Scared. Part 1.

on October 14, 2008 in Nash-livin' with 12 comments by

I told myself, and anyone who would listen, that I was NOT doing student ministry (youth group) in Nashville.

Nope.  No way.  And I’ll go ahead and answer your questions-

No, I’m not burnt out.  No, I’m not too old. No, I’m not over it.

I’m scared.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve been doing student ministry for 9 1/2 years.  It started at East Cobb UMC.  Summers 1999 and 2000.  Then St. James UMC in Athens.  Fall 2000-Spring 2005.  Then RiverStone Church.  Summer 2005-Summer 2008.

I love it.  I always have.  I love the messy games, the retreats, the late night conversations, the crushes, the tears, all of it.  Middle school.  High school.  College.  Any of them.  I wrote a few years ago in my journal that I felt the most alive when I was in ministry to students.  And its true.  The best parts of my heart beat stronger when I’m hanging out with a bunch of high school girls, sharing about Jesus and recipes and earrings.

But not here.  Not in Nashville.  Because students are smart and they don’t want you spending time with them for a few months and then bailing.  They can smell a short-termer one hundred miles away.  Part of loving high school and middle school students is investing in them.  Committing to them through a time in their lives that is difficult and challenging…on a good day.

And strewn throughout the state of Georgia are teens that I have loved deeply.  Students that I have invested in for years…. and then left.  Not with the goal to hurt them, but just because I moved.  But students were hurt in the process.  I know.  They’ve told me.

Sometimes I feel like my exit is far more memorable than my investment.  Sometimes I feel like by leaving, I’ve hurt the students more than if I had never come along at all.

And the idea of doing it again scares me to death.  The guilt I feel for leaving the East Cobb kids and the St. James kids and the RiverStone kids plagues me.  Seriously.  Because the last, THE LAST, thing I EVER wanted to do was to hurt any of these students.  I adore them.  Then I hurt them when God asks me to move.  And I wonder, “Do they remember that I was there?  Or do they remember that I’m gone?”  I’m not afraid of being forgotten.  I’m afraid of being remembered for leaving.

I just don’t want to do it again.  ESPECIALLY in a place where I feel that I am a temporary resident.  I’m the LAST type of person that needs to hang out with the students here.  The type of person that isn’t committed to staying.

Ugh.  It’s making my throat tighten just writing this.

So……. why is my email address in the Midtown youth director’s iPhone?

To be continued tomorrow…..

12 comments

  1. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:28 AM  |  reply

    ..because you are awesome and the kids of Midtown need you?

  2. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:39 AM  |  reply

    I think the time shared with those kids is better for the Kingdom, for them, and for you, than any temporary ill-will they might feel for you if you leave the area. Plus, there are lessons to be learned in being left. Like the fact that they don’t need you to have a relationship with the Lord. Some of them could benefit from hearing your story about getting to Nashville. (My 2 cents.)

  3. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:46 AM  |  reply

    i think someone named Molly could have emailed him your email address. just a thought.

  4. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:50 AM  |  reply

    Haven’t you learned yet that when you go around telling people what you are NOT going to do God sees it as an opportunity to remind you Who is *really* in control of your life? =)

  5. Southern Gal
    posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 10:53 AM  |  reply

    All that you describe, the hurt on the kids’ part, your hurt for hurting them, is all a part of LIFE! And what would they have MISSED if you hadn’t been there for them?

    I’m hoping part two tells us YOU gave your email address to the youth director???? If not, then it was God.
    Renee

  6. Jennifer
    posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 11:27 AM  |  reply

    From a mama of one of those kids who thinks that God gave you to her alone…your work is never in vain. Yes, she misses you…although I see she is calling you (I hope not too much!). Know that you are part of eternity set in her heart to really go after GOD. You are a picture to them of the abundant life Annie. Could a mother ask for more? Crazy about you and ALL the things God is using you for.

  7. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 2:31 PM  |  reply

    well you definitely made an impact on me and i bet you know that. i am sure the Lord will lead you and cant wait to hear about what happens. blessings

  8. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 3:42 PM  |  reply

    I have many words I could say, but just wanted to tell you thank you for writing this!

  9. posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 8:55 PM  |  reply

    I think a little bit of time with you is better than none at all. You are worth parting pains, girl! You’re a blessing. Share yourself.

  10. Shelby
    posted on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:55 PM  |  reply

    I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.

  11. posted on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:25 AM  |  reply

    You said it all when you said, God called you to move. If moving was God’s will for you, He will take care of the rest!! I can’t imagine ANY of these kids, no matter waht they say to your face, are not better people for having known you. Moving on and “losing” people is what life is all about. You couldn’t be there forever and they know that and they will deal with that in their own time and in their own way. Hugs and Prayers…

  12. Laura
    posted on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:34 PM  |  reply

    1. I don’t care if you’re here or there, i only care how much you being there for me and meing my friend has blessed me.
    2. If those people see you loving God even half as much as i have, they’ll be blessed, god has blessed you with that talent.
    3. you’re exit is not more memorable than your investment. if it was we wouldn’t miss you so much.

    thanks for being there for me, Annie. i love you!

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