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Leaving Church - Part I

Posted Jan 27 2009 6:23pm

It has been 2 weeks since I left my position at a mega church here in Houston. Hard to believe. Many people have sent me messages and emails asking me what was it that prompted me to leave there after 13+ years. I've been thinking alot about the questions people have asked me...and have decided that I would write a few posts and share my heart regarding the season God has had me in the past year. There were many reasons I left - personal, spiritual, emotional and physical. I hope that this makes some sort of sense...it's hard for me to corral my thoughts in a particular order....so, these posts will be done a little at a time!

Truth be told - I have wanted to leave for about 2 years. At the time, it seemed easier to stay. I did, after all, have flexible hours and the ability to work from home if I wanted, and for 8 years my son, Chase, had attended the Academy that was on campus.....and it was well, convenient and comfortable, I guess. But was it? I mean, what's so comfortable about stress that has caused your body to basically begin shutting down on you? To develop such chronic insomnia that even the maximum dosage of every prescrption sleep medication available still had you waking up every hour - every night! It was not comfortable, it was exhausting! Now, let me say that alot of the stress that had invaded my life at this time was partially my fault. I took on some responsibilities, both at work and home, that were clearly not mine....and for that, I accept full responsibility. Also, the drive in each morning was now taking me over an hour. I no longer had my son with me - so, I could not take the carpool lane on the freeway - and that combined with the traffic was just crazy!

Almost immediately after my last day, I began reading (AGAIN) one of my favorite books ("Leaving Church - A Memoir of Faith" by Barbara Brown Taylor). This book chronicles her journey from pastoring a church to finally having to leave the church in order to keep her faith. As I began to read, I came across a paragraph that made me stand up and cheer - for I could relate to these words on a level much deeper than I ever imagined.

"Above all, I saw that my desire to draw as near to God as I could had backfired on me somehow. Drawn to care for hurt things, I had ended up with compassion fatigue. Drawn to a life of servanthood, I had ended up a service provider. Drawn to marry the Divine Presence, I had ended up estranged. Like the bluebirds that sat on my windowsills at home, pecking at the reflections they saw in the glass, I could not reach the greeness for which my soul longed. For years I had believed that if I just kept at it, the glass would finally disappear. Now, for the first time, I wondered if I had devoted myself to an illusion."

I was miserable. I no longer enjoyed what I was doing every day - in this job, at home, with my friends. Every aspect of my life felt "busy and over-scheduled".....not "restful or joyful". The only "greeness" or life that I seemed to see - was a reflection from a glass window (both at work and home). It seemed completely and totally out of reach. I was no longer participating in life. Once I started cyring everyday - mostly out of total exhaustion and sheer frustration.....and the realization that, when really pressed for the truth, I did not want to be there anymore.....it became a little easier to accept the fact that my life was fixing to change! Drastically! I was trusting God to take it from here....and boy, did He!
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