What kind of idiot chooses to leave the absolute best job they've ever had?
Apparently this idiot. [points to self]
Ten years ago I did something that eighteen year old me would have never envisioned for my life: I walked away from a job in corporate America to take on a new job in ministry at North Point Community Church (aka a "mega" church) in Atlanta.
Eighteen year old me would have told me I was crazy. Twenty-six year old me thought that I just might be.
While I've followed Jesus since I was a little girl and I love being involved in my church, working in ministry was never something I sought out or even aspired to do. But when the opportunity presented itself in front of me, I felt a gentle nudge from God that I might want to listen. And after a lot of prayer (and a few sleepless nights) I decided to lean into this nudging and say yes to the unknown adventure.
Boy, am I glad that I did.
I had no idea, at the time, that saying yes to God in this one area would result in the answering of so many of my other deeply rooted prayers. Over the past ten years not only have I found a deeper sense of purpose, abundant community and a more authentic faith, but saying yes to this job allowed me to really dig deeper into my abilities and gifting in new ways and BONUS...it ultimately even resulted in meeting my husband (we met when he got hired on staff).
These past ten years have also been spent working for one of the absolute best organizations in the world. Not only do we get to love on and point people to Jesus for a living, but we are cared for and led by some of the most talented and amazing leaders on the planet. I work in a place where friends have become tight knit family, nerf gun wars are completely acceptable and it's not uncommon to have prayer and worship in staff meeting. My husband works just down the hall and four days a week my son is downstairs in our Weekday program learning about Jesus' love and being cared for by the most incredible women. Basically as far as ministry goes, I work at Disney World.
So why would I ever want to leave?!
Great question. I've asked myself that a lot this past year. About eight months ago I found myself feeling another "nudge" from the holy spirit, only this time it wasn't in the form of someone knocking on my door with a job offer. And because of the last two paragraphs above, for a while I chose to simply ignore it. Over time that nudge turned into a stirring in my spirit that maybe, just maybe, it was time for change. In my times alone with God I felt him making it very clear to me that I was comfortable. A little too comfortable. But the thought of stepping outside my happy little bubble, terrified me. If I'm being completely honest with myself, in some ways I think I had let my job become a little too wrapped up in my identity. Let's be real, it's hard not to in America where the first two questions we ask a stranger are usually "who are you" and "what do you do."
Let me be clear (and save you some time): those two questions are NOT the same thing.
Earlier this fall I listened to a fantastic podcast by Annie Downs & Brad Lomenick about our identity vs. our calling vs. our assignment that pretty much validated all the feels I had been feeling. (PS you should TOTALLY listen to it HERE it's completely worth the one hour investment) And while at that point I felt like I had a firm grasp on identity and calling, the concept that I had been missing was assignment. Hearing the way Brad described our assignments in life helped me put words around that stirring I've felt in my heart for some time now.
So while I feel like my personal calling to creatively inspire and encourage others remains the same, I know that it’s time for my assignment to change.
And now, just like ten years ago, I find myself on the verge of another unknown yes. Only this time I have a better grasp of what could be at stake. So after a ton of prayer and a lot of blind obedience, that means that I will be rolling off staff at the end of the year and will step full time into the role of small business owner at Sweetwood Creative Co., where I will lean into my heart for hospitality and my passion for designing, planning and producing incredible events and environments for both those inside and outside of ministry.
Is it terrifying? Yes. (I'll miss you, steady paycheck...fist bump)
Is it sad? Yes. (I've cried a lot these past few months both out of gratitude for TEN years of amazing memories and also to grieve the loss of my daily community with the best co-workers ever)
Is it exciting? Yes! Because these past ten years have been a prime example of the stretching, the pruning and the flourishing that can come from a simple, obedient yes.
That's a whole lot of yes's for one blog post. (and if you're still reading, bless you...you really are a good friend)
Here's to the best 'yes' yet!