Oh Boy, Oh-ahu
This year has been WILD. I have never adventured so much with Jesus in my entire life. My apologies ahead of time for the lengthy post, but I have been asked so many times about my move and have wanted to share it with you all for a long while because it is a crazy testament to God’s sense of humor, His passion for adventure, and His love to give good gifts to his children.
I lived near Los Angeles for the last 5-ish years going to school and working as an executive assistant my first year out of school. After about 9 months of work though I found myself exhausted—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically—to the point friends and family were worried. So I quit. I took a couple weeks off and then began frantically looking for another job. Things kept falling through and I kept growing more and more frustrated. Eventually, I happened upon a job that seemed incredible: closer to home, a huge salary increase, a big “stepping stone” to the corporate world. I seemed a shoe-in for the job too, as the HR director had recommended me for the position. I finally felt satisfied and proud. The interview would be in just over two weeks and the job would start soon after. Now I just had to wait.
It was right after finding out about this new job that my dad ended up with a free plane ticket and my grandma, who owns a condo in Maui, let us all know her condo was going unused for about 2 weeks. So, having not had more than 2 days off back to back in over 9 months, I left. I flew to Maui a few days later and planned to stay for 10 days before coming back for my interview.
Vacationing by your self is wonderful… for about 4 days. But when you are alone and know nobody around you day after day, you are forced to actually slow down. You are forced to actually stop and hear your own thoughts and listen for the voice of God. When life is busy and moving, it is easy to distract yourself with people and church and work and commuting and Instagram and, and, and, and… It is only when life is properly still that you are able to feel God pushing your buttons. And that’s what He did with me—big time.
It took me several days of vacation just to feel “wound down.” But soon enough I began to feel questions come up that I didn’t know the answers to. Questions like: “What do you actually want to be doing?” “Where do you actually want to be living?” “Who do you actually want to be surrounded by?” “What do you actually want your life to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?” The more I ignored them the more the questions gnawed at me. And the more the questions gnawed at me, the more I realized that my life didn’t match my answers. I didn’t want to be working in a corporate job. I didn’t want to be “climbing a ladder.” I didn’t want to be taking a job just because of the money. I wanted to be chasing Jesus… and that was about the only answer I had.
Nearly a week into my trip I called my friend from high school, Lisa. Lisa had just moved to Oahu about 3 months before. We quickly caught up on the phone and I told her about quitting my previous job and my upcoming job and my quick vacation. As a bit of a joke, she said, “Well do you have to stay in California?! Live here! Apply here!” HA… oh Lisa.
But that night I was up until almost 4 in the morning unable to sleep. I felt overcome with the need to look up applying to a job in Hawaii. I opened my laptop, googled “event jobs Oahu” and clicked on the first thing that sounded remotely interesting. I spent about 10 minutes on the application, sent it off, and slept like a baby the rest of the night… until I was awoken by a phone call for a screening from a woman claiming to be from HR at the company I had just applied to. Two hours later I received a call from the hiring manager asking if I could come in the next morning for an interview. I was stunned.
At this point, I figured the worst thing that could come from my crazy decision was a quick trip to see Lisa and some interview practice. So I changed my free flight out of Maui to Oahu, bought a one-way ticket to Honolulu and Lisa picked me up from the airport. I interviewed for the job and got it on the spot. What I figured would be a small joke had now turned into either a sick, twisted joke or a massive life decision. So, I prayed. I asked the Lord to fling open doors if this was where He wanted my next season to be and to slam them shut if not.
Logistically I knew it seemed completely idiotic. 1) I had a lease back in California that I was still on and a roommate that I didn’t want to ditch or leave with some random person from Craigslist. 2) I had no place to live in Honolulu—particularly one that was remotely within my price range. 3) The job I was beginning wanted to me to start as soon as possible, meaning I would have to be back on the island within a week.
The planner in me began to shut down the idea. THE LOGISTICS! THEY CAN’T POSSIBLY WORK. So, as God does, He laughed. 1) In less than 4 hours my roommate in Los Angeles called me back saying a girl had asked if she had a space available in her apartment, so she had a new roommate that she knew and trusted. 2) My friend Lisa came back from work telling me that her company was sending her to the mainland for over 2 months, meaning her apartment was going to be vacant and available for couch-crashing until I got myself on my feet in Honolulu. 3) This one was already possible, just seemed absolutely insane.
I felt over and over again my heart pressing, “Here I am Lord, send me. Send me. Send me.” And I knew that I could go back to California and live safely—that I could live a financially safe and steady and independent and quaint little life and the Lord would somehow use it and bless it. And I knew also that I would be being vividly disobedient to an opportunity and a calling... and that epic love stories don’t usually begin with a safety net. So I did one of those dumb things called a “big prayer,” where you tell the Lord something radical and then He actually does it. I said, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
I flew back to Los Angeles and in 3 days packed everything I owned into my car before driving it up to my parents’ house in Seattle over the course of the next 2 days. I was back in Honolulu the following evening.
So here I am, nearly 10 months later and feeling like I've just started. Since moving here I have learned more of not just who my God is, but of who I am in Him. Each morning I have woken up feeling more and more like myself—like I’ve met a new sliver of Annika Rae and of Jesus each day. And friends, that is the best and craziest and most epic adventure we will ever have.
Please Note: As it turns out, over a year before moving I had received a prophetic word about encountering the Lord on volcanic islands that I hadn't remembered it at all. I went back and listened to a recording of it about a month after moving here and just about lost my mind. It was rad.