Revelations: On the past year
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BY JENNIFER PREYSS
One year ago this week, I packed up my life in Atlanta and moved to a small Texas town named Victoria.
I knew, somehow, I needed to be here. I'd been praying for months, after all, for God to lead me into a position that would allow me to grow as a person and journalist.
And even though it wasn't the first time I'd picked up and moved my life across the country - away from the comforts of my Atlanta homebase - moving to Texas took a big leap of faith.
I knew one person here; my family and friends would be states away.
My father, convinced my four-hour proximity to the Mexico border would certainly result in my kidnapping, put up an alarming fight to keep me in Georgia.
I learned later, of course, he didn't want me to move to Texas because I'd already moved away once, and he wanted me close to the family.
My friends were confused by the cross-country move for a reporter job.
"Texas? Why don't you just find a job in Atlanta?" They'd ask me.
People thought I was plain crazy to move out here. I mean, who really changes everything about their life to move to a small coastal town in Texas and write for a living?
But what most people don't understand about journalism is how competitive it is. And what they really don't understand about journalists, is how adventurous they can be. We are all, on some level, a little certifiable, or we would work regular 9-to-5 jobs.
So I interviewed for the Victoria Advocate, first as a copywriter, then as a reporter opening on the Faith beat.
And when my boss, Chris Coble,r told me, "You'd be covering religion, faith issues in and around the area," I was sold on Victoria.
It was a dream beat for me. Writing. Religion. People. Sign me up, I thought.
However, I had another job possibility for a newspaper in Florida, and I wanted to check it out. It was a columnist position and somewhat closer to homebase. With the Florida job, it would take me five hours to drive home, rather than 16.
It was also a larger metro newspaper, rather than a smaller community paper.
But when I got to the interview, I was told funding for the position had been cut earlier that day and would not come available until the following year.
"I guess I'm moving to Texas," I told Mom when I returned to Atlanta.
When I left Atlanta in my U-Haul, my family and friends wished me luck - and prayed I wasn't making a huge mistake. I remember the hesitance in their voices, even to this day.
But as I look back on the last year, I know now that God absolutely placed me in Victoria. The articles I've written, the people I've interviewed, the friendships I've formed, have changed me in profound ways I'm not sure even I fully comprehend.
And that columnist position in Florida? Well, as it turned out, I ended up with a column in Texas, a personal achievement for me.
Most importantly, my heart for the Lord has strengthened this past year, watching so many of the prayers I pleaded for in 2009 and 2010 (many times on my knees) come to fruition.
I look back on my year as a religion reporter, and understand now, how important it is to wait for God to place you in a job, town, relationship, that makes the most sense for his kingdom.
It doesn't always make sense to everyone else, but that's the point, it doesn't need to. It's not their life. It's yours.
People may fight you to the death when you leave, or change, or exit the comfort zone, but that's OK.
They know when your normal changes, so will theirs, and sometimes they don't want that to happen.
But as it turns out, ignoring your dissenters and following God's plan can actually pay off in a grand way.
I've had the time of my life so far, and I'm so glad I took that Texas-sized leap of faith.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.