So, I had decided to make a change, but I didn't know what. Linda and I had a long chat that fall, actually many chats. She played devil's advocate and was right about a lot of things. I had told her that when I went to church, I wanted to go to church and not work -- I worked at my office during the week. She understood the distinctions I was making, but said I just needed to play the game. I told her that I was done playing the game. And I was.
Yet the weird irony is that immediately I felt better about things. I was consciously trying to not do the ministerial-role-playing thingy but be more authentic and natural about my thoughts and emotions even while around church folk. Oddly, I began to immediately fall back in love with my work again. My therapist and I discussed this irony. The first Wednesday night after my avowal not to play the role, I found myself more casually and easily chatting with folk and doing so much that is normally the role playing.
And that's how the holidays and the winter proceeded. When I was home in OKC over the holidays, friends asked if I was really moving back and I said, "Yes, unless something changes." But even then I was feeling less interest in the idea (proof positive that Greg was right). As January proceeded I was deep in preparations for summer events and began to get really excited about camp, the mission trip, my summer intern, the hiking trip, graduating the seniors, the college group, the June Adult Summer Classes, etc.
Plus I found myself procrastinating on my "plans." I headed into February not having done anything to prepare for a possible move. I had no firm ideas of what job I might do. Various friends had discussed ideas with me, but nothing excited me. As I had prayed since summer, I was waiting for God to show me the path ahead and nothing seemed right.
No longer was I sure that I wanted to leave ministry. Maybe I had just been through another one of those seasonal bouts that we go through. In January a friend contacted me wanting to submit my name for a pastorate on the east coast. The idea was exciting to me, though I ended up not following it through. The episode caused me to think, "If I was really ready to leave ministry, I wouldn't be as excited about this possibility."
So though I was still far from certain about anything, I entered February with the assumption that I'd be in Dallas and at Royal Lane throughout the summer.