what’s next:

When I left for the World Race at the beginning of this year I had no plans for when it ended. My dream was to go back to Georgia to work at AIM, but nothing was promised to me. I decided that unless God gave me a job at AIM or clearly called me elsewhere, I’d stay overseas when I was done squad leading.

My plan was to be a nanny in Italy for the summer (I registered with an Au Pair website), save up my money and then travel Western Europe. After that I would teach English in Saudi Arabia. Or work at a hostel in Amsterdam. Anything was possible as long as there was nothing calling me back to the States.

I needed to tell my plans to AIM by March 9 so they could know if they needed to buy me plane ticket home. I asked God for his opinion on what I should do and heard nothing in return. I told him that if he wasn’t calling me back home – if he had nothing for me (no job, no man, no plan) then I was going to stay in Europe indefinitely.

On March 9 I was offered a position at AIM.

I was thrilled. Am thrilled. It’s what I’ve wanted all along.

At the same time, I’ve had to grieve my Europe expedition since arriving in Romania two weeks ago:

“Being in Europe and staying in hostels, riding on trains and eating delicious street kebabs – my hunger to travel solo has once again been awakened. In my weaker moments I wonder if I made a mistake by deciding to go back home – when will I ever again have this kind of opportunity? Probably never. Am I missing out on the kind of person I want to be? A free-spirited, adventurous, independent, against the status-quo, go with the flow, traveling hippy? But then I remember how CLEAR God made it when he called me back home. His timing was impeccable – he knew it needed to be so he could remind me he does have a plan, a purpose, a vision for my future. I am not destined to wander forever.” – diary entry from April 10.

God knows what he’s doing. Even though I often want to run away into the world by myself, deep down I know I was not meant to wander alone. I would get lonely. Terribly lonely. I love meeting strangers and making new friends, but I also have an intense longing to be around people who know me, people I have history with, people who will continue to be by my side as the seasons change.

Even now I’m a little bit lonely. I didn’t know I was until the other day when I went for a walk with Mac and started verbally processing (vomiting) all over him. My squad is my family, my community…but just a few weeks I’ll be an ocean away from all of them. I’m tired of distance – of email and Facebook and Skype. I want to ride in cars with people and hug them and tell them when they have spinach in their teeth. I want to live day-to-day life with them, year after year.

Instead of letting me indulge in my shallow desires, God is blessing me with the deep cravings of my soul. He is giving back to me people who will still be there four, five, six months, even a year from now. He’s giving back to me a job that I love, a job that gives me purpose and uses my passion.

When I gave everything up to squad lead the LORD promised me that “the best is yet to come.”

And indeed, I think he’s right…


About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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12 Responses to what’s next:

  1. i feel like i can relate. can’t wait to talk about it in person. love you!

  2. Tim Abare says:

    It will be so stinking awesome to have you back at Adventures!!!!!

  3. PATRICE says:

    Love this, excited for you to have this depth!

  4. leighajoy says:

    Loved reading this. Love you, and the person that you are becoming. Can’t wait for you to experience lasting community.

  5. shaynacraze says:

    “Instead of letting me indulge in my shallow desires, God is blessing me with the deep cravings of my soul.” Dang girl. Dang. That’s all I have to say. Dang.

  6. Seth Barnes says:

    Hope, you were made for a life of adventure and community. I like all your contingency plans, but I like the fact that you’re going to be back in GA even better!

  7. Stacy P says:

    LOVE YOU! I’m so glad you’re coming back to us.

  8. marissavilla says:

    yay america! love you a lot.

  9. dan says:

    yahhhhh! congrats!

  10. Anna Notario says:

    glad to have you closer to me. the best is yet to come. amena amena amena.

  11. Hmm. This is good. And I think exactly what I needed to read today.

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