Faith, Hope & Iowa | On Leaving Florida

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The past 7 days have been an absolute whirlwind.

In addition to traveling back up to Joliet for the weekend to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday, I’ve spent much of the past few days mentally preparing for an undoubtedly hectic week to come, because the week to come was (and now, is) my last week in Florida.

Last Tuesday, I accepted a job offer on a political campaign in Iowa. I put in my two weeks, broke the news to my coworkers, and am now in the midst of the stressful and frustrating process that is finding housing, arranging transportation, packing up my apartment, etc., etc.

This weekend, I’m driving all of my stuff back up to the Midwest and next weekend, I’m expected in Des Moines for my first day of work on this new campaign.

And as bad timing would have it, Howie had an accident that landed him in an emergency animal clinic on Sunday night. (Basically, what you need to know here is: emergency + Sunday + after-hours = A LOT of Starbucks lattes.)

If the first two months of this summer weren’t a lesson in faith, the coming weeks are about to be.

A friend asked me yesterday if I’m excited for my move back to Iowa City. After thinking about it for a moment, I told him that “excited” isn’t really the right word to describe how I’m feeling.

I was presented with a choice last week that prompted a decision. Now, the decision is made. A week later, I’m still unsure if my choice was the right one—but the choice is made regardless and I’m headed back to Iowa.

“Anxious” feels like a better word for where I’m at right now.

His response pretty well summed it up: “I know how you feel. I’ve never had more options available to me in my life and I’ve never had a more vague idea of what I’m supposed to do.”
Bingo. He hit the nail on the head.

12 months ago, I knew exactly what was expected of me. I was finishing an internship in Washington, D.C. and getting ready to start my last year of college at the University of Iowa. I knew exactly what credits I needed to complete, how many hours I needed to take, what forms I needed to fill out to apply for graduation, and so on. All I had to do was follow the steps.

And now, I’m here. I’ve got my degree, I’m leaving my first job to take a second and all only two months out from graduation.

Every question is open-ended. My steps are unprecedented.

I don’t mean to complain—it’s a blessing to have options. But how can I know what’s right when the choice isn’t black and white and is instead gray, ie: stay in Florida or move to Iowa?

It gives me heart palpitations to think about it.

But God is bigger than Florida and Iowa and campaigns and party politics. He is bigger than a college degree or a new job or an apartment lease. God is even bigger than the bill for Howie’s trip to the emergency clinic (and trust me, that's big).

“Let nothing trouble you, let nothing scare you, all is fleeting, God alone is unchanging. Patience everything obtains. Who possesses God, nothing wants. God alone suffices.” - St. Teresa of Avila

It is inevitable that my flawed nature and my selfish tendencies will get in the way of my ability to follow God’s direction and fulfill His will for my life. Wrong choices will happen. This is simply the human condition.

But God is bigger than the human condition.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

My biggest fear in the present moment is that I’m leaving Florida prematurely. I am however deeply, deeply inclined to get home as quickly as I can.

So despite everything, I will keep moving forward. I will be grateful for my blessings—a job, a roof over my head, food in my stomach— and seek God in my anxiety.

I will trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6

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