Nashville For A Year, Check it!

GUYSSSS, I HIT MY ONE YEAR IN NASHVILLE! It feels like 3 years ago when I was dropping off the u-haul in Music City, all possessions unpacked, ready to start over in an unknown place. However only one year it has been, and I must say, it has been one of my favorite years yet. At the beginning of 2017, I had two words to steer me throughout the year – brave and celebrate. Those words were chosen before I knew I would be living in Nashville, but with confidence, I can say the Lord used them to challenge, guide, and encourage me throughout the year. It’s never easy to begin again, no matter the circumstance, but entering into these new grounds forced me to get out of my comfort zone which allowed me to learn about myself again, making this the main reason why this year was so influential for me.

Alright, but let’s be real, I live in Nashville. It isn’t tough to love. You can find tacos on every restaurants’ menu [praise God from whom all blessings flow!], you have the option to run in a different park every day of the week [and pet 50 dogs along the way], and you can find amazing live music and concerts at anytime [Amos Lee at the Symphony house, I mean COME ON.]. But at the end of the day and my favorite tacos aside, all credit to calling this place home goes to sweet, sweet Jesus who is faithful and kind and brings all good gifts to His children.  Nashville was my chance to try new things, learn more about who God created me to be, and finally become a professional sports fan (FANG FINGERS!). So let’s dig into the good of this past year –

COMMUNITY

The first thing that comes to mind is how good the Lord was to provide community everywhere I went. Whether it was at the gym, work, in my neighborhood, at church or through friends, there has been a consistent community building in each place every time.  I realize that making friends can be tough when moving to a new city, and it definitely required some effort, courage, and consistency on my part. However, I have can attest to the fact that it was – and still is – 100% worth it for me to awkwardly ask for the girl’s number in gym class so I have a workout buddy or attend happy hour with a friend in hopes of forming a closer relationship. I was reminded that taking risks is fun so why wouldn’t I do it for a chance to create new friendships?! A year and dozens of awkward interactions later, I can say I have come out with some stellar friends along the the way because I took the risk or they were kind enough to invite me in. I could go on and on about these different groups of people, but I will end it with saying I have some wonderful friends here and I am BEYOND grateful.

 

WORK

My job is one of the sweetest blessing and largest growth areas for me within the past year. I moved to Nashville without 100% certainty of having a job, but within a week after committing to the decision, I was offered the position I currently hold at Jack Henry.  Coming from the nonprofit world into this “corporate” environment was a change, and to say I liked it the first few months would have been a GRAND lie.  About five months into the job, I heard about the Highlands Church “21 days of Fasting and Prayer.” Vowing to give up my coffee addiction for some major prayers (LAWD HELP!), I joined in on the 21 days in hopes that the Lord would provide clarity, direction and purpose in my work life.  During that time, I begged for my circumstance or my heart to change — because it had to be one of the two. And since that prayer, the Lord has been diligently transforming my heart through the work I deemed “unimportant and non purposeful.” He is teaching me how to blindly trust without immediate gratification, how staying content allows the Lord’s intended purpose and work to be completed, and how to recognize gifts He gives where I least expect them. My job may not sound “cool”, but He is teaching me that my identity is not rooted in what I do, and guys, that is freeing. as. heck. and a lesson I needed to learn.

Not only has my job been major grounds for personal growth, but there are also so many other great things about work itself. I have the kindest, coolest and most encouraging boss in the land; my work bestie is also named Hannah who is my party-planning comrade; and my team is hilarious and makes me laugh every single day. Did I mention,  job. perks. galore. Because, #SPOILED. I constantly think back to when a friend told me that he takes each day one step at a time, and I am so glad that the Lord is teaching me to slow down, settle in, and enjoy the blessings that can come with trusting Him.

 

CHURCH

Moving to a new city and finding a church is HARD, especially when that city has more churches than any other in America. It seriously plagued me for months. I was looking for a place that had it all, when in reality, sometimes a church can’t fill the entire mold. I eventually started looking at churches based on my top priorities: a place of community and an opportunity to get involved. I church hopped for about six months total, and eventually through joining a community group, a church family I found.

In September I randomly signed up for the small group with Midtown Fellowship, and after meeting with those ladies once, it was game over for any other church in town. To say these women have been one of the largest blessings to me is an understatement. I freaking hit the small group jackpot {1000 PRAISE HANDS EMOJI}! I adore these girls and their ability to talk Jesus one moment and hilarious Bumble dating woes the next. I could forever name the things I have learned from this group (a whole day could be spent on Emily’s beauty routine and products!), but I think the fact that each of us continues to find every Wednesday a refining and resting place says it all.

 

ROOMMATE

I don’t have much to say about this one except I seriously lucked out. My roommate, Lyndsie, is a freaking BLAST. She is encouraging, loves a good game night, supports our endless Chipotle eating habits, and can belt out The Greatest Showman soundtrack like she starred in the movie herself. We are eerily similar [both 7s on the Enneagram, holla!] which helps us to understand each other’s personality habits, insecurities, and ADD mid-conversation off topic moments much more easily than another, #blessings. Like myself, she loves entertaining and hosting events – murder mystery being our latest favorite – and if a party is not happening, you can usually find us both watching New Girl. Basically, this “gal” – as she says and has now rubbed off on me – is the best and I gained one heck of a friend.

 

PREDATORS

“I LIKE IT, I LOVE IT, I WANT SOME MORE OF IT!” The Preds are my #1, and this list would not be complete without them. But seriously, I love them and the fact that I had ZERO clue how hockey worked when I moved to Nashville {“icing” – and no I don’t mean what you do to a cake – was explained to me at least 10 times}, and now I can likely tell you 60% of the rules. That’s pretty good right?! Thanks to the Preds killing it in the Stanley Cup Tournament, I credit them for the most exciting four months in Nashville and for speeding up friendships due to countless watch parties. Because of that, all I can say is “FANG FINGERS FOREVER!”

 

BONUS: ARKANSAS

I may live in Nashville now, but everything I love originated from Arkansas. Although I am still far from family and friends, I don’t feel like I have missed out on life with this group, which is the sweetest “bonus” gift of all. This year I was able to celebrate marriages, new careers, spontaneous travels and good ole quality time with the people I love. Just like Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”

 

 

It can be easy to forget who you are when you get comfortable in life… or at least it was for me. I didn’t intentionally mean to stir the pot when I moved, but I have learned that sometimes you need to shake it up a bit and get out of your comfort zone to realize what makes you, *YOU*. In moving to Nashville, I have been able to remember who the Lord created me to uniquely be. I am also rediscovering the gifts he has specifically given to me that he wants me to use for His glory.  I can’t say it enough, but what a freaking gift it is to have the opportunity to know the Lord better through change.

Nashville, year one was a major success. Bring on year two!

xx

Han

 

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