On Growth

I don’t know if you read my last blog post, but if you did, you may have been able to tell that it was a hard one for me to write. It was even harder to post, because it was ugly and raw a part of my story that would have been a lot more comfortable to keep to myself. But I did so because I felt like I had to, and I am so glad that I was obedient to that feeling, because your feedback so far has meant the world to me. I’ve been reminded that we are not at all alone in our struggles as people who follow Jesus, and I hope you know that He is so much better, more loving, and more understanding than we can even begin to fathom.

The day after hitting publish on that post, I found myself driving to Dallas to spend a few days with friends and reflecting both on that last year of my Nashville season and the one I currently find myself in, which was followed quickly by the question I’ve gotten more times than I count over the last few weeks: why did you drive across the country to spend just a few weeks in Nashville?

I mean, that’s a great and very valid question: why did I decide to make the 2,500+ mile drive from California to Tennessee to stay for such a short amount of time? The truth is that I don’t really know. Apart from wanting to see some friends, I really don’t have a sensible reason to be here, other than that it always just felt like the natural course for this season. Is that crazy? Maybe, but what in my life isn’t right now. While on my final drive day from Dallas to Nashville, however, I realized that after writing that post, this time in Nashville is for closure: the one last step in my healing process from all of the disappointment and bitterness I left with back in 2017. And I sensed that it was also going to require acknowledging that — just as I’ve grown in leaps and bounds since living here — so has this city, and the people I love who live in it.

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Nashville

My Story of Spiritual Manipulation
and Frustrations with the Church


Well, here it is: a story — a small but significant part of my journey — that I never really thought I would share so publicly, only because I didn’t think it was that significant. As it turns out, I was very wrong to think that, because what happened in ended up propelling me into the hardest season yet of my spiritual life. I have alluded to the fact that my last year in Nashville was challenging, but until the beginning of this year, I didn’t realize just how dark it really was Yes, you read that correctly: this year, or just a few weeks ago. I’ve danced around the truth in the past, mentioning here and there that it was a tough season that left me frustrated and disappointed, and that I couldn’t really let go of those feelings until I was in Ireland, all of which is true. But if I were to get a bit more granular with the details, something ugly happened in my last year of living in Nashville that ended up catapulting me into a place of questioning my faith and the Church.

Let’s rewind to the end of 2016: I was nearing the end of my debt payoff journey, which was very exciting but also meant a lot of things. It meant that I was steadily working 70+ hours a week — with one full-time job and multiple side gigs — and getting maybe 5 hours of sleep per night. I was putting more than 30% of my monthly income toward rent for a space I pretty much only ever saw when I was going to sleep. I was working at a great company with solid people but in a job that did not tap into my gifts nor satisfy my passions — meaning I was underutilized and felt purposeless — and I was losing steam quickly. I was struggling to find a church where I felt like I actually belonged (ironic, for a few reasons), and was slowly dreading the idea of attending a service solo as each Sunday rolled around. I was also finding it more and more challenging to stand by while conservative southern culture bled so deeply into Christian culture, adulterating it to the point that one could hardly tell one from another. Oh, and I was being given attention from a dude for the first time in a very long time and ended up making a poor choice or two before realizing I was wasting my time with him. Reading this list, I think we can all agree on one thing: at the end of 2016, ya girl was a mess.

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2018: A Review

I’m sure this will come as a surprise to no one, but I have to officially say that this last year has been the wildest, weirdest, and most life-changing one of my life thus far. There were so many things that happened, so many new places that were visited, and so many ways in which I grew, and in that I declare that 2018 was a game changer. I solo-traveled for the first time in March, followed closely by my big solo-trip around Europe; I learned more about who I am and the way I’ve been made (thanks for the assist, enneagram — a 4w3 right here); I learned how to identify my feelings and work through them in a healthy way; my confidence and belief in myself skyrocketed; I embraced my single status and am (finally) thriving in it; and — most importantly — I stepped into more freedom and abundance as I’ve continued to follow Jesus. It hasn’t been an easy year — not in the slightest. But it has undoubtedly been the best one yet.

So here it is: a quick recap of this last year . . .

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Wild Hearts with Gennean

I've called myself a wild heart for a few years now, which all began when I realized there was something in me that longed for more: more than living for the weekend, more than 50-60 hr work weeks, more than storing up physical treasures, and more than settling for the mundane. My heart was unsettled, and it became a real place of tension as my desires just didn’t quite line line up with what I felt like society and culture were telling me I needed to be getting after, especially as a young adult.

The thing is, though, that I've always believed that God didn't create us to just get by, live in mediocrity, or play it safe. He's never been mediocre or boring or safe (if we're honest) — so why do we subscribe to the thought that our lives should be? He's wild and free and full of adventure, and I've chosen to live wrapped up in that. All of my big decisions — and many of my small ones — have been made in faith, and they've led me to some of the coolest and craziest places that often didn't make sense on paper. Yet in seeking wisdom with each risk that I've taken so far, things have always fallen into place in the best of ways.

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