk wearing kids. I like being a misfit and now I remember that!

Moving, whether it’s away from or back to, is an opportunity to get to know a new side of yourself.

I think that’s what this blog is;  a small act of bravery, the chance for me to get to know a new side of myself. I have deep love for If Mama Ain’t Happy, but every time I went there I was reminded of all the things I meant to do (and who I missed and where I used to be) and it kept me trapped in a little way.

I think everyone can get bogged down in who they were, stuck in a pattern of behavior. Everyone longs for transformation and renewal. I don’t think you have to move to a new city to get that fresh start. Go to a different grocery store or library. Join a new bible study. Dig a little deeper into who God says you are. Start something you’ve always wanted to. Run with the idea that wakes you up in the night (as long as it doesn’t involve someone you’ve met on the internet). Just go and do and build on that one small thing. Before you know it you’ll be someone’s hero.

Be brave, misfits of the world! Be brave!