When You’re Not What You Do

When You’re Not What You Do

When I turned 16, I received a call. It wasn’t on my navy blue Motorola Razor (which was graciously provided with my four year contract at Suncom that I decided to pay for myself). It was from God. I felt as though God had placed it on my heart to devote my life to ministry. It quickly became everything I wanted.

I poured my life, my heart, my soul, everything I did. It became about ministry. I went to bible college, but quickly came home when I realized that bible college was expensive and ministry money would not pay that off well.

While many spent their time in college living it up with weekends and parties and getting good grades, I lived mine on the 4th floor of an old building in downtown Savannah. Leading worship and games and playing cards for too many hours after VBS. I spent it writing songs on a ukulele while riding in the back of an old church mini van that smelled like cheerios on the way to some mission trip or ski trip. I spent it doing what I loved and what I knew I would do for the rest of my life.

Over the next ten years, ministry was my whole world. Sometimes I felt like I was good at it and sometimes I was overwhelmed by how much I had to learn. I lived for the relational side of it and dreaded staff meetings. I jumped from camps to retreats to kick offs, and sighed out massive amounts of exhaustion over aggressive parent emails.

I spent a decade learning and falling in love with the ins and outs of the local church. I learned denominations and practices. I learned the differences in what each church believed and what they valued. I served in three very different churches, but loved each one so differently. I loved them because of how they loved Jesus and taught others to love Him well.

I’ve been out of vocational ministry for one week. I never thought I would say that. I never thought I would step out. But I truly believe that God has called me to step out in this season. That’s not a fancy way of me prettying up a circumstance. I believe that to be the truth. It’s my truth, and even if it makes my heart hurt sometimes, it’s a truth that God will continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months and years.

If I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that I feel like I’ve never gotten to know. I’ve never really discovered who I am outside of ministry. Of course student ministry has always been important to me, but I think at some point, it became who I thought I was. I have found that a lot of my identity has been found in ministry and sometimes, dare I say, less in Jesus. Messy, right?

I have grown in my faith and of course I love Jesus. But I also sometimes feel like, I wonder, if I don’t know who I am outside of vocational ministry. It’s time consuming and has consumed a lot of who I am. When it got hard, like really hard, I felt like I started to feel like I was having an identity crisis.

This is what I always thought I would do. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. Do I still want to do this? Am I bad at this? Have I gone my whole life thinking ministry was something that it’s not? Was I something I’m not? 

Identity Crisis. So dramatic, right?

I don’t think I’m done with student ministry forever. Probably not even in this season. I’m just blindly stepping out in faith and allowing God to guide me instead of telling Him what I should be doing. What I’m supposed to be doing. What we talked about me doing.

It’s a weird feeling. Not being in total control. But I also feel like I can finally rest because I don’t have the choice to be in control of some of these things.

It has only been a week, but I think a lot of this season will be me learning that I am not what I do. While I have always loved what I have done, I think I will be learning to truly love who I am, in or out of ministry.

Your People

Your People

Sometimes your contacts are connected to your work email.

But then you don’t have a work email.

It’s ok, though. Because you’ll find your people. They will call you and text you and send you funny memes. And they will love you and ask to take you to get coffee or lunch. Or they will track you down at your favorite coffee shop. Because even though they are your people, they reached out and you couldn’t reach back. They are there, though. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They will love you well in all the best ways. The ways that you need to be loved. They know those ways. Target and snacks and baby snuggles. They know. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They will highlight the best parts of you and correct the parts that are maybe not so good. But they will let you be you. They’ll help you remember what that looks like. They’re your people. That’s their job.

They’ll come pick you up. Physically. In their car and roll down the windows while playing your favorite song. Spiritually. With every bible verse you couldn’t remember when you needed it. Or the sermons you haven’t heard that will make you feel seen by the most high God. They’re your people. That’s their job.

And the ones who don’t live close. They’ll beg you to come closer. They don’t want to be far from you when you’re looking for your people. They’ll be as close as they can even if it’s a couple thousand miles in distance. They’re still there. They’re your people. That’s their job.

We all have our people. We are those people. We know how to show up even when we don’t know how to show up.

Find your people. Love them well. It’s our job.

 

 

A New Hope and A New Hallway

A New Hope and A New Hallway

Three years ago I wrote an article called Hope in the Hallway. I wrote it for some friends who were waiting to hear back from some jobs. I referred to a season where I was waiting to hear back from a job. My first job in ministry.

I was standing in the hallway staring at doors, praying that they would open and invite me inside. I had a love/hate relationship with that hallway. I loved the anticipation. The hope. The closeness of God because of my need to rely on Him.

But I hated the uncertainty. I didn’t love the lies that would creep in, telling me that I was not good enough to walk through any of those doors that may open.

But there was hope.

It’s three years later, to the week, and I am back in the hallway. The one I had prayed so fervently for my friends who stood there. The hallway I was once in almost a decade ago.

Shortly after writing that article, I was presented with an amazing opportunity. One I wasn’t even looking for. To come be a part of an amazing staff, church, and youth ministry. I was invited to disciple girls and lead leaders and be a part of a team that would teach me so much.

I would spend the next three years falling in love with the community I served in. I would go to camps and mission trips that would teach me just how big God really is. I would learn about integrity and how to have it, even when it’s difficult. I would learn what it means to work hard for the glory of God. I would shed more tears than I could count with girls in my office. I would walk with students through some of their darkest days. I would learn things about myself. Things I didn’t even know I had in me.

It’s three years later and I have been stretched. I have grown. I have felt weary at times. And I have felt like I could conquer anything because of the nearness of God.

It’s three years later and I have stepped back into the hallway. Maybe even stumbled. But it’s a different feeling. The last 15 years, my life has been defined by student ministry. Even in the moments I wasn’t doing student ministry, it still consumed me. Not that it won’t still consume me, but this is new territory.

I’m not sure what my life will look like a year from now. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.

I have a divine sense of peace. One that couldn’t come from anywhere except the Holy Spirit.

I’ve never felt so scared, excited, sad, and hungry in my life (no, not because I’m eating healthy again…like, hungry for opportunity).

While I’m ready for what’s next, I am also ready to sit and listen and wait to see what that may be.

I invite you on this journey with me. To discover new callings, conversations, and prayers. My tribe is bigger and better than ever before and I’m excited for where the Lord is going to take us.