A lot has changed this past month, and this change has brought challenges, new and old, with it. I was recently hired part-time as the Huntington University Studio and Equipment Manager (aka the Cage). This is a big step for me. I am now the steward of HU DMA’s equipment, studio space, and computer labs. Though this is only part of my responsibility. The other is building relationships with the students.
I love this job. I love what I do. I have long dreamed about working at my alma mater in such as fashion. Things are going well for me. However, it is easy to lose track of the long-term goal. I do believe this job is where I need to be right now, but I also know Germany/Europe is where I need to be in the long run. The mission field is where I am called to. This has not changed.
Other things have. My situation has changed. I am still working on potentially ditching my fundraising coach. They were all about speed. It’s all about how fast I can raise the funds, with some rather aggressive sales style tactics in my opinion. That just isn’t where I am at. I’m an introvert. As much as I like people, I don’t have a large network. Part of what I have to do is build new relationships. To do this I have been getting more involved with my church. I’m being told by my field leaders to take my time. There is no rush. Where as before it was about getting there asap, now there isn’t that rush or urgency. It is all the Lord’s timing.
I also face new challenges. “New”, in this case, is a rather relative term. Some of these are challenges are quite old and familiar. The first one is that my obsession (camera, technology, and all things digital media/art) has become my job. I face potential burn out as a result. I have to do things outside my norm to keep my passion for art, technology, film, and media fresh and exciting. I work with cameras as a career. Some days I don’t even want to touch my own. This is an issue, and I have to find ways to keep that passion alive, fresh, and independent from my job.
There is also the fact that I am in a very unusual stage of my life compared with those around me. This goes beyond my job. I am a quirky introverted, single 29-year-old bachelor who is trying to get his life figured out and pursuing full-time missions. It’s a bit of an awkward place to be. So few people around me seem to be in such a continuous transitional state as I find myself in. On top of that, the whole single thing isn’t going away anytime soon.
Most around me land in one of two categories. category number one is married, about to be married, in a serious relationship, or married with children, and usually settling down into a routine doing what married couples do. Married couples often times hang out with other married couples, causing me to feel out-of-place when around a group of them. Most of my friends, even some close friends, fall in this category. I have trouble comprehending relationships of this nature, having been rejected by the fairer sex on more occasions than I can keep track. As a result, I am a semi-permanent Bachelor. I may play up the bachelorhood, but it’s more out of reluctant acceptance than anything.
The other category is college students, ages 18-23 on average (a few a little older and/or married, but not many). That is a 6-11 year age difference. Having been in their shoes, you can be a bit starry-eyed entering college as a freshman or be going into your final year. One has so much optimism and the potential for the future when in college. Friends, opportunities, relationships. Meanwhile, I’m in a place where I am a bit more world-weary, see limited options, and am struggling to keep what friendships I have alive. This is my work environment and will be the bulk of my human interaction starting this fall. While in some cases I can relate to them a little more easily compared to couples, due to my age and stage in life, there are just a number of areas they simply do not understand. I have lived a few more years and experienced a number of things they have yet to. There is also the fact that I am in a leadership role. While I am likely befriending many of the students over the course of this next year, I will always be viewed in a similar light to that of the professors.
Due circumstances in which I find myself, my depression has reared its ugly head. Things are going relatively well for me, professionally speaking, and yet I feel depressed. I’ve landed a job I have only dreamed of. Why am I feeling this way? Because something is still missing. I have to keep working towards Germany. But even then, something is still missing. I keep asking “I got appointed (GEM), I got the job (HU DMA), can I get the girl?” more jokingly than anything.
Remember, I am an introvert. Introvert does not mean “doesn’t like being around people”. Thanks internet for once again getting the facts wrong. It simply means we process the world internally. Hence why we like the quiet solitude. However, we as humans are relational beings. We want to connect with people, people like us. Despite things going well for me, the deep connections I am wanting with those around me just are not there. I am in a very different place in life than most. It might be exciting, but it is not without its challenges. It’s hard to find people like me.
I feel very alone. I am in a continual state of transition. I don’t quite belong to either group I interact with. Other than church and my Monday night men’s bible study, there is not much I do out side of work. I don’t hear from a lot of people. Out of sight, out of mind. It has always been that way. I feel very alone.
People seem to place those of us in missions on a much higher pedestal. They act as if we are some how way more spiritual or Godlier. This isn’t the case. We face the same issues and types of challenges as anyone else. More so in some cases because of our unique position. The only difference is that we have placed our complete trust and lives in the hands of God. We have to so that we may help spread the hope of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it. But at the end of the day, we are just as imperfect and just as broken as anyone else. I know I am. Sometimes more so, or so it feels on certain days.
At the moment, it is easy to just throw myself into my work. I did it as a student when I felt this way (alone, like I didn’t fit in). This only results in burn out, and could also cause me to lose sight of what the Lord has called me to do in the long-term: full-time missions in Europe as a filmmaker. What I need the most, other than continual financial support (which, admittedly, I desperately need), is prayer and encouragement. I need people to care. I face a lot of challenges in the path that I walk. In my case, it is a lonely road. I don’t expect everyone to understand it. I don’t need everyone to understand it, I just need people to stand beside me and be a friend. In the highs, the lows, and everything in between. I need people who care, to be a friend. What I need is a life outside of work and church. This is not a journey I can take alone, nor should it be.
On a final note: depression is just a part of my life. It is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. That is part of the reason I am so open about it. Also, my depression is what helped me build my faith and dependence on Christ Jesus. NEVER EVER view my depression as a weakness. Depression is not the result of weakness. Yes, it is tough. Yes, it can be a hindrance at times. But it is not a weakness.