CS: It Follows

I woke up slowly, almost nervously. The curtains were pulled back, and the 8am sun forced my eyes open, illuminating my eyelids no matter how far I buried my face into the pillow. My first thought was a simple one: I’m home. My second, a bit more complex: what if I’d never left 3 years ago? I tried to imagine my life here again, and let those memories wash over my mind in hurried waves. I’d probably be teaching still, or maybe assisting the PR officer at a firm where daddy has connections. Or maybe I’d be a pretty-faced bank teller handing people money all day. Regardless, the quietness of home was difficult to adjust to in that moment, and I knew that my 23 year-old self would be unsatisfied with that type of quiet, limited life.

So why did my soul long for home with a desire I couldn’t ignore?

Early morning on September 12th this year, my boss texted me. She wasn’t in the office yet, but I already had my day pulled up on the computer, and was working away at sales leads. Her text held a different tone than usual: it was tense and businesslike, and her words curtly invited me to lunch with her that day. Anywhere I wanted. She didn’t explain why she was late or the purpose for the meeting but I knew… In my mind’s eye, I saw the last 2 weeks at the office. Her late arrivals, quietness, nervousness as she sat behind me monitoring my work. This was it.

And it was. The day my boss told me that the company was officially closing, I was fighting a cold. As she explained that sales have been struggling for a while, a cough gripped my throat, and my eyes watered. I hoped she wouldn’t think I was crying. But part of me was – because I felt like I was being blamed. I grew defensive because my job was hard enough – to sell print advertising which no one buys anymore. To convince people that this medium served a purpose equal to that of digital media. The conversation turned from kind, to passive aggressive, and when my chicken and waffles were half gone, I asked for a box, and left slightly ahead of her.

Her anxieties, like the demonic killer of the horror film “It Follows” found a new home. I can feel a solid heaviness in my heart constantly, and even now as I’m typing, it grips me in a very real way. It has followed me into interviews, and it keeps me awake at night out of an equally terrible fear of what a new day might bring. I never knew anxiety really existed, because I always felt immune to it. More than that, I knew, and know now that this type of anxiety is unGodly. It pains me to admit that this has followed me for the past 2 months, because I feel like somewhere, deep down, I don’t trust that God is in control of this. Somewhere He dropped the ball, and hasn’t noticed me down here struggling yet. This realization of my poor sense of faith wasn’t the catalyst I needed to pull me out of it apparently, because even though I had only a few hours of sleep in the prior 24 hours to my arrival home, I had trouble closing my eyes to rest…

I’m anxious now because I’m going back to no job, because of the mistakes I’ve made in my job hunt, because I’ve over-drafted my debit account too often, and accidentally exceeded my credit card limit buying this flight home. I’m anxious because this heart change is so hard, and I’m anxious because I feel like anything I find outside of this realm of brokenness will somehow be worst than what I’m feeling now. But in reality, my life is still okay. I still have a place to live, and a support system, and a back-up plan. I still have Jesus, and if He’s not enough, then I’ve been lying about my Christianity to myself and others. I still have my health, and I’m still well fed. So what’s the problem, why do I feel the need to return to a place that I may never live in again?

I think it’s because of that fact that when I lived in Grenada, anxiety truly was a myth. Peace was my home, and happiness my roommate, and Jesus was everywhere. In gospel songs on the radio, on people’s lips, moving freely through a more-or-less spiritually pure atmosphere. The moment I would feel my grip loosening, He would wrap His hands around mine and help me to hold on for as long as I needed to. What right did anxiety have in an environment like that?

Now as I’m here, my purpose is to reclaim that peace, and find my balance again. Yes, I know God’s peace is everywhere, even in Austin Texas, but this is where most of you can no longer relate, and I trust that where you cannot extend empathy, you can withhold judgment at my desire to travel far to find something as free and available as peace. I plan to bury myself in His word, speak out my frustrations as I pace around my empty house during the day, and take long, burdening walks in the hot sun. I’ve made the joke that I may not return. Honestly, there are few things tying me to America now, but I refuse to abandon the life I’ve work tirelessly to build there. I’ve risked and sacrificed a lot moving there by myself, and I will not let a few tough months sink me into despair.

I pray now that God honors my desire to overcome this, and forgives my anxiety. And I pray that I return without the burden of worry bearing down on my tired shoulders. If you’re struggling in the same way, let’s link arms and journey through this together (message me) ❤

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