It was more than where we worshiped. It was about more than simple leaving the place we served and walked out our faith collectively with others. It was about leaving a community that we served faithfully nearly two decades.
We served in schools. We served in healthcare. We served in ministry. We served in the military. We served at the collegiate level. We served at the city, county, and state levels. We served in the private sector. We served in the public sector. We served…and served…and served.
On my way to one of many of my work sites I broke out in a flood of tears because I realized nothing we served and labored in and for labored half as hard for us as we did for it. We served out of love and a passionate spirit of wanting to help make things better and build something beautiful together with our fellow brothers and sisters of our community. We poured out but seldom felt like we were poured into.
We were not perfect. We made many great and lasting relationships. However, we never found that place where people wanted who we were and not simply what we could do for them. That is what we were to many, if not most. Bodies to fill seats and tools to use for personal gains.
Everything became work. What was once a service became a chore. What was once an act of kindness became an expected obligation. What was once joyous became sorrowful. What was once pleasure became pain.
I did not wallow in my frustration. I did not wallow in how I was mistreated. I did not wallow in who did or did not like me. I did not wallow in what did or did not accept me. These things hurt me but I refused to allow them to overcome me. Amidst my hurt, pain, and feelings of rejection I planned. I stopped chasing others imaginations of me. I returned to my focus for my family and my life. I became determined in my faith. I committed myself to my studies.
While I did not immediately leave the church that I served, I did adjust how and where I used my time and energy. I challenged myself academically. I expanded my opportunity and career search. I took limits off of myself. I engaged in focused prayers; and, I believed and trusted God.