To be honest, it feels like ten.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t lost and confused when we first moved out here. Our initial reason for moving was to help start a church plant in the heart of San Francisco. For our family, that fell through months after we moved here. From that point on, it was an overly challenging and incredibly emotional ordeal to find our place out here and to figure out where this place fit in with God’s plan for our lives.
Two years later, and I find myself not really wanting to leave California. This has been a testing grounds of sorts. It’s been my desert of wandering. I’ve been put through trial after trial, each designed to knock a bit more of the rough edges off and polish this vessel. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, this two-year period has been the hardest of my entire life. I’ve had to learn how to control my emotions, how not to hesitate so much, how to speak up more, and most important of all, I’ve had to learn how to be myself.
See, when you’re young, you know who you are. You may not know it at that time, but later in life, you’ll realize that the real you was formed in your youth. Your likes, your dislikes, your passions – they all develop when you’re a snot-nosed kid in junior high and high school. It’s when we’re thrust into the ‘real world’ that things get ugly, and that ugliness, that harshness of the world, knocks you around a bit, bruises you, makes you bleed. By the time the world is done with you, you can’t remember who you are or what you’re doing.
Sometimes you need to recalibrate. And sometimes, that recalibration is the reason God sends you somewhere far from friends and family, and allows you to face the challenges that will change you for better or worse.
This time here in California was my recalibration.
I’m returning to Arizona at the end of the month. I will wave a bittersweet goodbye to the state nearest to my heart. I’ll shed some tears, no doubt. But I’ll be returning to Arizona so much more different than when I left. And that’s definitely a good thing.