Journey to LA LA Land – Part I – Motivation to Move Forward

On Friday June 25th, I boarded a plane in Tennessee and set out on a journey to Los Angeles, California – I affectionately refer to it as LA LA Land.  I thought about chronicling this journey on the blog prior to leaving, but time got away from me, so I decided to share upon my return.  Here is a little back story:

I visited L.A. for the first time, as an adult, in April 2004.  My friends, I was smitten.  It was love at first sight.  I’m not even sure I know why, really.  It was big; it was challenging; it was a stretching of my faith.  The creative atmosphere just seemed to scream “EXTRAORDINARY“, a far cry from the ordinary life I’d been living.  As a child, I dreamt of life beyond the borders of mediocrity.  When I stepped foot into L.A., it was as if I’d somehow crossed my own personal borders.  The taste of it was intoxicating, and I wanted more.

As God would have it, I visited again just a year later, in April 2005, and once more a year and 9 months after that in January 2007.  With each visit, the feeling was exactly the same.  With little conscious effort, I grew more comfortable with the abundance of freeways and cars to clog them; I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and saying farewell at the end of each excursion proved to be quite the unexpected challenge.  It was obvious LA LA Land had captured my heart, but why?  What does it all mean?  Was the Lord calling me to move to this place?

On June 25th, I prepared to journey there once more in hopes of finding out.

This was my first solo voyage to L.A., and the trip fell into place with very little effort on my part.  I flew on a buddy pass given to me by a dear friend a year earlier.  I was welcomed into the home of a young lady who’d never laid eyes on me before.  She trusted the word of one of her friends (whom I’d met here in Tennessee) and gave me a place to lay my head during my visit.  Another dear friend gave me a very unexpected financial blessing that went a long way toward the cost of my 5 day rental car.  All I could say was “WOW”.  I was now prepared to “go view the land”.

I’m always amazed by how fast fear runs to greet you when you decide to venture beyond the borders of your comfort zone and take a stroll down a road less traveled.  I touched on this in my May 30th post about my morning walk, remember?  Well in case you ever wondered, the road I mentioned that looked “impossible to travel” was this journey to LA LA Land.  If you missed that post, you can click here to check it out.

Anyway, fear made his debut appearance on my journey in the Atlanta airport where I awaited a connecting flight.  I wasn’t cleared from the stand-by list for the 10am flight to L.A., and for some strange reason this minute delay sent me into a tizzy!!  Suddenly, I found myself in a panic, feeling crippled with fear and wanting to call off the whole trip.  The fact that my luggage made the earlier flight and was already half way across the country made absolutely no difference to me.  I wanted OUT!

Seriously….  It was just a simple trip to Los Angeles, right?  Or was it?

What in the world was happening to me?  This is the trip I’d been waiting for.  The sea of bodies in Hartsfield-Jackson airport seemed to overwhelm me like an ocean wave.  My body trembled slightly, chilled by anxiety.  This sudden fear was unbelievable!  It was as if the curtain had been raised, and I had suddenly succumb to a bad case of stage fright.  As my emotions exploded within me, my adversary seized a golden opportunity to taunt me, tempting me to squash it all and retreat to my comfort zone.  I almost agreed with him until I remembered that he only speaks lies and is the father of them.

I fought back tears of fear and frustration as my dear friend on the other end of the phone simultaneously checked the airline’s employee website for stand-by availability on upcoming flights and attempted to talk me down off of the ledge that had become my new home.  I’m certain she prayed frantically on my behalf, as well.  She knew turning back was not the flight pattern I was scheduled to take that day.

I had a pretty full agenda for my time in California.  Although I was excited about each item on the list, I found myself dangerously willing to chunk my divinely planned itinerary.  However, as I contemplated walking away from it all, the Spirit of the Lord continued to highlight only one of the meetings I had scheduled.  Only one….

As God would have it, I had plans to meet a woman named Kenya the day before I was scheduled to fly back home.  Kenya is the co-worker and classmate of one of my cousins, and she reads this blog.  This woman experienced great loss a few months ago, and hearing her story grabbed my heart.  I was honored that she wanted to meet me.

I didn’t tell her this when we met, but in that moment of panic, during those wobbly first steps outside my comfort zone, Kenya was my motivation to move forward.  For a brief moment in time, I was chosen to be the arms of God, sent to embrace one of His daughters as she mourns.  To me, it was the most important item on my LA LA Land agenda, and I was honored to complete the task.

God knew how to get me to California.  He knew my feet would ice over, so He placed the heart of one of His daughters on my “itinerary” as motivation for me to plow past fear and leave my comfort zone behind.  I’m so glad I did.  Meeting Kenya was rewarding on so many levels.  She may say that I blessed her that Tuesday afternoon, but the blessing was poured out on me that day, for sure.  God used my sweet sister in Christ to remind me of who He’s called me to be.  In the midst of all the “things” I had planned to do, she was a picture of what’s truly important to the heart of the Father, His children.  I believe that He would send me all the way across the country just for her, because He loves her that much.  Quite possibly at least one purpose of this trip was my test to see if I would go.

So, is that all there is to my “California calling”?   Good question.  As I reflect upon my visit to LA LA Land, one thing I noted was that my words from earlier in this post still hold true.  With little conscious effort, I grew more comfortable with the abundance of freeways and cars to clog them; I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and saying farewell at the end of THIS excursion proved to be quite the unexpected challenge. But does that mean I’m supposed to live there today?

My visit awakened many things within me.  It encouraged me, once again, to stand against fear (and showed me that I know how to do just that.).  It challenged me to keep reaching for the extraordinary life, one led by the Holy Spirit.  And it cemented within the depth of my soul and spirit my identity in Christ – who I am as His daughter and my assignment as His servant.  Since then, many things are beginning to stir in my spirit.  Will LA LA Land be the place I call home?  All I can say, today, is only time will tell.

I promise to keep you posted.  Agreed?!   Until next time…

P.S. For me, Californ-i-a, whether naturally or symbolically, represents the land beyond the walls of ordinary.  To choose to journey beyond the walls of ordinary serves well to stretch our faith, to challenge our current existence.  What is your “California calling”?  What is that “place” outside your comfort zone that beckons you to come?  Will you take the step?

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marcia
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 21:51:00

    My LaLa Land is taking the necessary steps toward building a business that will give us the freedom that we so desperately want and need. For me, that is what my weekend was all about and it is clear that it won’t happen without me taking those steps. I figure when it is all said it and done and I don’t have what I want and I am ready to lay blame – Fear is nowhere to be found and the one left to blame is ME. Which is really what fear is – You in disguise, lacking confidence, sabotaging yourself. And to top it off, you will STILL be empty handed. So guess what – its time for me regain that confidence from the One who promises to give us Power, Love and a Sound mind and time to start walking! 🙂

    Reply

    • Monica P. Watkins
      Aug 19, 2010 @ 22:38:59

      “Which is really what fear is – You in disguise, lacking confidence, sabotaging yourself.”
      I love this line. It’s so true! Especially the sabotaging yourself part. We must constantly remind us that God did not give us the spirit of fear. His word never said fear won’t come, but He was clear in letting us know it does not come from Him. So we must be determined in our steps to walk through it. Keep taking your faithful steps to build that business!

      Reply

  2. Wanda
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 21:57:52

    You definitely have a way with words, my dear. Your adjectives and analogy just pulled me in. Powerful questions you posed at the end that I’ll be pondering upon. Blessings

    Reply

    • Monica P. Watkins
      Aug 19, 2010 @ 22:41:14

      Sweet Wanda! You are just so faithful, and I know I’m SO LATE in responding to you. “What is your ‘California calling’? What is that ‘place’ outside your comfort zone that beckons you to come? Will you take the step?”
      Have you answered these questions yet? 🙂 Now you KNEW I’d have to ask, right?! 🙂

      Reply

  3. Peggy Reeves
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 12:43:08

    Monica, I so enjoyed reading your journey to La La Land. We never know what trips, what steps, or what actions will open up new doors of opportunity for us. We must keep moving forward, walking through the fear and on to experiencing the “extraordinary life” God desires for us. Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog. I love how God uses us to encourage one-another in our journeys…even when we are unaware of it. Blessings, Peggy

    Reply

    • Monica P. Watkins
      Aug 19, 2010 @ 22:36:19

      Peggy, please forgive my late response, but thank you SO MUCH for stopping by my place. I visit your site often, and I have been very blessed by your posts at Embracing Life. That’s what I’m striving to do these days, EMBRACE life! Walking through the fear has been and continues to be one of my greatest lessons, but I am determined to live life “outside the boat”. That extraordinary life, “on the water” as I like to call it, is where I want to be, walking towards Christ and encouraging others to follow. Please come back to visit soon.

      Reply

  4. Laci
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 21:35:04

    Hummm, good post my love! I will honestly say, I feel as though I am in my uncomfort zone now. Living day and night, one foot in front of the other. The battle is to stay in place until God says move. Ohh, the bended knee! Don’t you just love how God uses us to model his word. Leave the many for the one… Thanks Dad!

    Reply

    • Monica P. Watkins
      Aug 19, 2010 @ 22:30:54

      Laci, His ways are so NOT our own, and I’m learning to be so very thankful for that! That “uncomfort zone” is where you really see God. Learn to LOVE that place! It really is a beautiful place to be, even though it often feels pretty crazy! lol… My trip to LA LA Land made me want to leave the many for the one over and over again! I’m still thankful and amazed that He chose me. Thank you for sharing, Laci!

      Reply

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