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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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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Real Talk: Being Single

As I’ve been hanging out in New York City for the last few weeks, I recently decided to make a reservation for one at a popular and busy dessert restaurant. After spending countless hours holed up in my friends’ apartment clocking my work hours and hustling over a new project (that I can’t wait to share with y’all soon!), I decided it was high time to take myself out for a sweet treat. So I made the 1.5 mile walk across Central Park toward the restaurant, ready to devour all things chocolate, only to end up slightly salty about a comment that was made to me by a waiter. As I was sitting down, he motioned to the empty seat and asked, “Where is your second person?” to which I kindly replied, “oh nope, it’s just me!” He half-smiled and said, “Oh, okay . . . well, enjoy.” That was one thing in itself, but then as I was leaving, he made sure to say to me over his shoulder, “hopefully next time there will be someone with you!”

While I don’t think there was any ill-intent in that this particular situation, I know that his comment could have been taken one of two ways: maybe it was said in kindness because it seemed like there should have been someone with me (like I’m cute and should have had a guy with me, or at least a friend), or that he was annoyed that — at the peak of their busy time of the day — they would only be serving one person/one meal instead of a “full party.” Sine I truly believe it was the former, you should know that I wasn’t personally offended. I have done so many things on my own at this point that a meal is pretty basic, and the truth is that I am totally comfortable taking myself out as I have learned over the last few years to truly enjoy my own company. What did take offense, however, was my not-so-slight justice complex, because all I could think was, “man, if I wasn’t as okay with being by myself, that could have really stung.” Which got me thinking even more that there are too many misconceptions around singleness, and — having been single for quite some time myself — there are a few things that I think need to be said about it from a single person’s perspective. And while I’ve confessed some things about singleness in the past, I’ve been searching for more: more truth, more guidance, and more encouragement for all of us as we, together, navigate the rapidly growing population of singles. But unfortunately, apart from this spot on message* (which I will reference many times in this post and encourage all of you to listen to ASAP), I haven’t come across much that suffices, thus I find myself here once again, sharing my heart on something that can be uncomfortable to talk about bluntly: singleness.

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Real Talk: Confidence

I know that I've said it before, but this solo trip through Europe has already proven to be pretty stinking life-changing.  Not only have I been able to take in countless beautiful places, interact with so many new cultures, and meet some of the most amazing people, but I have also been challenged in numerous ways.  I've had to navigate all of these new cities, typically alone (shoutout to Google Maps for being the real MVP), I've been forced to find the balance between exploring and making time to rest and recharge, and I've endured some some truly awful travel days.  I have also come face-to-face with some hard stuff, such as melancholy, feelings of loneliness, being single in some of the most romantic cities in Europe, and most recently, a desire for normalcy and routine.  The coolest and hardest part of all of this is that I've been edged out of my comfort zone to the point that I'm not even sure where it begins and ends anymore, which is amazing and — trust me — a huge deal for your girl.

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