ATLAS// pride.

Hi, I’m Nicole!

(but you can call me Prideful.)

Over the past two years, I’ve done some incredible things. I interned for my favorite nonprofit, I lived in my favorite city for almost a year, I made some of the best friends I could have ever wanted, I moved to the country that stole my heart six years ago to work with a prominent lady of faith working to build peace and love in a town torn by war. Pretty incredible, right?

It was.

But I’m slowly learning that the fear of missing out will always surround you.

Today, I’m sitting in the same seat at the same Starbucks I was during my junior and senior year of high school. I’m living with my parents in my hometown. At first this was refreshing – to have the familiar within my reach again. But then I realized I saw the world spin, while my home spun. My friends settled in with their relationships, bought houses, and began creating incredible lives here. Old places, new faces. I didn’t have solid ground anymore. Moving home was an adventure I didn’t expect.

Equally so, I changed. It wasn’t just my friends and hometown that were different. I became my own person. I broke free of all the expectations people had for me, I journeyed to places where no one knew my name, I was on my own. It was freeing and beautiful and hard and fun. And now I’m back. Hearing the same expectations placed on me in high school, letting the voices of doubt creep in, and hearing “this is what the old Nicole would have done.”

It’s been hard in many ways. Hard because I know I’ve changed and it’s hard to hear people say they like who I was before better. Hard because I don’t want to be in a season of rest. Hard because I don’t feel like I matter.

But I’m slowly learning it doesn’t take compliments, blog worthy stories, or a new and exciting country to make me matter. It doesn’t take newness or applause. All it takes is waking up in the morning. Frederick Buechner once said,

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”

And I like that. It comforts me on the repetitive days of searching for a job. It allows me to breathe easy knowing that seasons of rest are as important as seasons of adventure. This universe is mine to explore with my Maker. This story is mine to read and live and write with the One who spoke it all into existence. The beautiful, the messy, the terrible, and the redeeming all happen in their time. And none of them define who I am.

We matter because we are. I matter because I exist. That’s all.

So for the prideful ones – breathe easy knowing neither your successes nor your failures define you. And for the humble ones – breathe easy knowing you’ve got this one figured out.

It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.

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