I’ve been on a journey. Not one of actual miles in a car or on a plane. Not one to far away exotic places, or even to a warm tropical climate – even though I WISH I WAS SOMEWHERE WARM AND TROPICAL AT THE MOMENT! (Curse you, Michigan winter!!)
No, my journey these past 7 months has been one of soul searching and enlightenment.
You see, I’ve been LOST for a long time. At least it feels that way. Over the years, I have forgotten who I was, what I liked, what I disliked, what inspired me, what I was passionate about (if I ever truly knew), what I truly wanted in life.
To be honest, I’m what you would call a chronic people pleaser – with a healthy aversion to conflict thrown in. So I’ve spent the majority of my life doing what other people wanted or expected of me. That way I can’t disappoint them, hurt their feelings, or have to outright disagree and cause conflict. It’s taken me a long time to finally realize this. Maybe at some point, I just decided it was easier that way.
Last May, I resigned my position as Worship Leader at Davison Free Methodist Church.
From the outside, it seemed to be a great job and everything was going well. The church was alive and active. Great things were happening. But what no one saw was that on the inside, I was dying. I’ve become really good at putting on my game face over the years. Wearing the “happy mask” so that no one knows how I’m really doing. But I came to a point and knew I had to resign.
My wife and I had made some tentative plans to relocate, but the resignation came as a surprise to most everyone, and some people had a hard time accepting it. It was difficult and painful, and I left hurt by some people that didn’t understand. I had to move on, I had to keep searching because I knew there was MORE out there. I was dying a slow death (how ironic that it was happening while serving in ministry) and I knew God had a greater purpose for me. (Dying in ministry, definitely sounds like a future blog post!)
So what have I been doing these last several months?
I’ve been reading a lot of different authors on a variety of topics. I’m taking some online courses. I’ve spent time doing absolutely nothing. You could say I’ve been on sabbatical. A rest. A breather. A time to take a break from what’s expected and just RE-FOCUS. It’s been a time for me to remember. To figure out what drives me. Asking myself WHY I do what I do. And you see, that’s my problem. I don’t really know why.
What have I been doing for the past 20 years? In retrospect, mostly just bouncing around with no real purpose. Reacting rather than being proactive in my choices. So that’s been my current journey – to figure out my PURPOSE.
I recently read a quote that said, “Everyone ends up somewhere, but very few people end up somewhere on purpose.”
Have I solved the mystery? Cracked the code on the meaning of life?
Ha! Not even close! But I’m getting better at being me. Understanding myself. Giving myself grace. Letting go of the fear, shame, and guilt that has been a part of my life for a very, very long time. It’s been difficult for sure. Money has been tight, but God has provided. My family hasn’t always understood, but I’m thankful for their love and support. My wife has been amazing and so patient and understanding throughout this process. I’m not sure where I would be without her.
The good news is that I’m starting to feel HOPE. I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and I’m excited for the future.
My path is not going to look like anyone else’s. God is starting to reveal things to me and give me fresh ideas. Glimpses of how He wants to use me to impact this world and help others stuck in some of these same places in life.
If you’re frustrated with where you’re at in life or disappointed with how your life has turned out, hang in there. Don’t give up HOPE! There is still time to make changes. Even if you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s just realize that life is not over. It’s not too late. You can begin to make positive changes in your life. You can blow the dust off the dreams you’ve had sitting on your shelf all these years. Today is a new day. We were created to BE MORE and to DO MORE than just exist. It’s time to start truly living.