Why Did God Send Me to California?
Now that I am a bit removed from my time in California, I can see how God was at work in calling me to go.
1. He wanted me to realize where I was spiritually.
He showed me what bad habits in my life I needed to more actively seek to cut out. At this point, I knew I had things to work on, but I was far too complacent to do much about them during the school year.
Some examples are: the need to be uber busy, procrastination, and deep habitual sin. Without the extra distractions of classes and college life, it was very clear that I had a lot of room to grow in several areas.
2. He wanted me to learn how to rest.
As eluded to in point one, I had this need to always be occupied with something. From middle school on, I have been involved with many extracurriculars. This alone is an excellent thing, but because it was so many and I lacked an understanding of balance as God intended us to have, it became quite exhausting. I carried this busyness into college. Though my motives to to be busy were better than when I was younger, I still failed to rely on God’s strength to get me through in the midst of the activities. This caused what seemed like awesome things to feel more like chores than opportunities.
During my time in LA, I tried so hard to get a job, but I was kind of unsuccessful (more on that in The California Experience 4). After weeks of job seeking, God revealed to me in a sermon that I was to think of this time off as a Sabbath. This was hard for me to grasp because I was soon going to run out of the money I had saved up to live there, but His instruction to rest was VERY clear.
3. He wanted me to learn how to fully trust Him for provision.
Like many people do, I had the mindset that it was my responsibility to provide for myself and I couldn’t wait to get a job because: no job = no money = no food = no way to live.
God proved to me time after time how He was my sole provider and that He would make things work out for my survival and good in the most unlikeliest of ways. Though it took the cooperation of man, I now knew that He was my ultimate source. More importantly, now that I was finally trusting Him, He could unveil just how faithful He was to come through for me.
4. He showed me who I was and who He wanted me to become.
He revealed that I was still finding my identity in things of the world (i.e. my appearance, financial stability, making others feel comfortable) instead of in Him, His word, and His eternal promises. He corrected my dependency on legalism to qualify us for His love to being driven by His love for us and having a kingdom mindset.
5. He wanted me to know how to handle tough situations and conversations.
Long story short, someone found out I was a Christian and began to go out her way to just make things harder for me. Based on her microagressions, I would often react instead of respond. God quickly showed me that I needed to nip that in a bud. This is not the kind of behavior He wanted any of His children to have.
Also, He taught me that I don’t always have to go the route that is most logical for things to end well. I began to work on having joy no matter what circumstances I found myself in. For example, one of the reasons it was difficult for me to land a summer job was I couldn’t find it within me to straight up lie on an interview or application. When asked how long I intended to be employed by whoever the employer was I couldn’t say “the foreseeable future,” “a year,” or even “four months.” This alone was a reason against hiring me, not to mention my lack of experience at the time. Setting aside my morality to get a job was not an option. I eventually did get a job that started after the workshop ended and was very temporary. It was by no means peaches or cream, but God continued to grow me through it’s craziness before, during, and even after. (Once again check out The California Experience 4 for a more in depth explanation of this.)
6. He wanted to narrow down and confirm His call on my life.
The foundational reasons I was in California were: a. To get away from Louisiana and b. Advance my knowledge and experience as a composer.
As I was searching for ways to do these two things I saw a lot of interesting opportunities, but the Arranging With Hindustani Music summer intensive stood out to me. God had put it on my heart to apply to go. It didn’t matter that the application was due in two days or that I had no idea how much of an investment it was going to end up being. I just knew I needed to be a part of this workshop. I applied, got in, found out how much the workshop alone would be, and went for it. There is no apparent reason why I, an African American woman composer from Louisiana, had to go to a workshop on Indian Classical music that was across the nation. I wouldn’t know why this crossover workshop would be so pivotal until a year and some change later.
Honestly, I would have gone to this workshop if it was just about anywhere in the states aside from Louisiana (and maybe Texas), but I’m glad that it turned out to be California, even as expensive as it is, as I had dreamed about going for some time.
7. He wanted me to learn how to be independent.
Though I have certainly been in situations where I’ve felt by myself before this trip, it was a totally different feeling once I was truly by myself, or stranded. When I was in situations when I wasn’t with any friends or family at school, I at least had some security and familiarity to fall back on. Up until early high school, the thoughts of being teased or judged for, say, eating lunch alone drove me to eat and associate with people I knew were friends with me for the wrong reasons and really weren’t even friends at all.
In California, once my mom and sister flew back to Louisiana after the first few days, I soon learned how to allow God to be with me everywhere I went and acknowledge Him so I did not feel lonely away from all familiarity. Once I tapped into this power within me, being separated from my home state, family, and friends not only became bearable, but exhilarating. Being by myself meant being closer to God which is something I had desperately needed for my whole life. I finally knew who God and Desiree Robinson was and that they were meant to live together and have a relationship. Through that, I was able to discern who to connect with when there.
8. He again showed me to appreciate the little things in life.
I say again because I learned this years ago after my dad passed away. One of the main things that got me out that dark season of crying almost daily due to the void of my father was remembering that I had a life to live, with or without him, which in itself is a gift.
It was little things like the nice weather, walking and having quiet moments with God in the area I was staying, the fact that I could get around LA county with RTA light rail for cheap, the fact that ridesharing services exist, the kindness of housemates, and so much more that kept me going.
I could go on and on and even write a book about my time in California, but that’s all for now. I pray that my blog posts have inspired or enlightened you in some way. I would love to know if you’ve had similar experiences or had a light bulb go off through these stories.