In 1991 I packed everything I owned into the back of my black Chevy S-10 Blazer and drove away from one life and into another. I was part-way through an interesting and exciting degree in Architecture at the University of Cincinnati, finding my identity as a creative, someone who liked to make things and make things happen. There was nothing wrong with that life. But another voice called out to me…
It was deep and quiet and it asked me what I was made of and how I wanted to impact the world.
This voice invited me to set aside my carefully planned life and step out on an adventure. Drop architecture. Drop a developing identity. Drop plans and money invested and the expectations of friends, and family and my own heart. Drop all of that in exchange for something else.
Now adventures are fun. I’ve long been enamored by them. J.R.R. Tolkien and his many disciples shaped my literary world. I played fantasy adventure games – video, table-top, role-playing – with my friends in high school. My Side of the Mountain captured my imagination. The struggle of good against evil, discovering your powerful identity, righting wrongs, making a difference in the world – those were all themes that drew me. But this adventure was less fanciful.
Become a pastor.
So much in me resisted this invitation. My father was a pastor. As a pastor’s kid, I knew the difficult and often dark side of ministry. Long hours. Impossibly high expectations. I’d seen the wreckage left in families that I knew. I wasn’t interested in that. And so much of my experience of pastors I had known rubbed me the wrong way. There wasn’t much space in my view of my self for being like them. I’d already experienced the harsh and narrow attitudes of many Christians, and I was already questioning if that was a tribe I really wanted to be associated with. And yet, here was this invitation pressing on my heart, making everything else I was committed to seem pale and bland in comparison.
When I drove off in my Blazer, it was the result of months of thinking and wrestling and praying. But in the end I put my degree program on hold, packed my things, and headed off on an experiment to see if this adventure was really for me. There are a lot of stories between there and here.
But today, nearly twenty years later, my life is completely different than it was and how it might have been.
- I’m a part of an amazing family – Christina, Emerson, Lucas – who delight me, engage me, stretch me, and help me know God’s heart in ways I never would have expected.
- I live in an intentional community with some dear friends who are helping me experience a more gentle, engaged way of making an impact in the world.
- I have the most amazing privilege of serving an incredible community of people called Bridge City Community Church. There I have been stretched more than in any other context in my life, growing into who I believe God has always dreamed I could be. It’s been painful and exciting, and there’s no way I would be who I am without these patient, gracious friends who have put up with me for so long.
Now, I’m on the crest of another change. Circumstances and relationships have been the context for a lot of self-realization and hope for growth. More stories there, too.
For the first time in nearly three years I am starting to know myself again, and have thoughts and ideas that are bigger than just making it to the end of the day. I’ve aways enjoyed writing, but for the first time in my life I am starting to feel like I might just have something to say. And so, this blog is a space for me to begin engaging that.
I hope to gather community here that resonates with my journey and will hold me accountable to moving forward in my calling and gifts. That starts with writing, and my commitment to write. I hope that in the next year or two this energy in me will find itself manifested in an honest-to-goodness book that other people will read. But for now, it starts with the discipline to begin writing again for more than just making it to the end of the day.