This transition back to Chicago was pretty difficult actually. I was just so excited to get back to Chicago, back to my friends and family, and I didn’t think it would be hard. I was going back home, so how hard could it be? I drove 18 hours with my dad on Sunday/Monday. I got back to Chicago that Monday, February 13 at about 2PM, moved everything into my apartment, unpacked everything, and started decorating. Next day, I started work. A huge blessing is that I live right behind where I work (The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Chicago), so there’s no commute. Praise the Lord! So started work right away and literally had everyday planned with something- getting dinner with a friend, going to Indiana to see family, play practice for a play I was in for a night. All wonderful things, but quite the change from life in Quincy.
I basically went from two extremes. Quincy: the focus was pretty much on me. Not in a selfish way, but I was focused on letting the Lord change me and transform me. Working out and eating right was top priority (under God of course). I didn’t have a ton of friends there, so I’d hang out with Alberta, Heather, or the college students sometimes, but I have a lot of down time. A lot of alone time. And I really actually learned how to be alone and enjoy it toward the end. I saw movies by myself, went on walks by myself, worked out by myself. It might sound cheesy or corny or whatever, but God was my best friend. Looking back, that’s the closest I’ve ever felt to the Lord. I felt Him, I knew He was there, He was guiding me out of my addiction to food and into freedom. Even writing this now, I miss Quincy. I miss what that place was for me: a place to grow and change.
Then I came back and lost sight of all of that. Friends and family become automatically more important. I put myself dead last in my priorities, so exercise went down the drain, I ate whatever I wanted pretty much, and went back to the busyness that used to be my life before Quincy. Sin that I thought I was done with, crept back in because I let it. This was all pretty much the case until about two weeks ago when I sent out a mass facebook message to some people, spilling my guts, telling them my struggles, and asking for support and accountability. I went back to Weight Watchers, set up a work out schedule, and am slowly getting back on track.
What I’ve learned from this whole transition: priorities are huge. God needs to be top priority. In this season of my life, I need to be a high priority. If I ignore my issues, don’t take care of myself, don’t allow time for my to be filled, I won’t be able to effectively pour myself out for other people. Basically, my relationship with God is the one relationship I need to spend the most time investing in. Out of a solid relationship with him, fruit will develop, things will come to together and priorities will be right and God honoring. Things won’t be prefect by any means, but I will be able to face anything knowing that the Lord is on my side.
This week is a week to say “good bye” to many things- to this blog for starters. It’s hard to believe it’s all done. I want to create a book from this blog, so if any of you know how to do that, please let me know. I will look over this whole thing and see how much I’ve changed. I already know I’ve changed a lot. God has used this blog to grow me for sure, but I also know He’s used it challenge those of you who read this blog.
Good bye to bad habits, to addictions, to doubt that things will ever change, to believing lies that tell me I’m not worth it, to feeling guilty, to excuses, to anything else that would keep me from being the person God created me to be.
Friends, as I end this last post of this blog, I want to tell you that I’m starting another blog. I’m starting from scratch, and this blog will primarily be a place for me to express my thoughts during my journey toward a healthier me. I will write my experiences as I continue to recover from my issues with food, I’ll post things that I’ve found encouraging, and basically whatever else the Lord leads me to write about. I know there will still be goals I’ll set for myself, and I would love for all of you to continue to walk on this journey with me. Head to http://amandakeene.wordpress.com/ and follow my new blog. You won't be disappointed!
Thanks to all of you for following this blog, for supporting me, for giving me feedback. It has meant so much to me. I pray that God continues to challenge you to maybe change your perspective on life, to pursue things that are life-giving, to break out of the norm and move to radical love for yourself and others, or simply that you come to know God if you don’t already. Love to you all!