Well, y'all it's been a while. I thought I'd be updating you on the dummies' guide to assembling a Thule car rack for a naked roof. (Yes, that's the technical term.) Or maybe telling you about sleeping under the stars (and my bug net) in my ENO Double Nest. I thought for sure my next blog would be about some kind of fun adventure. In a way it is, but it's not the adventure I was expecting. I'm sure it's not the adventure you were expecting me to write about either.
Instead, it's a major life-shift adventure.
It'll be more than a week-long trip this time. I'll be living just outside of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and working for a company called Under Canvas. They offer luxury camping. In other words, "glamping." Yes, you read that right. G-L-A-M-P-I-N-G. As one of my co-workers clarified, it is in fact "glamorous camping."
In early September, I will move to East Tennessee and begin work as the Guest Experiences Coordinator. From what I understand, I am only the third person (within our seven locations) to hold this title. It's a new role, and I have some freedom to build it out as I see fit. While I've learned that I love freedom and don't really love structure, this is still a little scary. Doesn't everything new feel that way at some point? Anyway, my job basically consists of serving people and making sure their stay with us is wonderful. There's a lot more to it than that, but this is the basic idea.
I get to work with people. I get to work outside. I'll be living halfway between my parents in Tennessee and the rest of my family in North Carolina. And I'll get four months off every year. Yep. I'm pumped!
But with this change comes some sadness. I'm leaving a job I thought would be a lifelong career. I'm moving away from some of the best friends I've ever had. I just settled into a church that feels like home and now I'll be searching for a new one to attend 8 months of the year.
I'm not leaving a bad situation, I'm just grabbing hold of something new. Something I know God is calling me toward for this time in my life. I could keep rambling, but I want to leave you with a note from my prayer journal that sums up the struggle I've felt over these last few months.
For days, weeks, even months, I have tried to figure out how to make my heart spell out these words. Even as I type this, I don't know what this page will contain when I'm finished with it. All I know is this: I have questions. Mostly, where and what and how and when, with a few whys flung in between. The path You lead me down probably looks the same to You day in and day out, but to me, surprise lurks around every corner. I say that like the surprises are all bad—they're not—just unexpected, as surprises are by nature.
I mean, a month ago, I fully expected my future to include seminary and maybe a few more years at LifeWay, if not several. But something in me snapped or called me out of a trance or maybe both. It's not that vocational ministry is bad; it's just that I've realized it's not the right place for me now. Maybe I stayed because people told me I should be in ministry (appropriate for a pastor's daughter, You know). Or maybe I stayed because I thought it was the path I had to take, the most righteous path, the only way I could truly make a difference, the only way I could have security or feel good about myself or write. But I believe I overstayed my welcome and am now operating in a role I no longer feel called to fill. A role I felt called to fill a little over a month ago. I was so sure of it, so secure in it.
And I think I left You out of it all until now. My soul has long pled with me for healing. I believe there is a unique and sensitive trauma that comes from wounds within the faith community. It comes for the heart. It comes for the soul. It devours with an insatiable hunger because it is spiritual, from the depths, and seeks to remove our joy. This trauma takes a long time to heal, regardless of how quickly I encourage it to move.
I didn't know it a month ago, but heading was coming for me swift and cunning and unexpected. But it is a delight, like waves fizzling out over my feet on a hot summer day. I feel freedom in the healing that has come for me, to release me from this prison of my own making.
Now, I'm not really one for dramatics, but these words have been trapped inside of me for so long, beating against my chest. Like the well-worn skin of an old bass drum, my chest gave way to all that was trapped inside, namely, my heart. It has come to rest on a place it used to know well. Once again it will have more say in what I do. Once again, it has learned that the call of my Father's voice is not often loud, but clear as it gives me a strong sense of letting go and moving on, despite what my pride or other people tell me.
I don't really need to explain myself; I just need to trust You. I need to let go and move toward Your voice. It is time.
Disclaimer: Don't worry. Nothing bad happened. I love LifeWay and what it stands for. I'm even planning to do contract work for them during my downtime in my new job. The trauma I'm referring to here has nothing to do with LifeWay and everything to do with the church in general. My manager is wonderful. I love my team. I have loved being a part of various resources and events. I will always be grateful for the time I've had here, the people I've met, the training I've received, and all that I've learned. I'm only moving on because I knew God was calling me somewhere else. It was not an easy decision.
So, there you have it. I've accepted a new job in East Tennessee. I'm leaving LifeWay because I feel God calling me somewhere else. I'm moving away from a good life here in Nashville to a place where I don't know anyone. I'm both nervous and excited. I know this surprises some of you. That's okay. And believe it or not, this is the short of it.