The less cheerful part of the story of this decision could mostly be boiled down to one word: STRESS.
I don’t share this peek into our text thread to brag, and it was not a brag when I sent it. It was an attempt to encourage both of us on this day that our head-spinning, sickening feelings were hopefully worth experiencing in the long term. I share this because the last few months have felt like being tumbled in a dryer. A dryer that’s full of resignation letters and Washington state tenant laws and homeschool curriculum options and craigslist posts of all my belongings and difficult conversations with friends and diesel engine towing capacities and changes to homeowners insurance and lots of research about RVs and campground fees and also a lot of normal life stuff like working a ton, end of the school year assemblies, planning worship services, going to funerals, and lots and lots and lots of grocery lists, and it’s all swirling around Brad & me all the time – swirling whether we feel excited by adventure or exhausted by decisions or confident in ourselves or scared of change or mad at each other or happy about an anniversary or busy with work or frustrated with whiny kids – and it all just keeps spinning & hitting us in the face, day in & day out. This is a text exchange between Brad & me on May 23 – Monday of the week that we announced to our church, my employer, many many many close friends, and my family that we would be changing everything about our life, and it was a desperate attempt to cling to sanity & to the belief that we were doing the right thing. I was trying to convince Brad & myself that we should not crawl under our desks to take a stress nap, and that the end result would be worth what we were experiencing.
I have never felt anxiety like I’ve felt in the last weeks. Chest pains. Dizziness. Nausea. Sleeplessness. We made our decision to take this crazy leap, and then we have slowly and carefully been ripping the bandaid off for days after days after days. There has been plenty of time for my resolve to waver.
Through this, I’ve learned a few things about myself. I’ve learned that my life is not usually very stressful. I’ve learned that my body can experience stress even when in my head I don’t think that I’m stressed. I’ve been reminded that I am way too affected by other people’s opinions of me. I’ve learned that one of the most difficult things for me to experience is seeing the eyes of a friend glaze over when they talk to me because they’ve already begun to distance themselves emotionally to prepare for my departure.
I hope that this post does not come across as a whine. I am incredibly grateful that I have the priviledge and means to take this leap to live out a life dream. I feel like this is the opportunity of a lifetime – and the fact that Brad is on board to make it happen too seems like I’ve won the lottery. I can’t express how excited I am about this chance. I just don’t want to only share the shiny stuff – I don’t want to tell you to take your leap to follow your dreams without admitting to you that the process of making this dream happen for our family has been A LOT OF HARD WORK. At one point we had considered delaying this adventure for one more year. We didn’t delay, because Brad thought that in a year’s time we would talk ourselves out of it – now that we are months deep in all there is to figure out, I’m so glad that we pressed forward. I really think he was right – we would have talked ourselves out of it. It’s time to jump.
A description of the exhaustion in the space between deciding and going was so eloquently put in this blog post:
My favorite part of the post is the inspiration & challenging words by Michael Boyink that he shares:
This Trip Is….
….not a field trip, but we want to be educated
…not a business trip, but we need to work
…not a family reunion, but we want to visit friends and family
…not a vacation, but we want to be re-created
…not a mission trip, but we want to be missional
When the image of standing at the edge of the high dive for way too long wears me down, I instead try to picture this experience like hatching. Yes, it’s difficult and messy – it hurts & we are heading somewhere unknown. But my hope is that the life on the other side of these obstacles will be a chance for life & growth & experience like we’ve never known.