Friends! I’m super excited to share today’s interview with Morgan Cogswell today! Morgan is someone I’ve looked up to since the day I met her back at UGA, but I’m not sure I’ve ever told her that in person. So there it is. On the internet. :)
Morgan is a youth coordinator for a church/designer/writer/podcaster/donut enthusiast/creative genius extraordinaire. I’ve followed her blog for a long time now and her beautiful, honest writing has struck many a nerve with me over the years. I totally admire her bravery and her unique voice in an online space where there tends to be a whole lot of same-ness. She’s refreshing and raw and so fun to be around, both in person and online. Which sounds a little creepy, but I promise it’s not.
And with that, I’ll let Morgan take it from here!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
I live and work in the Neverland that is Athens, Georgia, where I also attended UGA for college. I vowed emphatically upon my graduation that I would “never leave Athens or kill me dead!” and I owe my current life-status (happily living) to the fact that the Classic City is indeed still my home. (This proclamation was mostly made out of the crippling anxiety of adulthood and the fact that as a strong ENFP, I had no plans for post-collegiate employment.) Fast forward a few years and you’ll find me contentedly at work as the youth ministry coordinator for Redeemer Presbyterian Church (and the one-woman graphic design/web design department/circus. There are many hats to wear in ministry.) I still vow to never leave Athens or kill me dead.
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
I am writing this upon returning from a 4-day-long trip with 70 middle and high school students, so currently the thing that brings me the most joy in my work is sleep. On other days, the fact that I get to work with teenagers is just the best. Youth ministry is interesting— you have to be hip and cool and know things like what “RT” and “low key” mean but also be able to speak truth and wisdom. I would say 90% of my job is just listening to the kids talk and asking them questions, and those conversations definitely make the hard, long hours of this job worth it.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
I am such a nerd about stuff so there are usually a few things in the rotation of things I can’t shut up about… currently: Mystery Show podcast, the Oscar Best Score nominations, frozen Oreos, Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, Chambaland mashups. I find that being enthusiastic about stuff is more fun and inspiring than being an elitist or a snob so I just get really excited about anything. And usually obsessive. Podcasts are my jam right now and my friend Gracie and I are actually in the early stages of producing our own show.
What has been difficult lately?
I have a tendency to over-schedule myself. And surprisingly, that makes for some lonely days. I think I can be so driven by trying to accomplish a lot of things all at once that I don’t leave space to really invest—whether that’s in friendships or hobbies or just downtime. It wears me out and makes me feel very alone. I think, actually, that the over-scheduling comes from a fear of loneliness, but then that’s exactly where I end up. And I don’t do “alone” very well, but I’m learning how to embrace it and also how to better care for myself.
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
I don’t really know that I see myself as that different from other people: I’m a huge sinner trying to honor God with my life and failing a lot and learning a lot in the process. But perhaps if I had to choose something it would be that I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there are superficial things I wish I could change sometimes, but ultimately I am reminded that I am who I am because God created me to be exactly Morgan. On days when I don’t feel enough (pretty enough, funny enough, awake enough, smart enough) I remember that I am Morgan, Created by God in space and time to be right here, right now. Especially when I’m feeling tired from ministry life or self-conscious about being too in love with frozen Oreos, I’m so thankful that God made me the weirdo who’s obsessed with podcasts and Taylor Swift mashups. It’s comforting in a bizarre way.
If you owned a food truck, what would you serve and why?
I have dreams of owning a Waffle Truck called “Y’all’s Waffles.” We’d serve made-to-order Belgian style waffles with whatever fixin’s you want. You’d order, give your name, and when your order is up, I’d say…. “Lindsay! Y’all’s waffles are ready!” We’d have big yellow metal letters with lights that would spell out “Y’all’s Waffles” in script that would blink on the top of the truck. I’ve thought a lot about this. I think about waffles a lot. Maybe more than frozen Oreos.
Morgan, I can’t thank you enough for being a part of the blog. You have been such a light for me over the years and I'm sure many others would say the same. I can’t wait to see what you create next. :)
Love and Respect,