5 Things I Learned from Moving Halfway Across Country - Twice
On June 14, 2017, I boarded a one-way flight from Dallas to NYC. I had with me my Dad, four checked bags and two carry-ons. I was moving to New York! It was a dream I had since college - to live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. But, this wasn’t the first time I moved to a big city, where I knew no one, to do what I believed God was leading me to. Seven years earlier, I moved to Dallas, to go to seminary. That time Dad packed up my 2005 Scion xB with everything I owned and drove me from Virginia Beach to Dallas. I was the first in my family to conquer the wild wild west. I know now that adventure in Dallas was to prepare me to do the same thing in New York. Dallas built up my faith so I could move to New York by myself. Now that I’ve moved across country twice I can say there are 5 Things I’ve Learned.
1. God is CLUTCH
I’ve known this theoretically my whole life, but I realized it practically and experientially the last nine years. When I look back, I find it so interesting and awesome how God came through every time and in the nick of time. When I made these big moves, I was in a position of total faith and trust in God. He was literally all I had. I moved both times with no job lined up, no friends and no family. I just had a few stacks. That’s it. What did God showing up when I needed him look like? My first day in Dallas, my dad and I met someone who told us about a lady whose ministry was to buy beds for seminary students. I emailed the lady, told her I was a new student and I asked for a full-size mattress. No response. I was like, “Shoot! Maybe I was too forward by asking for a full. Beggars can’t be choosers.” I slept on an air mattress for nearly two months. Then one day, after being fed up with the back pain, I went online to order a mattress. Just before I clicked to complete my order, I got a call on my cell phone from Mattress Firm that they were outside to deliver a brand new full mattress! I slept on that bed until I moved to New York.
2. I’m Okay by Myself
Yo, it takes time to build community in a new city. So, I kicked it by myself a lot, especially in the beginning. I’ve learned to be okay with that. I take myself to dinner, to the movies, on long walks. I go to events by myself. Don’t get me wrong. There are some things I just wish my favorites in Texas were here with me for. I especially miss them on Sundays. Sundays were the days I spent serving at my home church, brunching with friends, running errands or relaxing with family. Now Sundays can be difficult, but when they are I FaceTime, call, and text while I’m out and about. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to really enjoy my alone time and appreciate the love in my life whether they are present or far away.
3. God Hears My Prayers - Real Talk
From mid August 2017 to the beginning of May 2018, I worked everyday. Literally. No days off. At one point I had five jobs. I worked for a small business owner at Artists & Fleas. I was wait staff at a catering company. I had a contract job for a luxury jewelry brand. I worked part-time as a project coordinator for a web series, and gave mini sales presentations at One World Tower. On top of all that, I was in school. The majority of the time I was on my feet for hours. And, it was hard on my body. I think it would be hard on anybody, but having Rheumatoid Arthritis made it extra challenging. Maintaining my health was difficult because there wasn’t much time to rest. Sometimes, I would cry because I was so physically exhausted. I would talk to my body like, “Alright body. Alright joints. Just hang in there with me for four more hours. We’re almost done.” In a weird way that would help me get through. In April 2018, I was reaching my breaking point. I remember praying to God, “Lord, I do not know how much longer I can do this. I need help!” A week later I had a job interview for a part-time Administration Manager position for a non-profit organization. I was hired on the spot. The pay was so good that I could quit my fifty-leven jobs, set my own schedule, enjoy weekends off, save, pay debt, and have some fun too. I left the interview, walked to the end of the block, bent over on the sidewalk and sobbed in complete gratitude. He heard me and answered quickly, “I got you.”
4. Get Used to the Unknown
I’m an artist. I’m a person of faith. I’m a risk taker. In order for me to be these things, I had to get used to the unknown. When I moved to New York, I did not know where I was going to live. It was stressful. I did not know how I was going to pay for my tuition. It sounds crazy. Most people don’t live like this. I still don’t have a set in stone five-year plan. I have goals, of course, but my life is a journey and sometimes I can’t even see the few steps ahead. I say “I don’t know,” a lot. I’ve gotten used to saying, “I’m not sure.” I try to take things day by day. There are a few things I do know though. I know that God is in me and, because of Him, I have and will have everything I need. I know that my family supports me and if push comes to shove I can always go home. I know I have a close circle of people who will give me the shirt off their back. I’ve seen what God has done in Scripture, in the lives of people I know, and in my own life. That’s all I need to know. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable, but it’s kind of exciting too!
5. Things Will Not Go as Planned
They will not! For real on some Proverbs 16:9 - “We can make our plans but the LORD determines our steps.” NLT. When I moved to Texas, I told my parents that I would be there for three years, then I was moving to New York. Well, that three years turned to seven. Initially, I was going to do para church music ministry. That wasn’t the Lord’s will. Ha. Thank God because that was not the life I was meant to live. I went from working full time in Finance and Treasury and rapping to becoming a traveling public speaker. I gave presentations to thousands, fell into acting, and, through serving in my local church, discovered my purpose. I needed that extra time for God to make clear to me His plan for my life. Not to mention in that extra four years, I was diagnosed with RA. The early stages were brutal, and many a day I thank God I was not living in NYC as a pedestrian trying to fight the disease. Thank God for being in Texas, close to loved ones, with a car, and warm weather during that difficult time. He really knows best. He really orders our steps, if we are open to it.
Bonus: It Does Eventually Get Easier
That first year in New York was brutal I tell you. But, it did and it does get better. I eventually figured out how to get home without using Google maps. I eventually built a community of artists and friends. I eventually learned how to relax enough to power nap on the Subway so I could make it through the day. I eventually stopped feeling nervous walking on the grates in the sidewalk. I eventually developed tougher skin. I eventually got a better job. I eventually got used to the stairs, the crowds, the walking, the cold, and the grind of it all. I eventually made a home in this city, and built a life that I am proud of and love.
Styled by @dontayabobb