What is more, I consider everything a loss for the sake of gaining Christ.
Those, friend, are big words.
God doesn't joke around about the necessity of giving up what we think we want so that He can reveal what He has in store for us. He desperately wants to be allowed into every corner of our lives, but He can only breathe life in the spaces we have allowed Him to be. My roommate Chelsea is always saying: Our Lord is a gentleman. He will not come in uninvited. But once you invite Him in, He's going to move.
Through the wild roller coaster of the last two and a half years, Nashville has been my constant. Nashville was my greatest accomplishment and biggest joy. I moved here to grow up, to settle down, to prove I could do it. Which I did, and I latched onto that sense of accomplishment with pride and fierce determination to not see it taken away.
What I've learned in the last month in that Nashville has become an idol. It's the one part of my life I haven't been willing to turn over to the Lord (okay I'm sure it's not the only part, but it's the biggest part so roll with me). I have been hanging onto my life in Nashville so hard, my knuckles are turning white.
But all at once, on a Tuesday morning, I heard the most unmistakable whisper: Go home.
Oh, God, SURELY NOT. Surelysurelysurely not.
It took me all of 24 hours to make the decision. The doors are wide open, the request is clear. I'm going back to Kansas City (*for a season). Nashville still feels like home, but I know there is heart-level work that needs doing, and I don't think it can happen here.
People are asking, BUT WHY THOUGH. I'm going home because He asked. Because a lukewarm life is no life at all and if I say I'm going to follow Jesus I better damn well follow Him. And part of following Him is giving up idols in order to be brought into the fullness of all He is. Idols do nothing but get in the way. It's like my friend Tim says: Often, the things we love the most are thisclose to what God has for us, but we get so focused on what we think we want, we end up totally missing the breathtaking gifts He has waiting.
It's like stopping a hike halfway up the mountain.
Legs start to become jelly and exhaustion sets in, and, hey, the view is pretty spectacular right where you are and is it really going to be that much different from the top? Let's just take pictures here and call it a day because my legs are freaking killing me.
But, oh, if only you knew! If you work a little harder and make it to the top of the mountain, the view is incomparable. Not only that, but once you make it to the top you know what you didn't before-- you are stronger than you ever believed. You made it, by the grace of God and the discipline of perseverance. And the reward is wildly beyond what you could have imagined at the bottom of the mountain. Or even at the halfway point where you thought you were satisfied.
That is why I'm leaving Nashville (*for a season). I'm halfway up the mountain, but DANG Y'ALL I want it all. He has whispered so many promises. He is so good and so worthy of possessing every little thing in me. And even if it kills me, I'll give it all up for the sake of gaining Christ (That sounds dramatic, but sometimes that's how it feels, ya know?).
I'm going to keep straining up the mountain, reaching for the fullness of knowing Jesus and becoming more like Him. Moment by moment, mountain by mountain, until Paradise.
This isn't goodbye, I'm pretty sure. Far be it from me to assume I know the plan, but I feel fairly confident I'll be back in this sweet city I love so dearly. But still, to say goodbye even for a minute is hard. I love ya, Nashville. XOXO.
[PSA: if you want to get coffee or confess your deep, undying love before I go, call me.]