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. Read more
“Calling” can be such a daunting, pressurizing word nowadays, and it can feel like the questions that we’re constantly being asked, or asking of ourselves, sound a lot like: what is your life’s calling; what do you feel called to do; and to what, whom, and where are you being called? We spend so much time trying to figure out just what in the world our calling might be, asking God to reveal the things He wants us to do, searching our hearts to recognize our gifts and passions, and then attempting to piece it all together into something that maybe — just maybe — reflects what we should be doing with our lives. But what if the idea of “calling” is much more simple than we think? What if it has less to do with what we do and more to do with who we are in Jesus and where He has placed us? I am not an expert by any means, but if there is anything that I’ve learned in my almost thirty years of life, it is that we are really good at complicating the things of God. I have come to believe that the whole idea of calling is really quite simple, because if we look into Scripture, there are really only a few things that we are all called to do: to love God, to seek Him with all of our hearts, to love our neighbors, and to make disciples. I believe that this is our general call as believers, and regardless of what we do with our lives vocationally, these are first and arguably most important things that we are called to do. Read more
It has been just over six weeks since returning from my Europe trip, six months since I left the states to start that adventure, and about one year since sharing the news that I was leaving Nashville to move back to California to prepare for the trip. It’s an understatement to be sure, but the last year has been a complete whirlwind of emotions and growth that included countless bouts of loneliness, excitement, frustration, and everything in between. After living in that beautiful city for four years, leaving who and what I knew and loved in Nashville proved to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve made thus far, only being slightly surpassed by choosing to solo-travel around Europe for almost five months. Both were difficult choices to make, and yet both were worth it in almost every way.
Speaking of, I realize that I haven’t properly shared an update on how the second half of the trip went (first half is recapped here), and the easiest way to do so is to say that it was even more eye-opening and life-changing than the first. Read more
If there's been one constant or consistent theme in my little life so far, it is change, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. From jobs to friends to passions to cities, it seems that the things in our lives are always moving and changing, and in the midst of the endless transitions, it feels like we are all just doing our best to keep up. I've been on this earth for almost thirty years, and do you want to know what I've learned about change? It never ends. Life is full of change, and there's a very good chance that things will continue to shift as we keep on living; our jobs, our circumstances, the people in our lives, where we live, and everything in between will inevitably continue to grow, morph, and change. Does this thought freak you out? If so, you are not alone. Change is a hard concept for a lot of people because risk and fear are closely associated with it, and that is hard for many to grapple with. It can mean a disruption in what is familiar and comfortable, or it could potentially be a life-flipped-upside-down kind of thing, and while these are sometimes the results of choice, they can also come at you out of nowhere. So yes, it makes sense that a lot of people aren't huge fans of change. Read more