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Belonging

The streets are full of light. Dancing of glass windows, reflecting in puddles and twinkling through cab windows. The darkness casts spells in my soul and makes me believe that anything is possible in the city that never sleeps.

It is my first time in New York City and I’m drinking in the wonder. I pass so many people on the streets speaking different tongues with different accents to reinforce the foreign world of sound and light.

Wandering these busy streets even in the early morning hours keeps my heart full and reminds me of what it means to belong somewhere. To feel the gravitational pull of a home away from homes.

I never considered myself a city girl until I studied abroad in London for the first time. I had no idea a city could be so inviting and busy and warm even in the dead of winter. I felt so safe winding through the open arms of London’s busy streets. I didn’t know it then but I felt something new stir in me, that sense of being in the right place at the right time, knowing that everything that led me to London was not coincidence. God had been moving my heart and I hadn’t known it until I set my foot down in a completely new and exciting environment.

Three years later I found myself moving across the Atlantic ocean for the very city I once called new and foreign, but now felt like my own backyard. I knew almost every winding street. (Unlike New York there are no rules to the London streets. There are no blocks and no grids to speak of just sheer knowledge of where you will end up or not end up.) I was confident in how to navigate the Tube and local bus system. I felt like home. Like I had somewhere to belong.

And now two years later after moving back from London I have that same sense, that gut feeling that New York City, the city that never sleeps, is home. Exploring this city was an entirely new experience, everything was numbered and listed– the terminology “uptown” or “downtown” worlds away from the paisley patterned London streets ending mostly in ‘shire’. The lights were so bright and unfamiliar that it felt like I had to shield my eyes when I was walking around the nighttime sights. But still something in my being whispered you belong here.

Being a very confident ENFP, God and I tend to communicate in wordless emotions. Feeling like you belong to something, someplace, or someone is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. Love stems out of the knowledge of being wholly committed to something whether it be a love of Harry Potter, New York, or God. When I feel like I belong, I feel loved to the depths of my being. When I talk about God communicating to me through my emotions I’m talking about this mutual understanding of belonging to an omnipotent being who wants the best for me and wants to partner with me in my dreams. I know there are a million reasons to question emotion and feeling based theology but if I’m sure of anything, it’s that God loves me. He loves me for me. And a lot of that me is emotional. So when I notice a shift in my emotions, it speaks to me, the same way a river speaks to the land as it shapes, carves, and takes its time irrigating life it supports along the way.

I have no idea where God intends to take me in this next year. But if I’ve learned anything from my big God, it’s that he longs to dream with me. He places whispers in my soul and speaks to me as I journey my way through countries, states, and cities. I just have to wait and listen for that peace and that sense of belonging and I know that in due time God will provide the way.

A fair warning. There have been failures, Lord knows I have rushed into things where I was certain this is God speaking, when in fact it was just me selfishly shouting over him. (Those emotions previously discussed can also lead you astray when you aren’t operating on the same wavelength as God.) Luckily, he hasn’t held this against me and has still offered me so many opportunities to find his peace and blessings as I walk through life with Him.

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Devon Johnson

My favorite things include spelling things with a British "u", Spider-man is my life partner, and I have an addiction to traveling. I get told that I look a lot like "that one girl from La La Land" and I currently run a magazine called Whilst. I love Jesus and I'm so thankful He's my real life partner. @devonanne2015 @whilstmagazine

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