People Always Leave–Part Two–God’s Plans

“People always leave.” That’s a phrase that basically became Peyton Sawyer’s life motto in One Tree Hill. As much as I hate to admit it; it’s also become one of my life mottos. Though, it’s meaning isn’t quite as cynical for me as it was for Peyton. For Peyton, it was a reason not to get close to people. For me, it’s just a fact of life. In school, in work, in church, and in life, people always leave. It’s sad and sometimes it’s hard, but it’s true. Throughout most of the series, people always leave Peyton, but in the sixth season, Peyton and her family were the ones who proved that people always leave. The same is true for me. I’ve always had friends leave me for various reasons, but this time I’m the one leaving. People left Peyton because of death, work, and to save themselves from various dangerous situations. I’d say those characters that left Peyton had justifiable reasons. People have left me because I live in Military City USA, because they needed to go off to college, and or because the Lord was calling them to leave. Again, they had justifiable reasons. I see that, which is why I’m not bitter about it; I just accept leaving as a part of life. Still, I never planned on being the one to leave. That’s the thing about plans though; “I can make my plans, but the Lord determines my steps.” Proverbs is full of great wisdom like that. I might make plans for myself, and they may be well-intended plans, but that doesn’t mean my plans match up with God’s plans.

On June 22, 2017, my boss came up to me and let me know that there was a job opening in a different department and asked me if I’d like to take it. Do you know what I said? I asked if I could have time to think about it, but that I’d probably say no. He knows me pretty well by now, so he hesitantly informed me that we didn’t have the luxury of waiting for an answer. They needed a decision right away. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to make spontaneous or last-minute decisions. I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going on before I commit to anything. So, again, I said I’d probably say no, but asked for more details just in case. Again, he answered hesitantly, because he didn’t really have any details for me, but he thought I’d do a good job in the new department. Again, I said probably not. Then, God halted me in my metaphorical steps.

If you haven’t been reading my other blog posts, then let me give you some backstory. On April 21st, 2017, just over two months before I was asked to change positions at work, I started writing a series called, Malachi Gregory. Mal’s story starts off with a new job opportunity. She doesn’t really want to take it, because she has to decide right away, she doesn’t know anything about what the job is, and she doesn’t like change without warning. Guess what, though. She feels like God is telling her to take the job even though every fiber of her being is fighting against it.

Now, back to me. I already told you I don’t like to make decisions last minute, especially without details. If you’ve read my other posts or if you know me at all, then you also know that I don’t like change, especially without warning. With that in mind, then I’m sure you can see where this is going. When I was sure that I was going to say no, God flashed into my mind, “Remember what you told Mal.” I had the pastor in my story tell Mal, “If God is calling you to do something that you don’t want to do, then know He has a far greater plan for you than you could ever plan for yourself. Listen to Him.” That’s not all though; I also had her best friend Bailey say, “It will help you grow your talents or gain new ones, but it will require leaving your comfort zone…You know you need to take this job.” I really wanted to react like my now five-year-old brother reacted when he was two and a half when I gave him three options: 1) Go outside. 2) Go to the living room. 3) Or you’re going in the corner.

John John in the Corner (7-14-14)

When God reminded me of what I told my character Mal, I wanted to pout in a corner like my brother did when I gave him options he didn’t like. It wasn’t fair that God was using my own writing against me. Instead of hiding in a corner though, or worse saying no, I surprised everyone and told my boss that I would take the position, even though the day before I had still been saying that I didn’t plan on leaving the department as long as I worked for the company. When God asks you to move, you move though.

I feel kind of bad though, because my boss even told me that when his boss asked him to ask me about taking the job, he said he didn’t want to because I’m his best person. Without the official title, I’m basically his assistant team leader—we call it floor support. More than being his go to person for support, I had also recently agreed to be a part of a buddy program to help new hires navigate their new job with us, so I had to tell another TL that I wouldn’t be able to help after all. She was my first TL on the job, so she was surprised that I said yes too, even though she was apparently the one who had suggested my name to the Department Leader. Perhaps more surprising, one of my closest friends, Stephanie, works in the department I’m leaving and I don’t think anyone thought I’d leave as long as she was still in the same department. Honestly, I didn’t think I would. I’ve never left anywhere as long as I’ve had a close friend still there, which is part of the reason why I’ve had to get used to the truth that people always leave. It’s not normal to stay in one place forever. It’s okay though, because I’m just moving across the hall, which means I’ll still be able to visit Stephanie, whom I’ve spoken of in several other posts, during my breaks just like I do now.

As if all the above isn’t enough reason to be surprised that I’m leaving when I thought I’d stay, let me give you more reason to be shocked. What little information my TL could provide me when telling me of this new job opportunity was that it would only be about 20% involved with people directly and that I would be able to get off work a little more than two hours earlier than normal. This would have been a huge blessing, because I’m an introvert and working so closely with people has really been starting to wear me down lately. Also because I refuse to miss church on Sundays and if I’m going to get up and go to church on my day off, then I’m going to go to the early service so I can get other things done after church—plus, my best friend goes to the first service, so obviously I have to too. Because I go to the 9:30am service on Sunday and work until 1:15am on Saturday nights, I don’t get a lot of sleep before church. With this new schedule, I’ll be able to sleep about 7+ hours before church instead of 3 to 5 hours, which is no more than half the amount of sleep I need to function. Still though, I didn’t want to say yes. Now I know why, because the people from the other department apparently misinformed my DL—we will be interacting with customers just as much with this new position as we will be with the old position. When I was told this, I was furious. I thought I was agreeing to this new position because it meant that I don’t have to deal with people anymore. Apparently not, but it’s too late now. God told me to take the job and I had already told people that He told me to, so I can’t back out now.

So, why’d I say yes? Why am I leaving when I thought I’d be the last to leave? Why am I proving that people always leave? Why am I doing something I really don’t want to do? For the same reason Bailey told Mal she needed to take the job, “Sometimes, you have to do what you don’t want to do to do what you do want to do.” When I had Bailey tell Mal that, I had her quote Mal’s grandfather who was really quoting my grandfather, aka Papa, who is probably quoting someone else. I tried getting an earlier schedule in the position I have now, but I was declined, so apparently, the only way I can get off earlier on Saturdays is if I take this new position. There’s more to it than that though. I’m not doing it for me. I’m not doing it because God asked me to do it. Also, because God flashed the picture below in my head when I started to throw a grownup tantrum over being misinformed about what I would be doing in my new position.

Trust Me

God wants to bless me in ways that I can’t possibly imagine, but in order for Him to do that, I have to trust Him and do as He asks. Is every change in life going to lead to prosperity and earthly blessings? No. In fact, we are promised that walking with Christ will be uncomfortable and challenging at times. Sometimes it’s just as bad as moving out of your comfort zone and saying yes when you really want to say no, maybe it’s taking up everything you own and moving halfway across the world, or maybe it’s dying at the hands of our enemies for the sake of martyrdom. Who knows? I don’t know, but I do know that since the moment Eve and Adam took a bite from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we have been promised a life of discomfort and challenges as long as we are on this earth, especially if we are followers of Christ. That being said, when we walk in the will of the Lord, we will be richly rewarded. If not here on earth where we temporarily reside, then in Heaven where we will wear crowns so adorned that no earthly body could ever support it.

That’s why I said yes. Because even though it’s cliché and often used out of context, Jeremiah 29:11 is also always true; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not harm. Plans for a hope and a future.” So maybe God is asking me to climb out onto a limb I don’t want to climb onto. Maybe He’s asking me do the INFJ’s (my Myer’s Brigg’s Type) equivalent to jumping out of a plane without a parachute. It doesn’t matter, because I know that God’s plans are for me and that as long I live according to His will, then “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Oh, and because I’m super excited about my plans for Mal in my series, so if I, a flawed human author am excited about my own plans for my character, then how much more excited can I be for the plans our perfect Author and Creator of the Universe has for me? Pretty darn excited, I’d reckon.

So, yes, I am the one leaving this time. I am proving Peyton Sawyer correct when she says, “People always leave.” You know who doesn’t always leave, though? God. He even says as much in many verses including Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you, nor forsake you.” People may leave me and I may leave people, but as long as they and I am living according to God’s plan, then everything will be okay. Maybe me leaving means someone else can have a chance at leading floor support for my TL and maybe it gives someone else the opportunity to be a buddy to a new hire, someone who wouldn’t otherwise consider the role. Maybe I’m leaving departments, but that’s okay. It’s not like I won’t still be there for Stephanie whenever she needs me. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to invite her to hang out and or go to church. I’m still going to do those things, probably even more now since I won’t be able to see her at work as much. No matter what happens though, God is with me and He will provide someone else to fill the spots that I am leaving open and He will provide ways for Stephanie and me to hangout. This I trust, because God is a good God and He doesn’t leave us stranded. This I know, because He promised me that I will be getting a bigger teddy bear out of this deal than the tiny one that I love now.

People Always Leave…

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a dear friend who was moving away? Have you ever grown apart from someone that at one time was your best friend? I’m no stranger to the feelings that come with growing apart from and moving away from former best friends. Nearly every person I’ve ever considered to be a best friend has grown apart from me and moved away. To quote Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill, “People always leave.” I’ve accepted that. It’s an inevitable part of life. People always leave.

I’m the kind of girl who is friends with everyone. I’ve had my fair share of best friends. I haven’t had a bunch of close friends though. I haven’t been open and transparent with very many people. Sure, I’ve been an open book on the surface, but only a few people have gotten past the surface, and only a couple people have really been allowed to see my heart. While all of my friendships have been incredibly valuable to me, I have learned that a lot of them have been fairly shallow compared to how deep a friendship can be.

Have you ever had God answer a prayer you didn’t realize you were praying until after He provided for you? In August and September of 2012, God did just that for me. He sent me to a new church where I met three girls who would change my life and my view of friendship. If you’ve read any of my other posts, then you probably know who I’m talking about—Shelby, Allie, and Holly. Within the first hour of knowing Allie and Holly I shared a deep, dark secret that I hadn’t shared aloud with anyone else. With Shelby, I’ve shared feelings about things I’ve had bottled up for years, sometimes even decades.

In the past, when most of my other friends have moved away, it hasn’t been that big of a deal. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. Before my friends have moved, we’ve already grown apart from each other, so it hasn’t been much different for them to move away. That and we haven’t exactly had the deepest of friendships to begin with. This time it’s different though. This time, as I prepare to say goodbye to a friend who’s moving away, it’s not someone who I’ve grown apart from. She’s not someone whose friendship is comparatively shallow to how it could be. This time, one of the best and closest friends I’ve ever had is moving not only to a different city or different state, but also to a different country. She’s moving nearly 10,000 miles away!

Nearly as soon as I met Holly, she and Allie moved to Austin, so our friendship has for the most part been one of long distance already. It’s only been an 80-mile difference though, so we’ve been able to visit each other at least every couple months. In December, she moved back home to live with her family until she moves half way across the world.

Since she moved back in with her family, I’ve seen her much more than I’m accustomed to seeing her. It’s been great, because we’ve grown even closer. If I’m honest though, it has also really sucked, because I know I’m going to have to say goodbye in less than a month. After she leaves, I don’t know if or when I’ll be able to see her again. I’d like to say I will visit her at some point, but right now, I don’t plan on it. I can’t stand taking flights. Altitude change, even the most minute, always makes my ears hurt really badly and a trip to visit Holly would require a day of travel just one way. Even if I didn’t have the concern of feeling the agony of altitude change, then I’d have to consider how expensive it would be to be visit her. It’d cost between $1000 to $2000 just to get to her, plus the expenses of actually visiting with her. That’s expensive. As much as I love Holly and would love to visit her, that’s just not a trip I could afford to take right now or any time soon. I don’t imagine she’ll be able to afford many trips home either. Therefore, there’s no telling if or when I’ll see her while she’s living overseas.

Also if I’m being honest, then I must confess that I’ve had moments when I’ve had to fight not to feel bitter and angry toward God for calling one of my best friends to live overseas. I know He gave her to me and placed her in my life so that she could help me grow in my walk with Him. So, it makes me sad to think that He’s calling her to live so far away that I can’t visit her very often, if ever. Those have been fleeting moments though, because the Holy Spirit has reminded me that this isn’t going to be like all the other times. I’m not losing a friend. In fact, I’ll probably actually get to chat with this friend more than I do now, because we’ll be on the same schedule. Right now, we live in the same time zone, but she wakes up at like 7am and goes to bed before midnight, while I don’t wake up until 2 or 3pm and go to sleep around 4 or 5am, because I work the night shift at a call center. Still, knowing that one of best and closest friends is leaving has left me feeling a lot more emotional than I was expecting to feel. I mean, for the most part Holly and I have had more of a text messaging and social media friendship than anything else, but I’ve always had the option of going to visit her if I had the time and money to drive 2 hours to see her. I won’t have that option now. Now, I really have to rely on God to give Holly and me the time to keep our friendship strong through technological means and probably some letters, because I’m a letter writer! Actually, that’s a great idea! Now I’m gonna tell her she has to write me an actual letter chronicling her adventures overseas. I wonder if she’ll have time to do that! ha, ha.

Anyway, the point in sharing all of this with whatever part of the world reads it is that God does provide. Even when you feel like you’ve lost all your friends–friends whom you were not as close to as you thought–He provides. Even when you’re praying for something, but you don’t realizing you’re praying for it, God provides. Even when you feel like God is taking away His provision, He provides. Yes, “people always leave,” but do you know what else Peyton Sawyer and all One Tree Hill fans learned? “Sometimes they come back.”

I have complete and total faith that one way or another, Holly is going to come back. Even if she doesn’t necessarily move back to the US—because if the Lord asks her to stay overseas, then she will stay—she will be here with me too. We have Facebook and text messaging. We can Facetime and write letters. She’ll still be here, even when she’s not and God will be here with me too. Even if Allie (who actually left too, but only moved to California), Holly, and Shelby were all to leave me and never talk to me again, then it wouldn’t matter, because God is here with me and He never leaves!