I've been doing a lot of thinking here lately regarding the choices I've made in life, and how I got where I am, and where I want to go from here. I've also been asking myself the question, "Where does God want me to go from here?" I believe he led me here to Texas, but I also believe I'm not meant to stay here long-term.
I didn't want to leave Georgetown. In fact, at my little going-away get together, I cried. A lot. And when we finally packed up the car and drove away from Georgetown, I cried - a lot. I cried until we got to Tennessee (no joke). Heck, I even cried when I left Kentucky again after we had visited for Ann's wedding. Kentucky was where I had people I loved. Kentucky was safe. But Kentucky was also becoming toxic to my soul.
I had (and still have) some great friends in Ky. But I also had some long-term relationships with people who were... well, bad influences. I was trying to become a better person, but I kept submitting to the temptations these people were offering. And because some of these people were "friends" (so I thought) for such a long time, I felt I couldn't say "no" to them when they asked me to do stuff for them, or go out with them. I thought they were friends, and I was weak, and did things I knew was wrong because I thought I was just "having fun". What I was doing wasn't illegal, I wasn't hurting anyone (but myself) but it wasn't who I wanted to be. But I wasn't sure how to get away from these influences because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Then things started happening which I now believe was God setting up a chain of events that would force me to get away from those bad influences and find the person He knew I could be. I also had to leave my "comfort zone" behind to do it.
See, I was comfortable in Georgetown. I didn't have to try hard because I knew most everybody. I couldn't go anywhere without seeing at least five people I knew. But it was also hard, because there was this preconceived notion of who I was and what was expected of me. I was the "bright girl" who had made all the wrong choices and was going nowhere in life. So it was really easy to just be that person because it took no effort whatsoever. But when I realized I didn't want to be that anymore, it was hard to get people to see me as something else and give me the chance to be that. (But let me clarify here. There are some people who loved me and accepted me regardless of what I did. You know who you are. You - and God of course - saved me from just giving up and being that bad person it would have been so easy to be.) I woke up and realized I wanted to make the right choices, but I wasn't sure how to do it.
Moving to Texas was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I knew exactly one person down here - my father. And I love my dad, but I do NOT like him very much. So moving away from my support center to where I basically had no person on my side was so difficult. But I needed to start over. I needed to get away from all the word-of-mouth that kept me from finding gainful employment. I needed to get away from my past and be who I was meant to be. Not knowing anyone down here at all gave me the ability to shed that "other Jennifer". No one knew me, so no certain behavior was expected of me. I was able to be the person I want to be, the person God wants me to be.
True, I'm still taking little baby steps. It's hard to shed years of bad habits and behaviors. But I'm doing it. I have a great job and I've found a wonderful church. I have one really good friend and a few acquaintances who might turn into good friends. And I've also discovered something else: I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. And a lot more kind and generous. And even smarter. (If I'm not careful, I'll sound conceited!) Three years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you had told me I could pull off school full-time, work full-time, raising and loving my boy and still do all the volunteering that I do. When I lived in Kentucky, I had convinced myself I was a failure. But I'm not. It's just taken me moving 1200 miles away from my comfort zone to figure it out. God knew who I was and what I could be all along. I was just too stubborn to realize it, so he had to arrange things in such a way to make me figure it out for myself. Thank you, Jesus.