"I took a deep breath and made changes. Those changes consisting of one GIANT leap of faith. Like, I am telling y'all it was a jump and not just some skip of faith. But that jump was me pulling back the covers, putting two feet on the floor, putting my business owner hat back on and saying, "I'm done."⠀
That is me now. That "me" is the set an alarm at 7:00 am on your day off, pour myself a cup of coffee, and put mellow tunes on Spotify. I don't think anyone will ever understand the major progress that is me typing these words. Y'all, I got up at 7 am on my DAY OFF to write this blog post the day it's supposed to go live. "Well, why didn't you write it last night?" you ask. Because Geoff and I spent hours upon hours watching Scandal, cooking dinner together, and sharing an abundance of laughs. That Sunday night I will never get back. That moment in time has come and gone. That's why I didn't write this last night. The "me" now craves time well spent with people that I love so dearly. So, here I am! 7 am with a cup of coffee in hand ready to pour onto this page my "come-to-Jesus" moment. My wake-up call.
"You don't have to do this. You can just stay off social media, finish those few weddings you have left and then shut down your business." This. This statement had been circulating in my head for the past few weeks. It's what the enemy winning over my heart looked like every time when I had listened to him whispering that to me. He had just about convinced me that I wasn't cut out for this. That I was/am a fraud."
That was me then. Someone who was running around in circles, letting days crash into each other like a bunch of hurricane waves. But you know what? I was feeding into that. I had begun to believe that waking up at 4:50 am and going back to sleep at 11:00 pm was normal for a busy person. Did you catch that? I said normal. YOU GUYS! I thought only having 5 hours of sleep, eating fast food when I could, and filling my gas tank twice a week was NORMAL! I would wake up for my 9-5 at 4:50 am to arrive promptly at 6:45 am in another county. That typical 40-minute drive took me an hour and 15 minutes every day. When 3:00 pm would hit I would literally run from that place to my car, order my Chick-fil-a on my phone, and head towards another county another 40 minutes away. Along the way, I would call Geoff and vent about how horrible my day had been. How I had been called into the office...again... for something else. I'd let him know what kids came in and out of the shelter that day, what incidents had occurred, and what co-workers were slacking on their responsibilities. With every conversation, I was pouring out the toxicity into the thin air as to convince myself that this was helpful for me. I thought, "If I just let it all out over a phone call, this would count as "therapy." I would begin to feel fine after a while and that somehow and someway things would slow down on their own because I would get used to this lifestyle.
I'd pick up my Chick-fil-a and start to munch down what I could. I'd have worship music playing on Spotify in order for me to have those one-on-one times with God because I wasn't getting it from anywhere else. I even bought Spotify Premium so that I didn't have to listen to ads anymore. I'd figure if I spend this much time in the car then shoot, what's a couple extra bucks spent. I'd get to my second job. The job that our Creator originally called my life into the purpose for. I'd have 40 minutes in that car to let go of whatever negativity I'd dealt with for the past 8 hours. I needed to rid of it because my youthmin kids deserved a Katie that was full of life and Jesus. Instead, I was putting on a facade that I was preaching to them NOT to have. What an example, right? Over time I had stopped giving myself grace and let the enemy creep into my heart. He would softly whisper that I was losing it. That I was becoming a disgruntled mess. That I was beginning to fail. Yet, I couldn't stop the cycle I was in. It seemed there was not an opportunity to stop it. I had convinced myself to keep going without thinking about it anymore.
By this point, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. By the end of youth group, it was 10 pm, I had to travel 40 minutes back home in order for me to make into bed by 11 pm and then wake up to do it all over again. This was where I was. Running in circles. Crashing into metaphorical walls. Having blackened conversations with the enemy as he tormented me over and over again. Little cracks in my heart were starting to appear and some people started to take notice.
Over time, things began to get progressively worse. I started showing up late to my 9-5, I would forget to fulfill some administrative task for my youthmin job, and Tilly + Teal started to look like a Christmas decoration in the middle of July: dark, dusty, and forgotten. But, it was still there in the peripheral of my mind. I still had clients. I still do now. When I was able to muster the motivation and feel that little jolt of confidence, I would quickly grab my computer, check emails, and feel somewhat accomplished that I did something for Tilly + Teal. However, I should tell you that this rarely happened. Now, you're probably wondering where the breaking point is in all of this. I mean, I had lived this lifestyle for a total of 4 months. All summer long. Well, that breaking point... it came. It came in pink with a side of conversation.
Geoff has held me numerous amount of times while I just cried out to God as to why I couldn't get my crap together. He finally told me, "Katie, you cannot do it all and do it well. You're overworked."
I had been looking forward to the Creative at Heart Conference for over a year now. I spent money on the dang thing that didn't even exist but I didn't care when I bought my ticket. What's funny is that when I had first bought it, I had bought them for a completely different reason than when I had attended. Isn't it funny how God works that way? I went to Raleigh. I went with an overworked head and heart. I looked at it as a mini vaca even though I knew it was going to be exhausting. Conferences are meant to be that way. My few short days there I was being poured into and hugged so many times. Strangers became friends and then those friends started to voice concern on how I was living. Let me repeat, strangers turned friends started to voice concern over my well-being. There was footstep one.
I had received so much confidence and push to place me first that I decided to have a conversation with my boss at my church as to what it would look like for me to go full time as the youth worker. My heart was not prepared for what he was going to tell me but my rational and realistic thinking mind wasn't quite shocked by it. I told him how I had been living, feeling, and the conversations the enemy and I had been having. He would nod in agreement and pray over me right in the middle of me telling him I was so desperate for change; that I needed a way out. He started to reassure me of who I was in Him, reminded me of the gifts I had been given by Him, and promised that he would always be there to support me in any way. But then, he dropped the bomb on me. "How are we suppose to grant you full time when some things have gone missing, misplaced, and forgotten in your part time?" Wow. There it was.
I had just been told that I was not going to receive the promise given to me by God because of the rat race I was running. That was heartbreaking. The calling on my life that I heard my junior year of high school, some 9 years ago, was out of reach until I made a change. It was devastating. So, the next day I went into the shelter, my 9-5, knocked on my director's door and said...
I immediately started giving her my explanation as to what brought me to this decision. "My ministry comes first," I said. She nodded in agreement and understanding. I don't know where she is with God, but it felt that she knew what it meant to have something you truly are called to be, you are made for, you yearn for, you love. She then told me the options that I could have. In the end, we came to an understanding that I would go down to part time hours. We took the schedule and mapped it out. She, then, reminded me that benefits and PTO would cease to exist for me and all I could say to her was, "My God will take care of me." Remember when I told y'all that I was taking a GIANT step in faith, this is what I was talking about. I walked out of the shelter that day having given my two weeks as a full-timer, put my foot down, put my calling first, and decided that day to take my life back.
So here I am, y'all. I am scared standing firm in believing that I can do it, but I'm gonna do it anyway. I am going to keep my head held high. I am going to pour into myself with the Word everyday to remind myself of who I was created by. I am going to be my own inspiration. I am #Goals.
I wonder now how long it was going to take me to get here. In all honesty, I am glad it came when it did. It came at a time where a new season (literally!) was starting to peek through. I see this time as the leaves begin to lose their green, healthy color and start to fall to the ground to create a mask of dark waves of browns, reds, and oranges that sometimes things have to die, be laid down. From that comes rest and refocus. Then spring comes with new buds of hope, dreams, goals, ambitions. This is going to be a season of life lessons, new territory being tracked, and new life to be lived. I receive it all in the name of Jesus. I am ready to take it on. To begin again.
For those of you who are at that time right now of where I once was; you're running a rat race, you're juggling two, three, or multiple jobs to stay afloat, you have cried out to someone or something for help with no answer, hear me out. I am going to encourage the hell out of you to take that stance. To pull back the covers, stand with your two feet on the floor, put your business owner back on, and say "I'm done." You're done letting everyone else live a full life while you're stuck trying to win a rat race that the enemy has set up for you to fail at. You're done trying to figure out how to make it work when you know, deep down, that it won't. Listen, I have the answer.
I want us to start to encourage each other. Whether you are a Christian or not, we are still family. I want you to know that you have THIS cheerleader in your corner when you are in your darkest days. But, I will tell you this. You HAVE to tell someone. You have to seek out that community. I found mine at Creative at Heart. Now, let me help you find yours. Let us get you plugged into life that will continually lift you, seek you out, and not forget that you are struggling. Because I have been there. Whether you are a bride, a creative entrepreneur, or a friend reading this, come tell me what is going on. Come let me know what the enemy is whispering to you. I'll nod my head in understanding; Because I was once there.