I am nothing, if not contradictory

I wrote this post a couple of months ago …and even though it’s just seeing the light of day now, it’s still entirely true. If you haven’t already heard, we’re moving to Seattle in a week and a half – and I’m still feeling the pain and the pull of every contradiction under the sun. 

hotel-near-seattle-space-needle

I am nothing, if not contradictory.

You see, my husband had a big meeting this morning – a big meeting that could mean a big promotion and an even bigger move, hundreds of miles away, for our family. The idea of all these “big things” have been on the back burner of our lives for a while: I’ve known that we might eventually make a move out of the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve known that I can do what I do anywhere, and that if one of those dream opportunities for him came along, we’d pack our bags.

But I didn’t expect it to happen after just having moved a year and a half ago, right when we’re starting to feel settled and plugged into and rooted in a place that feels so terribly us.

So the end result is that what my mouth says and what my heart actually feels, and what I’m supposed to believe about the situation and what I actually believe about the situation, are completely contradictory. And there’s not even an offer on the table yet.

This, for instance, is how I want to respond:

“Yay!”

“Hurrah!”

“This is exciting! Change is good! Starting over is an adventure!

I want to pump my fists in the air and use all the exclamation points I can muster; I want to high-five people when they ask me if I’m excited about the possibility of moving. I want to squeal with glee when I think about living closer to family and in proximity to friends I’ve known for twenty-plus years.

Everything about it makes sense.

I want to relish in the thought of returning home, I really do.

But instead, my fingers squeeze the crumpled-up Kleenex I’ve been clutching all day. I dab at tears that unexpectedly spring to my eyes when I think about leaving this place, this church, this community. And it’s like I understand, maybe for the very first time, Paul’s words to the Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (7:15). The verse is about the nature of sin, but I also think Paul’s talking about the slew of contradictions that have flooded his world.

And I get that part.

It’s like my brain is trying to tell the rest of my body, this is not who we are! This is not how we react, how we respond, how we approach seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This is what I want to tell the world around me, but at least for now, I tell a different story.

Of course, I wrote all of this to my best friend before I decided to confess it to all of you – and, of course, her reply was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Day by day we adjust to our reality. It will never stay the same. I want it to stay the same! And I want variety and change and newness! And stability! And adventure!”

She lends me her wisdom in the first two sentences – but then, almost seamlessly, she makes me laugh over my own contradictory nature at the end. Through it all, she sees me and she loves me, despite every seemingly contradictory emotion.

Because the truth is this: challenges will come. Some will be of our own choosing, while some will stray far from our plans of our lives. But regardless of who made the choice and regardless of our particular circumstance, we adjust because we don’t have any other choice.

Then we play Momastery’s mantra on repeat:

We can do hard things.

We can do hard things.

We can do hard things.

We say it over and over again, until a little, tiny piece of our hearts starts to believe it could be true some day. We choose to believe that the Holy One sees us and loves us, all the same, despite our oh-so-obvious humanity.

We go forth, being our bravest and our most real selves, even if tears flood our eyes, even if our hearts scream in protest, even if we feel a most contradictory version of ourselves.

Then we look at each other and say, “In this messy thing called life with you.”

You in?

It was true two months ago, in the midst of not-yet-knowing, and it’s truer still, in the midst of knowing and saying good-bye. So, what can I ask you? How are you nothing, if not contradictory? How are YOU doing hard things? 

4 thoughts on “I am nothing, if not contradictory

  1. EMMANUEL, my friend… I’ve done my own share of crying when God moved us to UK… and then the crying when, 18 years later, He moved us back again. The answers to prayer, it seems to me, always requires more prayers… for more answers. Nothing’s ever simple, is it. But you go with God and with that beautiful husband and the kidlets, and you go to fresh opportunities and challenges, and great grace will go with you, and will also meet you when you get there.

    Go with strength, girl… because that strength is in you, deep and powerful and full of vitality.

    xx

    1. Friend, thank you for your kind words – and for speaking Emmanuel over me. This is exactly what I needed to hear, so I’ll come back to your words when I need them again.

  2. I love this kind of honesty and I love crying. Two of my favorite things. 🙂 Oh, and laughing! (see, contradictions all around) Praying for you as you embrace this change. And if there is some white knuckling during the change, I hope you can embrace that too! Love you lady.

    1. Thank you, friend. Got your message as well – it’s been a doozy of a couple of days, as you can imagine (and as you understand), so I just haven’t gotten to calling you back. So much love …I’m grateful for our memories together! xo.

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