No Salt, No Sharks | A Summer in Pure Michigan
There's been a few "interesting" rumors floating around about me moving to MI, turning over a new leaf, etc.
Most times it's helpful just to hear from the source, so here are a couple of useful facts for anyone who is wondering.
- I am going to Michigan, leaving July 1, returning early September.
- I am not moving. I am taking clothes, cookie butter, my passport for an international trip tucked into August, a few books (because who can live without those) and a few things to make those two months homey. Furniture, books, kitchen appliances, everything is staying in my North Carolina home, where I plan to return.
By any western standards making the decision to take two months off work, running the risk of losing a stable job, checking out of ministry responsibilities, and letting home life go on without one for awhile looks a bit loony.
- I have a great boss and coworkers. To take this hiatus I have a boss that blessed it and coworkers picking up extra work, which I am fully aware and grateful for; I should probably send an installment of weekly doughnuts to try and make up for it.
- I am forfeiting two months of steady income.
- I am taking leave of responsibility in two different ministries currently on the weekly or monthly roster.
- These things are heavy on me when I take the time to consider them, but I'm still ok with the decision for other reasons.
- This was not a decision based on finances, advancement at work, or consideration for my love of home routines. Sacrifices are inevitable with any decision. I made it knowing that my nieces and nephews barely know me (or me them), I haven't spent any quality time with my family in years, and there are friends like family that I miss a lot.
- I wanted to take a break to consider where my life is going.
- I couldn't know... when I made this decision that mom would have health scares this spring. She's not physically fit just now to keep up with two gardens, a huge yard, and multiple flower beds and she was stressing about how to keep up with everything. I love the outdoors and gardening. Bam. This in itself is enough to make me know that God is at work in this decision.
Enough about me. What about you?
We all have to make decisions that have hidden ends. We might make the decision to stay at a steady job, or to risk losing it. Perhaps your path is taking you to education, new relationships, a move, a year on the road, a work hiatus for a year, adoption, church switch, or new responsibilities. The safe ones have minimal risk which means they probably won't take us far. The risky ones will potentially take you higher but drop you much further if they don't work out.
They look different for everyone. Sometimes stay. Sometimes go. Yes, no. It could be the wrong decision but we must make it. Life is full of crossroads whether we recognize them or not and I've been discovering something that is making this process a bit easier.
Run the decision through a values filter. One of the best things I have done this year is taken a look at my core values. What means most to me? For me it's nearly always relationships or helping people figure out how to live a wise and beautiful life. When I travel I want to share the experience with someone. When I show up for Tuesday church every week (even when it's hard) it is for the kids and the hope that we can open doors for a better future for them. Going to Michigan is about relationships.
When a decision fits in with the values of relationships or helping people it's likely to be a sweet spot for me. Note: sweet spot does not automatically mean easy.
Value --> People
Natural sweet spot --> Friendships and Hospitality
Communication --> Writing & Conversation
What refreshes and allows me to give back --> Beauty & Exploration
FOLLOW THE VALUES
The point is values won't tell you what to do, but they can be natural guides to seeing if something "fits." If your value system prioritizes exploration, that year on the road may be just the ticket. If you want to physically help people become better and impact their spirits and souls through that way, the medical field may be your option. If you are making a church switch it's not a bad idea to find out what the new church values. If they're into inner city ministry and you thrive teaching college students it might not fit you.
If something fits your values it will be much easier to persevere against the hard times that inevitably come, because you know why you are doing it.