moving in a new direction.

I’m a bundle of emotions right now.

 

To start, I’m a little disappointed – I’m going to write another self-focused blog entry; which I didn’t necessarily want to do.

 

But I’m excited. I’m really, really excited, and I want to tell you why, my friends.

 

Almost every day on the bus in Honduras, I had these thoughts breaking through in the back of my head. Thoughts I tried to suppress, block out, and mute; thoughts I figured would go away upon returning home; thoughts that seeped slowly into my focus and made me think.

 

I was thinking about work. I was thinking about how I introduced myself to people and how I felt when I told them what I do: “I’m a barista and a buyer at a coffee shop.” Something didn’t sit quite right, and I spent all week thinking about why. I love my job – it’s been good to me and hopefully I’ve been good to it; it pays me well; I know a lot of great people, and I’ve learned a lot from them…

 

…and yet it kept not sitting and not sitting.

 

A few times over the course of 2015, I’d considered quitting my job. I got stressed out by work, I was irritated when I had things that kept me working and not going home, I got frustrated with systems and events, I felt underpaid, overworked, etc – and each time I felt that irritation, it would always subside. Then, of course, I was trying to determine which cue I should respond to: the fact that these thoughts of quitting kept coming up, or the fact that they kept going away after a while.

 

It ended up being the case that I would live in response to the second cue: something always made me love the work again, something always kept me coming back, things simmered down, something would be really successful, etc.

 

That said, it was not that I hated being known as a barista and buyer at a coffee shop – I’ve taken plenty of pride in that – it’s that there were things I wanted to be that I wasn’t known as. I’m a late bloomer and a reactor in relation to dreams – I haven’t known what I’ve really wanted to do with my life until recently. I didn’t know how badly I wanted to write until I began to pay money to have my blog. I didn’t know how much I loved acting until I left it for about eight years and finally started going to plays again, all the while theater booming all around me in Lexington. I didn’t know how much I loved singing and playing music until I got rid of every possible avenue and couldn’t/didn’t play for about a year – outside of a quick few sessions in Honduras.

 

It’s what I wasn’t doing that gave me the most pause. It’s all of these things that have tugged at my heart for such a long time; all of these things I’ve tried to talk myself out of for years – the desire to entertain, to inform, to converse, to create – were dormant and altogether insatiable.

 

That said, here’s my “big announcement” – not exactly in line with the aim of the blog, but I’ll have something to commemorate this season (also, this probably isn’t a big deal to anyone else, just to me) – a little over a week ago, I got on the phone with my boss and asked about the possibility to resign the buyer portion of my job. It was a nervy decision, something I wasn’t even positive about, something I was half-remorseful about, but something I’d entertained for a while. It’s a move made for a future that isn’t even guaranteed, but a future I’ve decided I want to fight for.

 

There are two “sides” so to speak affected by this move – me, and my workplace. I want to make sure that there’s nothing weird or iffy about what’s being said (since, after all, some of the people I serve on a daily basis read this, and some of the people I work with read this [that’s weird].)

 

About work – I’m staying with my company, strictly as a barista. All of my administrative responsibilities are being divvied up, and I’m staying on to help the transition until the end of the year, if necessary. The reasons I feel okay about this decision are: it was always known that I love being a barista, and it was always an option to go back to that role; there is a big long window of time that is given to phase me out (it’s not a sudden, abrupt move;) and I’m not making the decision out of emotion (as previously mentioned – there were times I wanted to quit because I was frustrated, angry, moody, tired, etc) but out of ambition.

 

About me – well, let’s just say that I was an actor a long time ago, and I’ve been getting theater fever for a year or more now. I began to go to shows last june, and have been going to as many as I can find out about/afford/drive to/fit into my schedule. I’ve got the itch – bad. There’s something about entertaining I love so much, I think I find that I try to scratch that itch at work, because it can be a job where you just make people laugh or shake their head or impress them, and only recently have I realized that that comes from an acting background. I’d like to try doing that again.

I also love this blog and spend money to have it every year – so I want to pour more into it. As the last post (may have) alluded to; I like to discover truth, unpack it, and share it. I like to be a resource. I like for other people to love and learn the Bible – and I’m learning to love and learn it more myself.

Finally, I’ve got an itch to sing, a lot like I’ve got an itch to act. I’ve learned slowly but surely how to do it, and few things bring me the unique type of joy that making music does. So I’m hoping to make more music, maybe get in a choir, be in a musical, play music at church, etc. and we’ll see where it goes from there.

 

There’s no conclusion to this blog, just: I’m excited. Thanks for reading and sharing this joy with me.

now what?

I have a confession to make to all of you wonderful people who take the time to read this blog.

I’m afraid I’ve been incredibly selfish with this blog over the last year or two. Maybe I’ve been doing the best thing I know to do – trying to get to the bottom of what I’ve felt, done, and seen, doing so honestly, doing so with lots of questions, etc.

Almost every blog I’ve written since the winter of 2014 has been about me. About my pain, about my regrets, about my questions, my doubts, my discoveries, my realizations, etc.

And fair dues – I’m processing that, and that’s okay with me.

 

But today, God spoke just like the Father He really is – in thinking about this blog and what it’s all about, He posed a question:

 

You’re forgiven. Now what?

 

Back in the day, I was a preacher. One of the things I miss about being a preacher is exactly one of the things I needed to leave it for – when you’re a preacher, you ponder the truth for other people, not always for yourself. It’s a different perspective – an others-focused perspective, and something which is really uniquely rewarding. And the truth is always uniquely held by someone else for you than it is held by you for you.

 

you can know in your head that God loves you, but there’s no amount of Bible reading that can make up for someone giving you a hug in the wake of your biggest failure and them holding you saying, “God loves you. He’s proud of you.”

You can know in your head that you’re smart – but it’s something else when you use that intelligence to help someone and see the measurable effects of it.

And people have a way of being able to speak necessary truths when we need it the most – even if we don’t advertise that we need it. A compliment on how your hair looks when you had doubts walking out the door. A compliment on your work ethic when you worry you’ve been letting the team down. A compliment on your writing when you worried that your content had been lacking lately.

 

The truth is a powerful weapon – it’s even more powerful when someone else holds it for you. Solomon in the Proverbs says that death and life are in the power of the tongue – your words can make or break someone. Perhaps (hopefully) not ultimately – but your words have an effect.

 

The truth has an effect. Use it carefully.

 

All that is to say: when God asks, “you’re forgiven. Now what?” it’s a rhetorical question. It’s rhetorical, because He has an answer for you – He has an answer for me.

The answer is, quit making time for regrets. Quit lamenting your mistakes. It’s in the past – it’s over.

 

 

We do not exist for ourselves. Evolution says we do – in the sense that we self-preserve and self-promote – and physically, that’s true. But when we grasp the beauty of Jesus Christ, may our reality be in line with the reality that Paul lived – to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

And among the implications of that reality is this: we live to look after one another. We live to look not after our own interests, but also the interests of others. We live not to meet our own needs, but also to help meet the needs of others. We live not to just be encouraged, but to encourage. Not to just be preached to and edified, but to preach to others and to edify others. Not just to know the truth, but to make the truth known.

 

That’s the “now what.”