Last week, I started writing some really honest thoughts about my current state of mind. But as often happens when I do that sort of thing, I got too scared to hit publish. Sometimes I don’t know what people what to read from me. I like to inspire and I like to tell it how it is, but I’m always afraid to cross too far into the vulnerable side of my writing. I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and I know that’s sometimes the outcome of transparent blogging. But then one of my lovely readers requested that I talk about where I am right now emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
So this is where I am, straight up and unfiltered.
I am not content.
We’ve been in my parents’ basement for 8 months now and we’re all over it. I want a place of our own, but Zach’s job continues to be a big question mark and we’re not willing to sign a lease without the confidence that his job will continue to be able to pay most of the bills. We’re talking about me going full time with the blog/social media consulting thing, but with a new baby on the way, it’s probably not a wise idea to make that sort of commitment. I think I would regret it if I worked full time through this baby’s newborn stage, so I’m nervous to jump into that, even though Zach is incredible and rocks at the stay-at-home dad thing. And so then I question what my motivation really is for staying home. Does it matter who is at home? Do my kids need me specifically? If what I’m doing right now has the most income potential, shouldn’t we be diving into that completely? Could I handle the pressure of providing for my family through something as fickle as the internet? Will the people of the internet continue to love me and support me or is the thrill of Kristen fading? Should I jump into writing my book full time? Should I go to Nashville and convince Zondervan to give me a book deal?
And then in the midst of all of that, there’s this lingering feeling that we’re missing something. What is God’s plan for us? It's been almost two years since we moved to Knoxville and we're still struggling. We know that God called us to step down from our youth pastoring position, and we have never questioned that decision. Not once. But ever since leaving New York, nothing has made sense. Although God has been faithful and has taken care of us completely, we have struggled and strived and have seen very little fruit from our labor. I’m struggling to trust and follow this God who is silent and distant and a bit confusing right now. However. The Influence Conference was an incredible experience for me. I wasn’t expecting to have my spirituality challenged so deeply and refreshingly. It helped me get out of my situation, look at it with a different set of eyes, and evaluate my heart. In the moment and in the fog of our day to day lives, I’d convinced myself that I was completely surrendered to whatever God had for us. But now I realize that’s not exactly true.
When God is silent for a long time, people tend to take things into their own hands, and that’s what we’ve done. We lacked direction and guidance, so we just jumped into things, trusting that since God wasn’t saying “no”, he’d bless us whatever we chose. And he has, but we’re still struggling and that just doesn’t make sense to us. So now we’re in this weird place where we’re almost desperately seeking answers and direction. We feel kind of lost.
Stepping down from ministry was a bigger life change than we originally thought. After spending four years in bible college and over 10 years in ministry, we made a huge career change. It’s awkward to think of ministry as a career, but it’s what we went to school for, why we’re in so much debt, and what we had dedicated our lives to. And now? Now ministry looks a lot different and we no longer take a paycheck for what we’re “called” to do. I have so many thoughts on this ministry to layperson transition thatI’m having to pour them all into a Pages document that maybe eventually will be a book. But right now we’re still in the thick of it and it’s not easy and we're trying to figure it it out. It's messy, but it's good.
Even in all of the doubt and confusion and anxiety, we know that God is good. We know that one day, we’ll look back on this season with thankfulness and we’ll be able to see God’s hand working in the question marks. But right now, we’re frustrated and that’s ok. God never promised things would be easy, but he did promise that we wouldn’t have to do this whole thing alone.
So we're owning where we are right now. This is a season of life that definitely isn't pretty on the outside or the inside, but it is what it is and we're embracing it and doing our best to thrive right where we are. It doesn't do any good to eagerly anticipate when things will be different because who knows when that will happen? Embrace where you are. Bloom where you're planted. Those are the things I'm learning these days. So what about you? Where are you at these days?