Almost two years in St. Petersburg!! Can you believe it? I can’t.
It’s like a whirlwind came through and wiped out the last year and a half of my life. Anyone else feel this way? Where did 2018 go? Did it even really exist? I’d like to forget a few things to be honest, but then again, I learned a great deal about living here and about myself. So as fast as it came and went, there is definitely a take-away.
Florida life has been, well, interesting. Transition periods are weird. You really don’t know what to expect from them at all. You may think you know, but you don’t. In truth, I came down here with zero expectations and a hopeful attitude. Riding high on life like, “Lord, whatcha got for me? Let’s do this!”
Then one little hard thing after the next little hard thing, the testing of my faith and handling it oh, so poorly, I soon found myself in a dark place. I was angry, wanting to give up, move back home, and forget this all ever happened. Making matters worse by drinking more than usual, leading into one terrible distraction after the next. I thought to myself, “Am I really not able to handle my life when things get difficult?” I started to feel like I was five years old, throwing a tantrum of self destructive behavior because this wasn’t what I expected to happen… and apparently I had some expectations after all.
After months and months of allowing no real progress to take place here, I finally admitted and accepted the fact that I was actually angry with God and myself. Even though I knew I was having these feelings, something happens when you admit it out loud, confirm it and repent. Only recently have I accepted God’s forgiveness, which is always freely given, deep in my heart and I’ve started forgiving myself, which is more of a process.
So, here I am, back in the swing of things and starting very much over, again. To keep it simple, these are some things that I’ve learned since I took that leap of faith almost two years ago.
- I DO NOT handle change well. Surprise! Who knew?
- Florida has more critters than I ever thought. All of which I’m absolutely certain will survive nuclear war. Fleas, rats, roaches and Twinkies will be the only things left.
- I am the most stressed-out person. Not just regular stressed, I’m a special kind of stressed. I pretty much create my own personal PTSD.
- The BEST physical solutions to managing my stress is balanced eating, consistent exercise, and massage therapy. All of which I’ve neglected since I’ve moved here.
- I do not give myself any grace. I focus too much on all the mistakes I make, and not what I have accomplished. Moving 1200 miles away from home with $2000 and a prayer was kind of a big deal. Can I not be so hard on myself, please? Thank you.
- I am stronger than I think I am, and I don’t give up! If it’s right in my heart, I continue to press on forward. I will persevere through some awful situations, but unfortunately, I have a pretty bad attitude doing it. Things are SO much easier to go through with a positive attitude. Lesson learned.
- Walking away from God will lead you no where. In my own strength I can do nothing; in Christ I can do all things by him who strengthens me. When I am far away from the Lord I start to feel the most uncertain and unstable.
- People will show up to help you when you really need it. The amount of help I have received in the past few years, physically and emotionally, is absolutely astonishing. A true gift from God. My gratitude cannot even be expressed into words.
- My mom is the only person I trust with the worst parts of me. The parts where I rant and rave like a lunatic and uncontrollably let words spew out of my mouth making no logical sense whatsoever. Yeah. All those “flying off the handle” moments were saved for mom. Sorry, mom, and thank you.
- Forgiveness is freedom, forgiving yourself is life giving. Let all the things in the past go, and it will make room for real progress to grow. (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.)
Old (bad) habits die hard, guys. It’s so easy to fall back into them because they’re familiar, and we know how to handle them, and they’re comfortable. Real change, though, comes from some radical stuff. It’s bold, scary, difficult, and complicated. It takes a lot of faith and trust, and a whole lot of surrendering.
I feel like I haven’t given this new life in Florida a real chance. I’m continuing to make lifestyle changes for the better. I’ve gotten back into the Word, reactivated my prayer life, started doing hot yoga and work out challenges, taking supplements and eating MUCH better. This is the stuff I love, guys. This is the stuff that keeps me balanced and whole.
I am still learning how to take hold of my negative thoughts and attitudes when difficult situations arise. I am still learning how to hold onto my joy no matter the circumstances. I am forever learning to seek God in all things, good and bad. I’m a work in progress. It might be imperfect progress, but it’s progress nonetheless!
Cheers to new beginnings!