Home: Thoughts on Transition, Identity, and Growth

Happy Friday and Day… Oh wait. We’re not doing that 100 Days and Counting thing anymore!

(Sorry for the abrupt end for anyone who was following along. I was fully planning on writing a Day 240 post, but fell asleep early that night and didn’t remember until morning that I had neglected to blog. Oops.)

In any case, how do you start a ‘normal’ blog post again? No clue? Great. I’ll just dive in.

For those of you who don’t know, just under a year ago, I made the decision to move home to be with my family after living away for significant portions of ten years.

After moving across the country four times (generally to places where I knew virtually no one), you’d think that moving back home would be a piece of cake. Believe it or not though, this transition has been the hardest of my life so far, all thanks to one small word: identity.

For a large part of my life, I’ve struggled with identity – knowing who I really am. Growing up, I was always the ‘smart kid’, the ‘musical kid’, the ‘shy, weird, awkward kid’. And so, as a child, that’s who I was, because that’s who everyone knew me as and expected me to be.

I moved away from my hometown for the first time at eighteen to pursue my undergraduate degree at a nearby university. While it wasn’t exceptionally far from home, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to be someone new. Someone who wasn’t defined by everyone who ‘knew’ me. Someone who had nothing to prove. For once, I could simply be me.

It was incredibly freeing.

Over the next nine years, I fell in love with this freedom time and time again as my life transitioned from undergraduate, to graduate, to extern, and finally resident. More importantly though, with each new stage, I began to discover me.

If I’m honest, it felt like this discovery process culminated with my move to Houston. Living as a resident, across the country from virtually everyone I knew, surrounded by people who shared my passions I felt empowered. I felt seen. I felt… at home.

And then I moved back to the place that theoretically should feel more like home than any other place in the world, only to so often feel… out of place, trying endlessly to prove to the world, and myself, that who I am now isn’t the same shy, scared little girl that moved away ten years ago.

Admittedly, this week, the desire to prove myself, to ‘be someone’ has been worse than normal, as I prepare to go back to my high school for an alumni event this evening. If I’m honest, I’m terrified – terrified of walking the halls, seeing the faces, being asked the questions. I’m afraid that I’ll not measure up to some unknown standard of the people whose opinions, at the end of the day, shouldn’t matter.

As I wrestled with these thoughts and fears this morning during my quiet time, I painfully realized that this has always been the case. Here, I have always based my identity on who others say that I am, rather than who God says that I am. Here, I have always deferred to the opinions of those around me, living in hope of their admiration and fear of their rejection, rather than trusting the eternal, unconditional love of the Heavenly Father.

So often, in the last nine months, I have repeatedly questioned why I chose to move home. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love being with my family and being close to good friends, but daily confronting the mental and emotional ruts that I carved here for eighteen years has been painfully exhausting on the best of days. This morning though, I was reminded of a beautiful truth:

It’s easy to see change and growth when the rains come and the soil is good, but roots dive deep in the dry season, when the sun is hot and the ground is hard. The strength of a plant is shown by it’s ability to endure.

And so it is with us.

While it’s wonderful that it may be eas(ier) to trust God with my identity when I’m surrounded by people who I don’t feel pressure to ‘be someone’ around, I’m firmly convinced that that place is not His end goal for us. He calls us to go into all the world – not just where it’s easy to go. He calls us to trust Him and follow Him in all situations, through all storms.

And while sometimes that means crossing the country, crossing the world, sometimes it simply means coming home.

-Hannah

Day 239: To Quit?

Happy Friday and Day 239 of Another 100 Days of Hannah ...and Counting, y'all!

Y’all, I’m thoroughly tempted to quit this blogging thing before long, as my posts are becoming shorter and shorter by the day. But, as I don’t feel like I can go out on a two sentence post, I guess we’ll keep this short and sweet thing going for another day.

Catch y’all tomorrow,

Hannah

Day 237: Passion

Happy Wednesday and Day 237 of Another 100 Days of Hannah ...and Counting, y'all!

Do any of y’all ever take yourselves too seriously?

Hi. I’m guilty.

This evening, as I sat down and really pounded on the piano for the first time in ages, I realized that I think I’ve been taking myself too seriously recently. Most days, it feels like I’m preparing for something – trying to be someone. Not necessarily someone else, but some days it feels like I’m trying a little bit too hard for perfection – especially when it comes to my music. I mean, if I can arrange music shouldn’t everything I play be great? Shouldn’t it always come out awesome, as soon as I sit down to play?

The fact of the matter is though, that my playing is far from perfect. However, what makes it special isn’t perfection, it’s the passion. Music, for my whole life, has been one of my greatest passions. It’s been how I feel most comfortable and most confident expressing myself. Recently though, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a bit of a music block – I just haven’t been… feeling the music. I’ve been making it about a performance, not a passion. No wonder it feels like the music falls flat.

I feel like this is true in all realms of life. When our lives are fueled by perfection rather than passion, what once was beautiful, begins to fade. What once brought joy becomes bore, or worse, a chore.

This idea reminds me of a passage from Revelation 2:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

I honestly don’t have the words to convey my thoughts on this this evening, so I guess I’ll just leave it here for y’all to contemplate.

Catch y’all tomorrow,

Hannah

Day 235: Conflict

Happy Monday and Day 235 of Another 100 Days of Hannah ...and Counting, y'all!

Well guys, I just closed all three of my move rings today. Not gonna lie, that feels good… especially after drinking half of a milkshake from the fair. (Though, I hadn’t had one in…. probably 6 years or so, so I suppose it wasn’t that bad of a move.)

From there: y’all, I am in active conflict avoidance mode right now. (#enneagramnine) I know that the best way out is to just risk conflict and address my concerns, but… my brain doesn’t want to. And so, I keep waiting for ‘the right time’ to say things.

Granted, I don’t think ‘the right time’ has ever really showed up before. Which, I guess means that I should just suck it up and go for it.

Yikes.

Catch y’all tomorrow,

Hannah

Day 234: Focus

Happy Sunday and Day 234 of Another 100 Days of Hannah …and Counting, y’all!

How many of you routinely feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day for everything that you should, or at least would like to, accomplish?

I know, it’s something I’ve talked about before, but the idea’s been weighing on my mind more this past week, especially yesterday as I was cleaning my house in preparation for game night.

When I lived in Texas, I’ll admit: it felt like I had life pretty well figured out. I swept daily, and vacuumed and ran laundry once or twice a week. Some nights were late, but, I generally felt like I had time to, you know, live, in addition to working full time, spending time with friends, working out daily, and being involved at church.

Now? Well, most days it feels like I’m fighting to keep my head above water. I may vacuum once or twice a month. There’s a laundry list of items thatI would really like to accomplish… if only I had the time – writing music, working out consistently, garden projects, rearranging my house, podcasting, painting… I could go on for days.

This past week, one of my morning podcasts was talking about focus. It’s something that, at least according to the speaker, is lacking in society today. Looking at my own life, I can’t say that I disagree. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in every little thing – getting distracted by seemingly everything that passes my way, rather than pushing on toward a single goal.

Why? Because, frankly, I struggle with knowing what truly matters. So often, as I rush through my day, believing that everything is important. No wonder life feels busy, yet unfulfilling to so many of us so much of the time. This is the peril of a life without focus. Like a poorly imaged photo, our lives become blurred.

God, give me the clarity to focus on what matters to you.

Catch y’al tomorrow,

Hannah

Day 233: Game Night Round 2

Happy Saturday and Day 233 of Another 100 Days of Hannah …and Counting,y’all!

Well, game night round two is officially in the books! Takeaways from this adventure:

  1. Don’t plan on people showing up late. If you do, chances are they’ll arrive early and catch you unprepared.
  2. Don’t try to teach people a game that you’ve never played – it probably won’t work.
  3. Being a good host takes effort.

Since it’s late, we’ll call it quits there.

Catch y’all tomorrow,

Hannah

Day 232: Productive

Happy Friday and Day 232 of Another 100 Days of Hannah ...and Counting, y'all!

Well, after an incredibly unproductive week this week, tonight finally went better. I wrapped up charting in time to respond to my therapist, let the little one practice driving to the football game, grill out, go on a bike ride, practice organ, catch a paraglider, see the half-time show, clean some of my house, and then do an hour of gaming.

Admittedly, I almost forgot about posting in all of my other activities. Oops.

Regardless, it felt good to actually have goals to accomplish. Here’s to hoping I can keep the momentum going to get everything prepped for game night tomorrow night.

Catch y’all next time,

Hannah

Day 231: To or From?

Happy Thursday and Day 231 of Another 100 Days of Hannah …and Counting, y’all!

Bleh… bleh… I don’t know what to write.

Other than that I’m getting really bad at going to bed on time… and consequently getting up on time. Oops. I just keep getting distracted (and having multiple hours of charting that generally don’t conclude until dinner, after which I practice organ for an hour, then come home, get distracted again, then try to finish all the little things that need done before I go to bed).

C’est la vie.

As normal, right now I’m trying to process the appeal in my current distractions. Is it something that I’m running from? Something I’m running to? Or maybe, a combination of both?

That last one’s probably most likely.

Regardless, I should probably sleep.

Catch y’all tomorrow,

Hannah