"Why in the world did you come back!?"
This is the usual response I receive when I tell people I moved to Hawaii for four months and came back to live in Wisconsin.
The answer is simple and yet, complex. It is worthy of a blog post and still, one post won't do it much justice!
The answer in it's simplicity is this:
I realized I was worthy of the family and friends God already gave me.
I realized I was on a drug of performance and it was easier to be impressive to strangers than to show up in my imperfections to the people nearest to me.
I recognized that for the past five years everyone around me kept telling me I was "so brave." I was so brave for quitting my job. I was so brave asking for a divorce. I was so brave traveling across seas and starting fresh wherever I was.
I was so brave in their eyes but in God's loving eyes, he showed me how much of a coward I really was...
Ever since I turned 16, I dreamed about leaving my small hometown and every pop- punk emo song validated my desires. I couldn't wait to "Pack up all my things and get my ass out of town (Nevershoutnever)."
I needed to desperately escape the Cheers-themed reality I was living in where "everybody knows your name"-- I wanted to be "mysterious."
So, that's exactly what I did.
At the age of 18, I was living in this studio apartment above by myself attending school for fashion near the city.
I'm telling this short story so that you see the greater picture: I've always been on the run.
To others, running looks brave. Grasping for an innovative, more flashy lifestyle looks a lot more exciting and honorable than building a village where you are. Essentially, it is brave but it's also not necessarily brave.
Last week I found a new music artist I love; AJR. This lyric in one of their songs tells it all, "I could move away or I could suck it up and face it!"
Sometimes the bravest act you can take is facing the parts of your life that seem plain and boring. It's about recognizing that there is literally nothing boring about life! Everyday that you wake up is an act worthy of being deemed "bravery."
I've learned, through my personal experiences, that I feel boredom the most when I'm living on that pesky drug of performance and people-pleasing. What's next? How can I impress them now?
In real raw truth, there's nothing brave about people-pleasing. Being who you are even when you're unsure and imperfect, attending to your daily tasks even though they are less than exciting and letting others show up as they are...that is wildly courageous.
It's brave because it's really, really hard to just accept that you're okay as you are right now and so are the ones you lovingly accept into your village.
Sometimes boredom pushes us to think outside of the box and solve problems but at other times, boredom creates an illusion in our minds that the life we are currently living isn't enough as it is. When we believe it isn't enough as it is, we are tempted into the fall and deception of perfectionism, comparison, competition and creating fantasties that are not sustainable.
On the other side of reality, living on an island is hard. It isn't a vacation. I went in with the mindset that it wouldn't be but I saw the reality that native Hawaiians have to face daily which is that the way they view their home and lifestyle is different from the way you view your "brave act" of living off the grid for a YouTube show.
This is not to say that choosing to live off grid and showcase it to the world is wrong but rather that we have to remember that for some people, it's just their daily life--a part of their culture & they know what they're doing isn't for performance but for reality.
Hawaii will always be a spiritual home for me but as it stands, God wants me to sink my toes deeply into the part of the Earth he placed me in,with the people he paired with me, and commit to showing up to the bumpy, snow plowed, pot-holed road that is the Midwest!
He's saying "Show up as if I've placed you here!"
So instead of sulking in my bitterness and dreaming about how I look so much better and so much more impressive on a sandy beach or on top of a mountain, I'm going to shine here in the prairies, in the valleys, near the heart of Lake Michigan & admist the Golden cornfields. Amen.