Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stepping Out of My Box (Part I)


I have been thinking about blogging about this topic for quite some time ---but only decided to do it after reading my blogger friend JAYNE'S post yesterday (Journey through Grace)--which inspired me to tell one of the many stories that have helped mold my life.

The date was 2000 and I was at a crossroad in my life (one of many). This time, by choice, I was leaving the wonderful job that I had had for 12 years at Clear Lake United Methodist Church near Houston, TX. It was time for a change, and I had just taken the 'ultimate' job at a HUGE (6400 members) church in downtown Houston---and that job came with a huge salary and benefit increase. One would think I would have been the happiest person in the world. AND--at first, I thought I was.

I started this new job in June of 2000. People at this new church were very nice and I liked the staff there. Things seemed to be perfect. But--something inside of me started digging at me making me think I had made a terrible mistake. I kept putting this 'gut' feeling out of my mind --but it kept coming back. I would go home at night and just cry and cry. I knew that something was terribly wrong. BUT--I had started this job and I could never leave a NEW job so soon. I was stuck--or felt like I was.

I remember sitting at my computer at home on Labor Day weekend---and something made me start looking for job possibilities out there. My gut kept telling me that I needed to go back to the mountains --which I loved so much. (I never did like Texas--and even though I was there for a long time, the mountains kept calling my name.)


SO---I checked out jobs in the United Methodist Church that day---and one or two of them caught my attention. One of them (and the one that I eventually took) was as an Associate Minister in charge of Adult Christian Education at a large United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, TN. The ad for this job seemed to JUMP out in BOLD print on my computer screen. I read it several times ---and then kept telling myself that I could never leave a job that I had just begun. BUT---that ad kept getting larger and larger on that computer screen. It was as if the computer was screaming at me! I kept walking away--but something kept pulling me back.

I finally picked up the phone and called the minister in Hendersonville (shaking all over as I called). I felt as if I had to tell him my crazy story of just starting the new job---thinking that he would tell me to keep working at the new church and that he wasn't interested in me. But---he did listen to me and was interested... But then I ran into a BIG problem!!!! You can only imagine my dismay when I found out that this minister in Hendersonville not only knew my new minister in Houston ---but they were GREAT FRIENDS.... Yipes!!!! Had I stepped into something larger than I am?????? Woooooooo!!!! Now--what do I do?????

We talked for a long time, and the minister in Hendersonville told me that he was indeed interested in having me come and work for his church. BUT---I needed to go to the Houston minister and tell him what was going on. In the meantime, I talked to my family and friends in Texas ----all of whom thought I had lost my mind. NOBODY understood why I would ever want to leave the cinchy job in Houston and move back to Tennessee---where I knew nobody. BUT---that 'gut feeling' kept pushing me in that direction, regardless of what people were advising me.

I did make an appointment and talk to the Houston minister ---who was very gracious although terribly disappointed to lose me. He and his friend (minister in TN) talked, and the Houston minister told me to do what God wanted me to do. I told him that I felt as if God was leading me to Tennessee---although I really didn't know why at the time.

I went to Tennessee that October and interviewed officially---and as I said, got the job. I continued to work in Houston until December ----but made the move the middle of the month and was introduced to the congregation right before Christmas. I knew from the minute I was there that Hendersonville was exactly where God wanted me.

Out of that experience, I learned NEVER to dismiss your 'gut feelings' ---no matter how crazy they might be. I'm not sure why I made that little 'detour' (to that huge church in Houston) ---but I did, and I learned alot about myself during that hard time. My 'gut feeling' was God leading me to Tennessee. You can call it anything you want to ---and if you are not a spiritual or religious person, you may be happy just calling it a 'gut feeling'.... BUT----I really stepped out of my comfort zone BIGTIME by following my heart. I know now why all of this happened. TO BE CONTINUED!

Hugs,

56 comments:

Jayne said...

Like I said in my post yesterday Betsy, there are no accidents. I do believe we are presented with paths to take and it is so wonderful to hear about how you were led to TN. So often, we don't listen to our guts or see opportunities presented to us which eventually lead us to exactly where we were meant to be. Hugs to you my friend!

Nina P. said...

What a wonderful story. I await the next edition. God gave you choices and guided you where you needed to be. If only we all could listen to that "inner" voice of Spirit. I am so thankful you followed His voice. You are on a path of Love, Hope, Joy and many blessings. You must have had lessons to learn in Texas that helped create the wonderful person you are today. Love and Light, Nina P. (I can't wait for part 2)

Rita said...

If we follow that "gut feeling" we usually don't find out till much later where it was really leading us. When I look back , I can see many times when I was guided in a direction that brought me the things I needed in my life. As they say "God moves in mysterious ways"

Beth said...

What a great story, Betsy! I do think that the most wonderful things can happen when we open our hearts to God and follow His leading, even when it seems to defy logic. I'm really looking forward to Part 2.

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so proud of you for listening to that inner voice and not being afraid to take a leap of faith. That move was ordained.
When things fall so smoothly into place, you know they are right. Don't know what you looked like in Texas but every picture you post now, the happiness shows through.
Looking forward to more of the story.

Darla said...

Oh girl!! You never go AGAINST your 'gut' feeling. See, I know it's like this...The Lord speaks through your navel, Satan through your head!!!! I have had a gut feeling that I need to go see my Aunt that I haven't seen in about 6 years........guess where I'm going today? Yesmam to see my Aunt!! To be continued...I bet this is where George comes into the picture!!!!!

Tina said...

In hind sight your gut feeling to move looks like it was the right path for your to follow! I agree it is hard to alter a gut feeling...maybe it is part of that fight or flight brain we all still have...

Rose said...

I love reading this...can't wait to see if that where you met George! BTW, I just saw your birthday present on his blog--ENJOY!

amelia said...

Looking forward to the next 'epistle' and betting it has something to do with George!!

Susie said...

Betsy I loved reading this post and can't wait to read the next. I'd say God was hollaring at you big time girl. Glad you listened.

T said...

Ahhhh......isn't our intuition a wonderful (albeit scary) gift!

BTW - I haven't been ignoring your request for the locations of the falls! For some weird reason I can't send email OUT (can read them, but not send em!). I will get those to you after I get home.

diane said...

I can't wait for the next installment. Sure is something about following a gut feeling.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great story. My "gut feeling" failed me only once, but I learned so much about that bad experience that perhaps it was a good thing after all.

Robin's New Song said...

How wonderful that you listened to that still small voice! I'm writing a study on learning to hear Gods whispers right now, what a timely post! Your whole life became what God intended for you because you acted on what you heard! I can't wait to hear part 2! Thanks for sharing your story with us Betsy,

Hugs :)
Robin

Snap said...

Yes, sir... the gut knows best!

Elenka said...

wow, great story! A gutsy move. I'm not so gutsy...been in the same job, in the same place for 38 years. The thing is, I still love it, so no need for guts.
Looking toward retirement.....someday!!

Tricia said...

Oh Oh Oh I know - It led you to George, didn't it? Am I right? That was a great story - can't wait to read the rest!

Great big tear-filled hugs to you Betsy!

Bird Girl said...

That was such a neat story and similar to a few that have happened to me several times in life. I enjoyed reading it and I am BETTING that you met GEORGE in TN!!!! Can't wait to read more!
P.S. Maybe you should have been a Romance writer??

mountain.mama said...

That was a brave thing to do and is probably one of the reasons that you are so happy today. I imagine somewhere in this story a man named George comes along too!

The Incredible Woody said...

That just gives me goosebumps!! I can't wait to hear the rest!!

Cheryl /Ashton said...

What a wonderful, amazing, joyful story! I believe God does lead us to our path, however we need to make the final choice ourselves. God works in mysterious ways certainly comes to mind with your story. And how wonderful that you listened to yourself! Cannot wait for Part 2 now!

Diane said...

Good story, Betsy, As Jayne said "there are no consequences."

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thanks for sharing this first part of your story, Betsy. It's not hard to figure out where it's leading, but I look forward to reading the details. God knows what He's doing; all we have to do is listen... and then ACT! You did, and look at the blessings you received. :)

Joy said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I love to hear how God works in people's lives and how He leads them to where they are today.

God had a wonderful plan and I know you give Him all the the glory for working all things together for your good.


Joy

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I am waiting for the next installment of your story.We can never go wrong when God leads in a certain direction.I too am working on telling my story,hopefully soon.
Blessings,Ruth

Queen of Dreamsz said...

Betsy,
Your story rings familiar....God always has a better plan for us even when we are facing what seems to be *great*...

And we both know the ULTIMATE reason why you were led to Tennessee..hehehehe He had BIG LOVE plans for you!

God is good all the time,
Stephanie

Elaine said...

I love to hear how God works in the lives of his children. I think there is so much He wants to tell us, so much He wants to do for us, if we will only listen! Can't wait to hear more of the story.... :)

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Betsy: What a neat start to a story that is really going to get great really soon.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

God works in mysterious ways his wonders to preform! He sometimes has to lead us to "his" choices!! :)
HUGS....

Tammie Lee said...

It is wonderful that you did this and could feel that it was the right choice for you! Following our 'gut' 'heart' or 'strong instinctual feelings' is how I like to live my life as well.

Dorothy said...

It's wonderful that you were in tune to listening to that small, still voice!

Mildred said...

It's so important to "listen" to God and trust in the paths He leads us on.

Shelley said...

I'm a big believer in gut feelings and following your heart! It was very brave of you to do so Betsy! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!!
(I can relate a little bit - all my friends and family thought I was crazy to leave my cushy fortune 500 company job last year. It was the best decision I ever made!!)
Love ya,
Shelley

Sunny said...

I believe that things happen for a reason and many times I have prayed to God and followed my heart. I look forward to your next chapter.
Sunny :)

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

Hi Betsy,
your story reminds me of something that I have told repeatedly to my 23-yr-old son. He has his own business and is probably in way over his head businesswise. I keep telling him to trust his feelings...those gut feelings that we all get...and follow them. He comes to me quite often and tells me about how he follows those feelings and things turn out well...and I thank God everyday that he is learning to "listen".

Busy Bee Suz said...

When the call comes, you MUST answer it. I think I know how this story gets EVEN better. :)
Thanks for sharing Betsy...can't wait til part 2.
Hugs, SUZ

JKoenig said...

I think I have an idea what comes next because a while ago I read your wedding and honeymoon blogs.

I believe God really does speak to our hearts and trys to guide us....sometimes we just need to be hit over the head to listen or to "step out of the box" and set off on a new adventure with Him.

His love is Amazing!

GeneaDiva said...

Betsy,

Thanks for posting this. I needed to read this today. I read Jayne's post too and both screamed at me.

God blesses me by allowing me to read wonderful blogs like yours.

Thanks again for your great posts.

Margaretann

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm impressed Betsy, that was a bold move. Also too, to see how you balanced going with your gut, but also seeing through the responsibilities of the place you left behind, making it a smooth transition for everyone (other than possibly yourself, which was a leap of faith.)

Pam said...

That's a great story Betsy.
I'm sure George is very glad you moved outside your comfort zone and into his :D

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Excited to hear the next chapter.
Itruly believe God has a plan for each and every one of his children, and if it includes a GUT feeling, then that's part of his plan ...
I'm glad you chose to come home to the mountains, I think your heart and soul belongs there.
Lovely story Betsy, thanks for allowing us to share it.

Cicero Sings said...

Looking forward to the continuation of the story! ... but I have some GOOD guesses. Oh to obey those urgings be they in the little things or the big things!!!

Kelly said...

Betsy...I had goosebumps while reading this. What a beautiful and wonderful story. I'm so glad you listened to your heart and God, which lead you to where you were supposed to be! You were very brave!! I'm eager to hear what came next! :-)

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

It was a GOD thing. Great story my friend. Thank you for sharing..m..

SmilingSally said...

I would guess that God had you detour to TX to meet the TN pastor's good friend. The important thing is that you followed the will of God and found happiness. sigh ... nice

♥ Kathy♥ said...

Betsy what a wonderful inspiring story. You have a great way with telling a story. =)

Leedra said...

God doesn't always reveal where/why He is leading us when we want Him too, but at some point we know why.

Leedra’s Photos For Fun


Leedra’s Greeting Cards


Photography By Leedra

Gena said...

Betsy,
Isn't it funny how God talks to us. I have had those "feelings" before, too. Of course, HE hasn't moved me far off yet but He may tomorrow. I rely on my feelings and ask for guidance a lot. HE knows I can't do it on my own.
I'm glad you made the journey. You see so happy where you are and, most definitely, with George.

I love the new look. When that header popped up it really touched me. ~HUGS~

Janie said...

I love hearing your journey, although I must admit I've guessed the ending.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Very sorry for late in coming Betsy ... glad you found the Minister on the other end encouraging and the former relented without prejudiced. God has always His own ways to work things out for the better, doesn't He? I better the trail you left behind. Did you drop some morsel incase I get lost? :)

SquirrelQueen said...

Following hunches, or gut feelings, have led me down some very interesting roads. I'm wondering if your road might have led to a chance meeting? I skipped down without reading the second part to get the full story.

PS, sorry to be so late coming into the story. My nineteen year old step daughter just flew in from Anchorage.

Tootie said...

I loved part 1 Betsy. I think I already know why you had such a strong feeling to make the move. I'm ready to read Part 2, to see if I'm right. :-)

Daisy said...

It is important to follow your gut feeling and to once in a while step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new. I agree--things happen for a reason. :)

Marge said...

Oh Betsy - just think of all the wonderful things that opened up in your life when you took this path. We never know if its the right thing to do when we take that leap of faith, but the important thing is to leap!

Chatty Crone said...

What if you had your heart closed to God's word? Whew!

So how long have you been blogging?

So you still work?

Dee said...

Dear Betsy, thank you so very much for suggesting that I might enjoy reading this posting. You see I moved here to Missouri 3 1/2 years ago to be closer to family. (I"d been away for 55 years.) Ever since I came here and settled in this lovely home that I've so enjoyed, I've wanted to return to Minnesota where I lived for 38 years.

The feeling just won't go away despite the fact that I'm aging and moving is going to be harder this time. (I'll be 77 in April.)

Also, friends are worried that I'll move again and not find what I'm looking for because all of them have aged too and life never stays static.

And finally, financially this may not happen because the housing market is so bad here in Missouri.

And yet, I keep feeling--that "gut feeling" you spoke of--that belief also that the Universe is sending me a message--I keep feeling that moving back to Minnesota is essential for my growth into all the possibilities of being human.

So reading this posting has helped me realize that I must truly be open to listening to what the Universe is telling me. Thank you. Peace.