Old Home, Old Habits | My Iowa City Rut

For the three days I’ve been back in Iowa City, it has felt like every part of coming home.

It’s familiar and comfortable – I can once again frequent all my regular places, fall back into all of my normal routines. I can run the same route downtown that I’ve run for years, order the same drinks at DC’s and Spoco, and shop at the same resale boutique that I’ve browsed almost weekly since I was a sophomore.

But despite the comfort in these familiarities, I’m inclined to fight my return to old ways.
Returning home, whether it be to Joliet or Iowa City, means returning to old parts of my life – and returning to some of these parts means falling back into old, bad habits.

And already, after only a few days, I find myself being tempted by the same vices that plagued me when I was a student not 3 months ago.

Bad habits like ordering too many drinks at DC’s and Spoco or spending too much money at my favorite resale boutique have already reared their ugly heads and left me with the same temptations I dealt with all of college.

So in the midst of my immense happiness at being back in a familiar place – a place where friends live just down the street and Starbucks baristas know my name and complicated latte order by heart – I feel called to act against these habits.

I feel the call to make a change.

Living in Iowa City and facing these temptations over the years led me to think often of the concept of leaving everything behind to follow Christ.

Luke 5:11 speaks of the apostles and says, “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”

And Matthew 4:18-22 tells the same story, saying, “And He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately, they left their nets and followed Him.”
This past year, I felt a very strong urge to do exactly this. First, as I wrote the article Faith First on Campus – published in the National Catholic Register this past May – I struggled constantly with practicing all that I preached.

And again, as I’ve written this blog, I’ve felt an even stronger pull to leave my bad habits behind and follow Him.

Living in a new place like Florida meant the utmost potential for a new lifestyle. Being where I’ve been before though, in Iowa City, requires breaking free from a rut.
And I am so comfortable in my rut.

Yet, the knowledge that I’m made for something more creates a conflict within me.
I can’t help but wonder what incredible greatness God has in store for my life if only I stop settling for what is comfortable and start making the right choices.

What incredible greatness does God have in store for our lives if only we stop settling for what is comfortable and start making the right choices?

Coming home to Iowa City has relieved me of so many anxieties and discomforts. Yet, my conscience is far from at ease.

So as the work begins once again, my efforts to start anew in an old place begin with it.
As Christians, our efforts to improve ourselves and grow ever-closer to Christ should be unceasing. This makes life an on-going challenge, but makes recognizing our call very simple –

Seek the Lord. Turn away from temptation.

Leave everything behind and follow Him.