I know it’s only about 12 years ago, but I remember quite well what I wrote in my senior bio for our yearbook in high school. I had some witty things in there (if you know me you’d expect that), but for my ambitions, I was completely serious: “Graduate from Penn State, settle down with my wife and kids, and pursue a career in ministry.” I wrote this in 2006.
I graduated from Penn State in 2010.
I got married in 2011.
I started a job in full time ministry two months later.
I became a father in 2014.
It took me less than 10 years to do pretty much everything I wanted to do. To make things even more complicated, I realized that I didn’t really want to be in ministry anymore. There are parts of the job that I definitely struggle with, and the things I love about ministry I can do as a volunteer. I didn’t know what to do next, and I felt stuck.
“Stuck” is really putting it lightly. I felt lost, confused, angry, and even a little hopeless. Everything I did in school was to prepare me for a job in ministry. The jobs I had in college were to set me on a track to work for a church full time. Looking back, I definitely could have had bigger dreams and ambitions, but those were the things I wanted, and now I had to reinvent some goals, dreams and ambitions. With such a focused set of skills, what do I do next?
Meagan and I tried to answer that question over and over again through countless late night conversations. The one thing we kept coming back to was the potential in her young photography and photo editing business. I helped her shoot weddings when I had the time and I had some experience with Adobe’s programs. Not only that, but I could transfer a lot of what I loved about ministry into a position in her business – meeting new people, making meaningful relationships, and serving others. So when I was told that my ministry job was going to be decreased to part time due to financial reasons, it seemed like a good time for me to make a change. We sold our house (wow, that was hard!), moved, and I got a job as a painter while we started to grow our business. Oh, and we also had our second kid. We took on all of the stress and worry at the same time…I wouldn’t recommend it if you can help it!
Growing a business is a challenge for me, and it’s not something I did in my previous work experience. But in some ways, we are a year ahead of schedule. It was our goal for me to be full time by April 2018, but it was actually April 2017 (on my birthday, no less!) when I joined full time! I feel really blessed to have this job – I love building relationships with our clients, I enjoy being around more for Meagan and our kids, and I’m really thankful that I have more free weekends to do things with friends and family!