Time for some Real Talk.

Hey there.  Amelia here.

At the camp I used to work at, Real Talk is what we call deep, heart-to-heart conversations about things that matter.  This post has been churning around in my head for a long time.  The words have finally formed into coherent sentences.  So let’s just dive on in.

I seem to be in a bit of a slump.  The dog days of summer render me lazy, unproductive, and a bit disheartened.  I’ve lost touch with so many things–my faith, my goals, and even my blog.  I find myself going for days without opening my computer to avoid facing the inevitability of adulthood.

These days, I spend a great deal of time in my head.  My job entails endless hours of field labor, so when I’m not marathoning the Harry Potter series via audiobook (for the tenth time), I find myself asking questions.  Mainly…

What next?

Where?

When?

You see, during the past year, I finally figured out what I want to do with my life.  I feel called to pursue a life of Christian ministry in Europe.  Although I didn’t attend a Christian school, I’ve got plenty of experience under my belt due to three summers working at a Bible camp and heavy involvement with campus ministry.  I spent a semester abroad in Europe a few years back and, ever since, feel a tugging in my heart to go back to serve.  My English degree has made me a good writer and grammarian, has given me a sharp analytical eye, and has shown me that most of the world’s problems can be solved through learning to see things through the eyes of others.  (Or, as Atticus Finch says, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.)

But I’m still left with questions.

What next?

Where?

When?

Doing ministry in Europe can mean a LOT of things.  Really, it could mean anything.  Teaching.  Translating.  Secretary work.  Counseling.  I’d add more to the list, but the possibilities are so endless that I don’t even know what to write.  Poking around the internet for potential jobs only makes me more frustrated.

I don’t know where to look, but I feel it.  I feel the call to go.  And it’s maddening not knowing where I’ll be going.

What irks me most about the whole situation is that I’m afraid of looking like a failure.  I’m afraid people will look at me and see the stereotypical college grad who lives at home and isn’t going anywhere.  When people ask me what I plan on doing with my life now that school is over, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can be honest with them.  I say, “I want to do ministry in Europe.  What that means and where that will be, I don’t yet know.”  But the responses… I hate the responses.  Most people are polite.  They smile, nod, and wish me the best.  But behind their smiles, I can see the doubt.  “Good luck with that,” their eyes seem to say condescendingly.  “That’s the type of thing people dream about, but never actually do.  You’re not going anywhere.”  It’s downright disheartening.

I’m definitely in a slump… But I’m trying.

I have a job.  Yes, it’s working for my parents.  Yes, it’s below my education level.  But work is work and every bit counts in the face of student loans.

I read.  In addition to marathoning Harry Potter on audiobook, pounding through a 700 page long fantasy novel on my Kindle, and slowly creeping through the copy of The Silmarilion I received for Christmas, I’m currently reading the book Get Wise by Bobb Merrit, pastor of the church I attend with my family.  Based on the book of Proverbs in the Bible, Merrit discusses how to make wise choices.  When I finish, I plan on picking up The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay.  My older brother read it when he graduated college and gifted me a copy for Christmas.  Talk about relevant books for a season of transition!

I blog.  In fact, to get me out of the WordPress aspect of my current slump, I signed up for Blogging 201 to help give me tasks to work on.  At this point, any kind of goal feels like a valuable one.

I do other things–I pray a lot.  I spend time with family and friends.  I recently saw one of my favorite bands (Rend Collective) live and have tickets to another concert (Brandi Carlile and Iron & Wine) in a few weeks.  I saw an outdoor, in-the-park production of Hamlet the other day.  I go to movies.  I make art.  I try to get enough sleep each night.

My biggest step in the Europe plan has been registering for Urbana, one of the largest Christian student missions conferences in the world.  Taking place every three years in St. Louis, Missouri, it’s a gathering of over 16,000 young people who are interested in missions.  It’s a five-day event spanning from Christmas to New Years, filled with speakers, seminars, worship, and fellowship.  Hundreds of missions organizations come and set up tables.  For a girl interested in dedicating her life to missions in Europe, it’s the perfect place to go.

The problem is… Urbana is in December.  It is currently July.  Which means… I’m stuck where I’m at for five months.  I don’t want to get a full-time real-adult job if I’m going to be gone for such a big period of time.  Plus, I don’t want to lay down too deep of roots.  This means getting my own place, buying a car, etc. are out of the question.  You see, when the opportunity comes to go, I want to be as free as possible.

So I’m living at home.  I’m guaranteed a job through November.  I read, I blog, I pray, I do things.  I wait.  I wonder.  I spend time in my head.

Despite everything, I know that I’ll get there.  If missions in Europe is something I’m called to do and I’m willing to go, there is no way God won’t provide the chance.  But being in the slump, the in-between, the transition is absolutely maddening.

So there you go.  That’s what’s going on in my life at the moment.  Thanks for listening.

Next stop, Blogging 201.

5 thoughts on “Time for some Real Talk.

  1. brittabottle July 20, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    I’ve kind of discovered that the best things happen when you aren’t looking. I don’t know if that helps, but I find it’s useful for me when I’m feeling down and out about the future.

    I, too, am living at my parents. I, too, have a job below my education level and am making far less than I could in an office setting, etc. But in my month and a half as an espresso bar barista, I’ve already learned a lot about people and myself and the world around me–life lessons a University degree couldn’t afford me.

    You’re gonna be fine, Amelia, abd I can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you. Anyone who says you have to have your life figured out by 22 is full of shit (pardon my French, but I find expletives can be quite appropriate in certain situations). Enjoy your time at home while you have it, too. Wherever you end up, I’m sure you’ll end up missing it when you’re gone. That’s what I’m trying to do…I know that once I’m in Thailand, as excited as I am for it, I’ll miss my family and the comforts of home a lot more than I realize now.

    • brittabottle July 20, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      Gosh, this comment kept deleting because my phone is stupid so I lost some of it. I also wanted to say that yeah, I’m going to Thailand in September, but that’s only temporary. I have no idea where I’ll be I’m a year. I have some ideas and I have a general idea of my career goals, but I don’t know how I’m going to get there stherat this point. Yeah,that’s kind of scary…but it’s also part of the adventure. That’s what I try to remember, at least. Okay, now I’m done with my soap box of trying to be inspiring and encouraging. 🙂

      • Amelia July 23, 2015 / 4:53 pm

        Hey Britta!! Both your comments came through and I really appreciate them!! It’s super encouraging to keep in mind that everyone is just as uncertain as I am. 🙂

  2. Holly Gruntner July 20, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    I appreciate this Real Talk! I think being a recent post-grad is the hardest stage in your life that nobody talks about! Graduation advice is all about what you’ll do next, where you’ll go, all the possibilities, but no one really tells you that job hunting is hard and has a steep learning curve, and what if you don’t know what you’re looking for or where to look? Hang in there! Apply for everything that’s in your area of interest even if the work isn’t exactly what you envisioned-sometimes to get your foot in the door you have to settle a little bit. It took me 8 months out of college to find my current job, and it’s definitely not what I expected, but I’ve learned a lot and now think that I wouldn’t have been happy at one of those editing jobs I WAS looking for. In the meantime, keep enjoying being home and work on your death stare for when people question your ambitions 🙂

    • Amelia July 23, 2015 / 4:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Holly! You’ve always been such a great example for me–same high school, same college, same degree, etc. I really appreciate the advice and encouragement!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s