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“How was your trip home?” everyone asked after I returned to Georgia after three weeks in Reno. “It was good, but not what I expected,” I replied honestly.

I expected to be overwhelmed with the love of friends and family I hadn’t seen in a year and I expected to feel complete on the inside. I expected to be treated like a celebrity and feel that on-top-of-the-world feeling non-stop for three weeks. I may have set my expectations a little high. But I didn’t leave Reno disappointed. Instead I returned to Georgia thankful and confident. I realized we sometimes need to take a step back and reflect in order to recognize what we have.

It’s no secret: Georgia never felt like home to me. Rather, I have been fighting God over this current assignment and complaining to any and all who would listen. I felt like I was doing community service and counting the hours until I had fulfilled my obligation. But when I stepped back and reflected I saw Georgia had been a place for me to learn – to try and fail and get back up again without condemnation. Here in Georgia I’ve learned conflict makes relationships stronger, community is not created by proximity but by intentionality, and that God is much more patient with me than I am with myself.

In Reno I learned how to be an adult. I learned bitterness isn’t a way of life, how to forgive, and how to ask for help. I learned that choosing roommates isn’t one of my strengths and that talking about missions isn’t enough to make a change. And in my last visit I learned I grew up a little more in Georgia. I was reminded of my life before the Race, a part of me Georgia doesn’t know or understand. Friends reminded me of the seemingly endless cycle of bad roommate situations, the list of jobs that were never a good fit and instead daily drained me, and the self-doubt that followed me into every conversation and decision.

After three weeks away I missed my life in Georgia – the friends I had made, the job that I complained about but secretly loved, the boss I trusted and admired, the accountability I had with my roommates, and the mentorship I received from 4 different people. In those weeks home I realized I had spent so much time complaining about things I hadn’t noticed the life I unintentionally created. During my last week in Reno I kept returning to the same question: What would my life look like if I became intentional with it?

If instead of complaining about what I didn’t have – Trader Joe’s, boyfriend, snow covered mountains – I focused on intentionally investing in the people around me… how drastically would my attitude change? What if instead of going home after work and watching Netflix I volunteered somewhere? What if instead of church hopping every few weeks I signed up for a small group at one?

My last year and a half in Georgia was as if God had invited me to his party at Adventures in Missions, and instead of joining everyone I was sitting by the door ready to leave. I was technically at the party, but I wasn’t a part of it. How much richer would my experience be if I joined the party and took my seat at the table?

What are you missing out on because you chose to complain instead of invest?




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