Where I Went

by | May 3, 2023 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

Hey there.

It’s… uh… been a while. 

I launched this website a little over a year ago. Writing stuff was starting to come together. I’d attended several national writers conferences. Agents were interested and asking to see more of my writing. I’d just won one of the most prestigious awards in the writing organization I’m part of.

And I needed to walk away.

As this whole writing thing started to take off, I had less and less peace about it. It’s not that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I just started to get this impression that it wasn’t a good fit right now. And it was terrible timing for that feeling. I pushed it away for a while. But eventually I had to admit that I felt like God was asking to put writing aside for a while. I felt Him asking me to lay down this dream I’d been chasing. A dream which, I casually reminded Him, was finally starting to take off.

What I felt, stronger than anything, was that I was supposed to learn how to love people better.

I checked my to-do list, my outlines, and the multiple versions of my five-year plan. No where on the agenda was learning how to love people better. If I’m honest, it sounded like an awful idea. You don’t win awards for learning how to love people better. What a waste of valuable writing time. And honestly… Have you met people? People are… people-y. Why on earth would I want to work on loving them better?

But the nudge would not go away. It got louder and louder. I believe that if you put Jesus in charge of your life, you should act like it. So, while waving a white flag is one of my least favorite activities, I surrendered. If I was supposed to pause the whole writing thing and work on love, I was going to commit.

I’ve spent the last year and a half building relationships with people who have become incredibly important to me. As a private introvert, the practice itself was challenging. But it’s been so life-giving. The friends who surround me with all their various personalities have added flavor and color to my life I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

A couple months ago, I sat in a softly-lit living room late at night with some friends. They talked me through some horrific pain they were experiencing. Pain no parent should ever have to go through. It was a tender moment of honesty. And that vulnerability opened the door for me to share about some of my own recent struggles, particularly some sudden and scary health concerns I was facing. When we finished, we just sat there quietly. Respectfully. The house itself seemed to want to honor our moment with silence. Nobody had any answers, but it felt a little better just to be honest about our questions.

It was pouring rain when I left, running to my car. I sat in the driver’s seat dripping wet and paused for a moment with just one thought: this is the most important thing I’ll ever do.

Not land on a bestseller list. Not write a story that becomes someone’s favorite book. Not even help people work through trauma in a counseling office. But this right here. Loving my people and being with them when all we can do is be. If I get anything right in this life, let it be loving people and telling them the truth.

The memories haven’t all been that heavy. My friend Ben and I recently bought a combined total of 18 books at a book sale (we are not sorry). My friend Drew and I got together to eat pizza and watch basketball, but we couldn’t decide what kind of pizza we wanted so we ended up ordering half the menu to “just try a little bit of everything” (we are not sorry). I have a group of guys I play D&D with every other week, and we are constantly getting our characters into messes and making each other laugh (don’t email me your thoughts on D&D; I’m not sorry about that one either). I have a few couples encouraging me in this season of singleness and praying for my future wife. It takes a village to raise an Andy.

Steven James, one of my favorite thriller writers, tends to start his novels off with a quote. One of them (and it pains me severely that I can’t remember which one) starts off with the Latin phrase, dum vivimus vivamus. It translates to, “while we live, let us live.”

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Living. Making memories and learning how to love my people well. Through the highs and lows and all the life stuff in between. I’m starting to pick up writing again and remembering the rush that comes with telling a story. But I am also learning that my private, introverted heart can be quite relational in the right context. So I’m working on balancing it all.

Find your community. Invest in them. Put in the effort to love them well. It might be the most important thing you’ll ever do.


  1. Erin Mifflin

    Thank you for sharing so honestly and vulnerably, and for trusting the Lord and letting Him lead. You honor Him beautifully.

  2. Robyn

    I am so proud of you. I know that we don’t know one another well – if I’m honest it’s something that’s troubled me, because when I met you I just KNEW we were meant to be friends – but I know you well enough to know that this was a huge step of faith for you. And letting go of control like that in order to see God move in your life is something I’m coming to find cannot be outdone by anything else. When He gives us more, more is all we want.

    I’m so thankful you found your people. I’m so excited for the world to get to see how special your heart is (I was just reminded of what I wrote to you in your parting gift from MCC). I’m so undone at the unrelenting goodness of God to meet us all where we are while gently tugging at us to dive deeper and deeper over our heads. I admire your obedience to Him, and laying down your dream to see how He wants to work in and through you.

    I truly do hope we get that coffee soon, because I would love to hear all about what God is doing. 💗

  3. Penny

    I wish I could hit the love button a hundred times!! love this for you and the memories that you have and will continue to make. Love this for me/us who have gotten to know you more and be any part of your journey. Love you sharing your testimony and inspiring others in so many ways – including to know that God’s got us and His plans are perfect. So thankful to know you Andy 🙂


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