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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,