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Don’t Forget to Look Up

Don’t Forget to Look Up

A while back I was filling out one of those social networking profiles, and I wrote that I hadn’t found good sushi in New York yet. I guess somewhere in the back on my mind I didn’t want to find good sushi. You see, I love sushi at home in Tennessee. I love going to my favorite local place with my dad and my sister (and sometimes good friends) and getting the Las Vegas and Yum Yum Rolls. I love the good conversation and the familiarity. Good sushi equals home and comfort; bad sushi equals not home and discomfort. So I’ve only half-heartedly looked, because I wasn’t ready to become comfortable here. I wasn’t ready to call New York “home.”

The last few weeks—months if I’m really honest—of my life have been a series of uncertainties mixed with a heavy dose of discontentment. I have realized (again) how terrible I am at committing myself to anything for longer than a year. Since graduation three years ago, I’ve made two major moves and two extreme career changes. One day a friend called me and asked me what exactly I was running from. I’m sure I made up some excuse or probably attempted to justify my actions, but she was right. I was running.

I guess, in a way, I’ve always been running. From what, I’m not quite sure—I’ve got a great family, the world’s best friends, a fantastic home church, etc. To some girls (especially single, 25-year-old girls) settling down is crucial. And yes, one day I’ll probably want that. But I’ll be the first to admit, the idea of doing the same thing every day for the rest of my life scares me. And that’s not to say that owning a house and having a real career and getting married means the adventures stop—I know this is totally untrue. I just think I have a fear of monotony. I am your classic escapist.

I’ve known this about myself for a long time, but hadn’t quite grasped it until recently. When I’m visiting Tennessee, I want to be in my beloved city of New York. When I’m in New York, I feel like I’m missing so much in Tennessee. I’ve always been one to focus on what’s next, what adventure God’s going to bring me (or send me on) after this one. While that’s not inherently bad, I forget to enjoy the moment. I focus on the future so I don’t have to think about the present. Some days I get so consumed with my job and my life (which is surprisingly monotonous—oh, the irony) that I forget where I am. I forget to look up. I forget to be grateful that I got exactly what I asked for, and I need to enjoy my stay in New York City while it lasts.

In “Chocolate,” a song by Snow Patrol, the band declares, “All these places feel like home.” I realized that “home” is relative. The only stability in my life is my relationship with God, and He must be enough. If I can become content with Him, my surroundings don’t have much bearing on my perspective or attitude. I am in the process of understanding what Paul spoke of in his letter to the people at Philippi when he claims, “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12, TNIV). Paul was arrested and beaten and broken and homeless and hungry all for the sake of following Christ, and yet he was still content. He knew his security was in Jesus, not any outward circumstance. More than anything, I yearn to find my satisfaction in Him—not my home, job, money (or lack thereof), relationships, dreams or anything else I attempt to control. Jesus is my refuge, my solid ground, my only hope.

This morning I woke up and felt that something had shifted. My perspective had changed—I was happy to be alive and happy to go to work. I walked up the stairs from the subway, and I just stopped and looked up. Surrounded by metal and tall buildings and hordes of people with their own agendas, I was delighted.

“Be here now,” He whispered.

Today at work we ordered sushi for lunch. And it was incredible.

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