Last fall a friend of mine decided to go back to work after staying home with her three kiddos for a few years. When we talked she was excited to go back to her field and busy lining up childcare and schedules and game plans. So I was shocked when she emailed a couple weeks later telling me that she’d chosen not to take the job after all.

The next time I saw her, I asked her how she was feeling about her decision. “Do you feel good about it?” I asked.

No, she said, but it was the right choice.

It didn’t feel good, but it was the right choice. Have you ever been there?

I have.

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Last spring my friend, who happens to be on staff at our church and married to our lead pastor, approached me about a job opening at our church. The conversation went like this:

Her: Mary, we’ve decided to hire someone to do these things, and I was wondering if you might be interested.
Me: *bursts into tears* *as in, sobbing-can’t-speak tears*
Her: Ummm, I mean, I didn’t know…I didn’t mean to offend you…ummm…
Me: Just…hold on…I’m…wait…YES!

It was really embarrassing, you guys. I literally burst into tears. I’m not talking about normal (for who?) tears pooling in my eyes or even rolling down my face. No, when I say I was crying so hard I couldn’t talk, I MEAN I WAS CRYING SO HARD I COULDN’T TALK.

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In the year prior to that conversation, Mark and I had made the difficult choice to leave our church home of eight years. We’d been hurt badly by a church plant and we’d been disappointed deeply by our church home when we returned. We landed at our new church skeptical and barely willing to hope.

Almost immediately, we realized that we had found our place. Restore Community Church is the kind of church we’d dreamed of and longed for, and we genuinely liked every new person we met there. Week after week of worship services and small group meetings led to messages and relationships that healed us in ways we hadn’t dared think possible.

And they asked me to consider joining its staff! In a position that lined up decently with my skills and experience and perfectly with my availability during the week! And at a time when it had become abundantly clear that staying at home was not working out for me or my family!

It seemed perfect.

AND IT WAS. It truly was the RIGHT fit for me and for my family, and in some ways, taking that job saved my marriage and my sanity. And I LOVED working for my church. I loved being “on the inside,” on the team, working side by side with the most amazing people I’ve met doing work that, at the end of the day, helped people find their way back to God.

I can’t say it enough: I LOVED WORKING FOR MY CHURCH.

But two weeks ago, I packed up my desk and left for the last time as an employee. I headed toward the door, trying to play it cool. I simply said, “Bye! See you on Sunday!” And my friend shouted from the supply closet, “Bye! Oh! WAIT! You’re LEAVING! I feel like there should be some fanfare! Well, how about a hug?”

And, no surprise to any of us, I promptly burst into tears again. Which, you know, seemed appropriate and full circle and all that.

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What happened? Another amazing opportunity. One I wasn’t looking for or expecting, one I couldn’t turn down.

Last fall during a workshop at Allume, I mentioned how I wish I could do more freelance editing. Afterwards, my friends Lisa-Jo and Saul came up to me and said, “Funny you mention that . . .” They needed someone to work a few hours a week for (in)courage, in an editorial capacity. And they’d thought of me.

You all know how much I love (in)courage. It’s not just a website I write for once a month. It’s a family, it’s a ministry. I didn’t have to think twice about this opportunity; I simply jumped in.

As it turns out, working two part-time jobs that don’t behave like part-time jobs should is REAL HARD. Neither working in ministry nor working in social media fits into a box or a schedule or a plan, and after just a few weeks, I realized I couldn’t keep doing both.

But I didn’t want to quit either one. I loved both organizations with all my heart, and I believed wholeheartedly (and still do) that God had brought both of the jobs to me for a purpose. But I’m only human, and I can only do what I can do. And the two jobs on top of a blog and book-dreams and caring for my family and my home – it was just too much.

So when (in)courage offered me a larger role this spring, I knew what I had to do. I knew what the right choice was. But even though I was (and am!) so excited to be on the (in)courage team, the leaving-my-other-job part of this choice didn’t feel good.

Honestly, it still doesn’t.

I am super excited to tell you that I am the Editorial Coordinator for (in)courage, and you guys, I love it so much. But leaving my job at the church was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

We aren’t leaving the church itself. You couldn’t make us leave! We truly love our church. But going to the church and even serving in the church is different than working for the church. It’s different, and it doesn’t feel good. But it’s right.

The last two Wednesday mornings – the time when our church has a weekly staff meeting – have been really hard for me. And sitting down on Sunday morning and realizing I need to read the program, because I wasn’t the one to help print them on Friday, is hard. I haven’t seen my friends Erica or Lucas for three weeks now. All of that? Doesn’t feel good.

But I know that I’ve made the right choice. Working from home gives me flexibility I need for my family and for my book-dreams and speaking-dreams. And working for (in)courage is an enormous blessing and really fun, too. The people on that team are incredible, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to work more closely with them, to do life and ministry with them.

[So, to be clear, working for (in)courage is awesome. Leaving my job at the church is not.]

Sometimes the right choice doesn’t feel good. Have you ever had that happen? Have you ever made the right choice even though it was hard or didn’t feel good?

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