The story of how I forgot how to go to church

20140727-232931-84571733.jpgAfter four years of working in a church, I forgot how to go to church. 

I’ve spent the past four years running services of some sort. There was the planning of worship sets, the scheduling of volunteers, and the mapping of service flows. Then there were the preservice run throughs, the last minute checks, and bathroom runs 30-seconds before service started. Once the service started I had to make sure the plan was executed. There were little decisions of when to blank a slide or how bright to run the house lights for that moment. By the time the worship set was over, I had to be able to read the room to make sure we weren’t distracting from where the worship leader was going. 

And that was only the first 30 minutes. 

As I drove into church yesterday, I realized I was about to experience something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I wasn’t driving in an hour before service started and cherry picking a parking spot in front of the tree I’d parked at for a year. I had to find a spot to park, then walk in, then find someone to sit with, and then find a seat. 

What most people do every single week felt like going back to high school: I knew where everything was but I was slightly uncomfortable navigating it.

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Now you’re standing on your soapbox yelling from the rooftops

imageI don’t want to be famous. I want to make an impact.

I first wrote that phrase earlier this year when I began to come out of my year long quarter life crisis. As I started to figure out what I was about, what my calling was, and where I was supposed to be, I began to compile a list of small phrases that I could cling to when the next storm rolled in. I knew myself well enough to know that it was a matter of when, not if, one would come and I wanted to be ready for it.

With my skillset, it’s easy to judge how I’m doing by the trackable numbers. How many people downloaded that graphic? What were the views on that video? Did anyone actually read what I wrote yesterday? In those moments, if the numbers don’t meet the expectations, the thoughts of inadequacy, lack of talent, and doubt start to creep in my mind.

Was the graphic not good enough?

Did people not like the video?

What’s the point in writing if no one reads?
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if there was a problem, yo, i’ll solve it

6206dca7f5b193b732a22a2fa794da63i’m a fixer. it’s what i do. in fact, it’s probably what gets me in the most trouble with nicole. i see a problem and i want to fix it. the quicker i can fix it, the better.

in some ways, being a fixer can be a great thing. fixers are problem solvers. fixers are able to cut through the layers to identify the root of an issue and then offer a solution. they’re perceptive and discerning. more often than not, fixers will go out of their way to, well, fix things.

and that’s where many of us get in trouble.

fixers have a hard time switching gears and turning things off. a few years ago nicole and i were invited over to one of my coworkers’ house for dinner. throughout the night i would bring up stuff about work without even thinking about it. that’s how the mind of a fixer works.

we think of something.

we talk about it.

it’s fixed.

after what was probably the sixth or seventh time i mentioned work issues, he looked at me and said, “dude, you’ve got to find an off switch.” we laughed it off and i made a conscious effort to keep my work thoughts inside my head for the rest of the night. if i didn’t have an off switch, i could at least give myself a mute button. Continue reading

i never said thank you for that. i thought i might get one more chance.

GoodBadUglythe subject of the e-mail said, “it’s time for yearly reviews.”

my immediate reaction said, “crap.”

immediately i started thinking about all of the places where i blew it over the past year. i remembered every mistake. i remembered every ball i dropped. i remembered every bad decision i made.

in an instance, a day that was going pretty well took a hard right turn to a place i hadn’t felt in a while. all of the feelings of not being good enough, of not knowing what to do with my life, and of being trapped in this unhealthy cycle of highs and lows came rushing back into my head. it was overwhelming to the point where i had to get up and walk around for a minute to clear my head.

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you shoot me down but i won’t fall

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this was my group of friends in high school. i’m pretty sure i haven’t talked to a single one of them in almost ten years. relationships are hard work.

i’ve noticed something lately that i’d like to point out. it’s something that we all know but i’ve just recently been realizing it more and more. so what is it, jonathan? i’m glad you asked.

relationships are hard.

really, they are.

i’m not just talking about dating here. i’m talking about friendships, work relationships, mentors, or any other type of relationship you can think of. they suck. they’re ugly at times, they’re mean at times, and no matter what, they’re always a lot of hard work.

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we just shake our heads and dance

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Photo: PGPhotos

My sophomore year I was cut from the baseball team at West Stokes High School. Truthfully, the only reason I even made the team as a freshman was because the coach knew I would be an encourager to the rest of the team and would do whatever it took to help make the team better. I had three at bats the entire year and played something like three innings in the field. I walked once, had a single, and got robbed of a double (I’m not bitter or anything). I also made at least two errors in those three innings.

I wasn’t the best baseball player.

I wasn’t even good.

My coach knew I had a desire to coach and help make people better. Instead of cutting me and throwing me to the wind, he told me he wanted me to stay on as a student assistant/manager type person. The next year, as a junior, he asked me to keep helping out and even told me he wanted me to be in uniform like a coach would be. So while I wasn’t playing, I was at practice most days and at games, in uniform.

He knew I wasn’t a good player but saw I could be a good coach.

And he invested in it. Continue reading

i love the light in your eyes, will you go out with me please?

Untitled-1you’re going to judge me for what i’m about to say. you think that you won’t but i know you. you’re going to do it. i don’t even blame you for it. i’d probably even judge me too. in today’s world, knowing what we know about what about i’m to tell you, it’s probably not a good thing that what i’m about to say is true. i’m not ashamed of it though. again, i probably should be, but i’m not.

you ready to hear it?

are you sure?

positive?

ok. i’ll spill the beans. Continue reading