Five days have passed from when I titled this post to when I started writing. Many thoughts to process and all considered carefully before choosing what to share and how. I’m not perfect, as coworkers, friends and former girlfriends can attest – but I hope that as I work on my own attitude, behavior, and commitments, that those around me will see more of Christ and less of me.
I made a decision several years ago to change churches – from one that I grew up in for over twenty years, to one where I was virtually unknown. I wanted a fresh start and a way to learn some new life lessons and earn some responsibility. Frankly, I wanted to become a man. Having moved out of my parent’s home only a few months before, I wanted to jump start adulthood with what, to me, was a really big decision.
Ministry has always been important to me. Finding a place to plug in, buckle in and serve others is a cornerstone of my higher calling. I love to say and do things that make other people smile. I love to see the joy flush across children’s faces when they finally “get it” and learn something new or figure out who God is. I love the action and excitement of game time, running around acting like a fool just to make a child feel important and to have a friend. Sometimes they don’t have many other friends to go home to – and their brief time with me is the most time they’ve spent with a caring adult all week.
I was involved in anything I could get my hands into related to technology, music, and security, too.
There comes a time, however, when you find yourself doing too much. Missing too many services, too many sermons, too many lessons and being pulled in so many directions that you begin to wonder what will soon break under all of the tension. In this story, you is me. I stopped counting the number of times each year, each month, and each week that I spent somewhere else doing something else that kept me distracted from my relationship with Christ.
My family is my first love – Sometimes I wonder how we keep it all together, then I realize it really doesn’t have much to do with us; the family is God’s work. Lord knows I made my share of stupid decisions and done things to hurt the ones I love the most, but with God’s grace He has forgiven and healed the wounds, and we’ve all grown closer. I just love those guys. Having moved out of the house, there opened up an immediate hole in my daily routine. It’s now my job to do the chores, buy the groceries, cook, eat, and pay the bills. Without family to go home to and talk to each night, the communication got quiet, too.
With the full responsibility of adulthood beginning to bear down on me I decided I needed to spend some time in a new place to do some more growing up, and I wanted to spend a little more time near my family, too. So I switched churches. I went across town and started fresh; and it was amazing. It wasn’t amazing in the ways you might expect, though – there’s nothing instantly gratifying about leaving behind everything familiar and venturing out – but it sure brought some new challenges and opportunities to make better decisions.
Friendships were forged, things seemed to be going really well, and for awhile I started to think things were really coming together. That’s when I lost my focus. I stopped focusing on the important things and started getting selfish. Psssh – dumb millennial. As things started to fall apart in my little world, and a tight-knot group of friends started to make their own choices, try their own hand at ‘adulting,’ and went separate ways, I started to think about what my next steps would be. This is my time to stand still and plant myself, I thought.
Music is my second love – with it I can communicate with anyone. It is a universal language which speaks what cannot be said, screams what cannot be whispered, cries when there’s no more tears, hugs when no one is around, and listens to the simple steady rhythm of my heart. Music can prepare a heart for God, or it can turn one away form Him. Sometimes people joke about what songs titled, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Highway to Hell” might communicate about expected traffic volumes. The wonderful thing about music is it can be just as meaningful and engaging alone as it is with a group.
As my circle of friends shrunk smaller and smaller, I learned better how to stand on my own. I learned better how to defend my position, and hold down the fort while waiting for reinforcements. Those reinforcements didn’t come to the places I expected them to, though.
This past month, I’ve evaluated my life once again and found that my needs have changed and my circumstances have shifted. I stopped feeling comfortable in the place I was at. It took a lot of prayer, consideration and a few sleepless nights to get to a point where I could find peace in my heart with changing things up again. I love the people, the ministries, and the music where I was at, but it just didn’t seem to fit my future anymore.
I’ve decided to go back to the church I grew up in. It was not a decision I took lightly, and after a couple of weeks visiting, I believe that this is exactly where I need to be at this stage of my life. I used to feel tortured by people who told me that I was somewhere “for such a time as this.” It always seemed like a calculated attack on my ability to make decisions for myself. Today, I have complete peace with the fact that my life is a chapter book – and this decision is right for me “for such a time as this.” No one else is here to life my life for me, it’s all mine – each day is a gift; each day is one that the Lord has made.
I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned and what I can do for Him during this chapter. There are a lot of moving pieces in life, and many ways to get hurt in it’s big machine. However, if I remain teachable and stay alert, I can use the machine to make something amazing.
Here’s to serving God, serving others, and the pursuit of happiness;