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When I get stressed out I tend to make hypothetical plans… “What if I had a job making $X, then I could save $X and afford maybe one semester of school in $X if I start is the spring? or summer? or fall?…or if I move to X….or if I….”  The planning usually stresses me out more because it’s all in the realm of “what if’s.”  So, then I do one of two things: I completely shut down or I clean.  These days it’s been the later.

You might think that cleaning is a good thing, but really it’s not, because I tend to make a bigger mess than I had before.  But, at least it makes me feel better for a little while.

Sometimes I even get in these moods where I want to get rid of everything I haven’t touched in last six months…clothes, shoes, dvd’s, books, kitchen stuff, whatever…. I have been in one of those moods for the past few days.  I like to call it purging.  Cleaning out the old and bringing in the new.

I feel like for the past six months God has been doing this in my life.  He has been purging me of all the old thoughts and ideas I had about myself and bringing in a new understanding of who I am and what I am created to do.  It’s not fun.  It feels like He is taking a piece of me that I treasured and staked my identity in and throwing it in the bottom of a trash bag with a pair of my old shoes to give to the Salvation Army.  But, I know in the long run, it’s what is best for me, and I will be better because of it.

Last night I had a great conversation with my best friend, and we talked about how it’s a scary thing to be starting over.  We are both going through life changes, returning to school, and wondering if we will ever be married.  Now, we are in our late twenties and are nowhere near where we thought we would be at this age.  When we graduated from college, we had these high aspirations for life, and now we are finding ourselves back at the drawing board.

It seems like there’s this unspoken expectation that tells us we have to know who we are, have everything figured out, and have at least started to build our family and financial stability by this time in our life.  I don’t know if it’s something our parents passed down, or culture, or the church, or if it’s just my biological clock telling me I’m running behind, but it makes me feel like a failure.  I feel like I have missed the mark because I’m almost 30 and still trying to figure things out.

Starting over is scary.  I think at this stage of my life, I know too much to start over.  I am scared and unsure.  And, am finding myself a little less daring and willing to step out in faith, like I was when I was 18.  Life is different now.  I am different now.

But, I guess it all comes back to the fact that we never stop growing and changing.  I never really understood that until it happened to me.  I have outgrown the girl I was at 15, or 18, or 23, or even 25.  I am not her anymore, and I can’t go back to being her.  I am who I am now.

I feel like God is peeling away the layers I have masked myself in for the past 26 years and getting me down to my core, so I can live out of the core of myself.  He is growing me and changing me.  He is molding me and shaping me.

So, maybe, I’m not starting over.  Maybe I’m just starting new.