Back Like 45...?
So let’s take a trip down memory lane really quick…a timeline if you would so indulge me.
About a year ago, I was working for Liberty University Online. I was an Academic Advisor in the School of Business, and I was just doing it. I was good at my job, and all was seemingly well. While working as an advisor, I was also the Spiritual Life Director for LUO advisors, leading devotions and leading a team of leaders for each respective team in our advising department. When I wasn’t on top on these responsibilities, I split my time working at the Hancock Welcome Center, having opportunity to work with students on a face to face level. Being able to see the students, and hear their stories was a wonderful time for me. I was able to come down to their level, and assist them as best as I know how. I met husbands, wives, kids, grandparents, even a dog one time. It was quite the adventure. While working in all these avenues, there was still a ceiling that I could not quite get over. I was never up for a promotion, when I inquired about a promotion, it was met with ignorance. That became very frustrating. I watched as those with lesser credentials as I have moved up without so much as a conversation, and I was told to wait until my time came. It never did. On a cold Tuesday night, I was met in the parking lot of LUO by a lady with an opportunity. She said that she worked for a place that would allow for me to flourish. She wanted to know me. She asked about my goals, both personal and spiritual, and said that she found a place that I could work in. I told her that in order for me to consider it, she would need to understand that I had quite a few music engagements that would require me to travel a little bit. She mentioned that this position would give me the opportunity to work remotely, and not be tied to an office. She also mentioned that the base for this company was close to where I had grown up, so being back home would be good. So I interviewed, and accepted a position. While leaving what I had know for the last 3 years would be hard, I was excited about the future.
Like any relationship, the honeymoon quickly faded. The lady who had hired me retired, and with a new leadership came differences. Some of these differences I was good with, others I did not understand, and so I inquired with my immediate supervisor for clarity. That never came. What did come however, was an opportunity to quit before I was fired. The remote teams were becoming to large, I was told, and there just wasn’t enough space for me. So I reluctantly agreed to move on. For the first time in my adult life, I was jobless. I hadn’t been looking for anything, so I had no prospects. I applied everywhere that I could think of, and even some that I hadn’t. I applied at over 100 places in a 2-week span. I would spend my days sitting in my house, reworking my resume, looking for leads, and trying to keep myself from going crazy. On the outside, I was my confident self, but on the inside, I was hurting. I was scared. I was unsure of myself for the first time in my life. The more the days passed, the lower I fell into depression. I thought about just leaving. I thought about doing some other illegal things (it would not have been the first time), I even thought about taking my own life. Now to those who are thinking “you lost a job, so WHAT?”, you must understand something about me. I am extremely self-sufficient, and I take pride in that. To find myself in a moment of extreme need was so tough.
Back in May, when I had lost my job, I had done a friend a favor, and lead worship at this youth weekend. We were in the middle of the woods, with barely any cell service, and it was such a good time. I was only supposed to be there to sing and play, but I ended up preaching twice. I hadn’t prepared anything to preach, but the words just flowed from my mouth. I literally was Gods mouthpiece. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I preached on both times, but both times I remember the altar being full. God was moving, and my heart was full. The next week, I received a call from the pastor of this church, asking if I had any interest in being the youth pastor at their church. They had been without a YP for quite a few months, and they really felt like I was the man for the job. The pastor said, that the day he got back from the weekend, he stopped looking for anyone else, and just wanted me. He felt God leading him to ask me about the vacancy. With this position, they wanted me to move, and live at the church. The church was about an hour from where I was currently living, and so they felt it would be easier for me to live there, as opposed to the commute. Initially, I agreed. Something inside of me told me not to. I believe God shut that part of the opportunity, for a reason (I will come back to that). So we agreed that I would take the position on a part time basis. While this was going well, I finally landed a job. Assistant manager at Rue 21. I hated retail. That’s why I left before, but I was in a new place, and I needed the check so I took it. I was making a lot less than I had previously, but I never went without. God is so faithful, and is a consistent provider. While working the retail thing, I was still serving as the youth pastor at this church. Life was good. Then Charlottesville. I wrote what I wrote (and its still on this site), and as I mentioned before, I was given an ultimatum to step down from this position. The interesting part about that whole thing was the peace I felt in taking the PT position. Had I been full time, I would have been homeless and jobless all at the same time. Instead, I still had a job, and somewhere to live.
Which brings us back to today. I called this post “Back Like 45” because I am, in fact, back. I have taken a position with Liberty University working with residential students. Being an advisor to resident students is something that I wanted to be a part, even back in undergrad. Now this has become a reality, and I could not be more excited about it. More than anything, I am so thankful to God for his faithfulness, and his grace during this tough season. I am excited about my future.
If I am honest, 2017 has been hard. Some of the things I have found myself in was my own fault, and some was circumstantial, but nevertheless, it was hard. Throughout all of it, God was so faithful to me. He showed me so much about who he is to me in this year, and I am so thankful for that. Sometimes we have to go through hard times to see his perfect strength. He is sovereign, and he is a provider, and he is a healer (do it Lord), and everything that you could ever need. That’s why I am back. To show someone else who God is. I prayed that God would settle me where I was, or open a door for me to move. Well he has provided a way for me to be settled, so that now I can find the contentment that I long for in all aspects of my life. So here’s to being the new guy, but not at the same time.
And here is the theme song for the next week of my life…thanks Pastor Mase. LOL.