My friend asked this question when she and her family took a big step towards the life they wanted.
Which is more terrifying: preserving your status quo because it’s safe and comfortable and familiar, or chasing down that dream that haunts your spirit day and night no matter the cost?
Think about it for a minute? How would you respond?
For me, they both are. But I can no longer do what is safe and comfortable if it means saying no to what I know God is calling us into.
Truth be told, I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation. I could keep this really short and just say, “Hey, ya’ll, here’s what we’re doing. Stay tuned.”
But that’s not me (and not just because ya’ll isn’t in my regular vocabulary).
I’ve probably deleted more writing than ever on this post because I’m checking my heart a lot on this one. The question I ask myself is this: do I want to share our entire story because God is asking me to? Or do I want to share the entire story because maybe it will make the doubters realize how this came to be? Make them understand why we’re doing this.
How do I keep Jesus at the center of all this and write in such a way that He gets the glory?
The truth is, I’ve been generally quiet about the details of our next steps. If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know that I’m not afraid to put out there what God’s doing in my life and my heart. Even still, I always find it a difficult balance. How much to share, how much to keep inside. I never wanted my blog to add to an overly noisy world. I’m still finding my voice as a writer on my space. I struggle with putting too much out there, but also being obedient to how I feel God is asking me to share my life in the hopes of encouraging others.
I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me a few months ago to write out the details of how my family came to the place we are today. Initially I thought it was because I was supposed to share it. Beginning to end. Because what we’re stepping into has been six years in the making. It’s not something we dreamed up one night and then just decided to do. Just like leaving my job to be at home with my children was eight years in the making, so too this is a long story of waiting.
I’ve hinted a lot on this space. But I haven’t yet put it all out there. Much of the reason was because I allowed myself to hold hands with fear. What will people say? What will they think? What if we say we’ll do it and it doesn’t happen? And even worse, what if we become those people who talk and talk about what they’re going to do and never actually do it?
So I started. In little pieces, here and there, when I could steal a few minutes. I wrote down dates I could remember, specific conversations I had with people, slowly building the timeline up until the day we sold our house. I started to put together a blogpost about it. But as I read and reread over our story from the last few years, I came to realize that I wasn’t being prompted to share the details with my readers, many of whom are good friends. I was prompted to write it all down so I could remember.
When we take communion, Jesus commands us to, “do so in remembrance of me.” And while the act of remembering Jesus’s death is so important in our walk of faith, we also need to take it further. We need to remember all He’s done for us. So often in life, when things get hard, we tend to be like the complaining lot of Israelites, wandering for forty years, unable to remember all God had done, all He had brought them through, all the ways He showed them His love and provision.
If we’re not careful, we can forget what He’s done when things get hard. We can get stuck in our circumstances and take our eyes off of Him and start listening to the lies and become complacent in our faith. As I wrote our story, I was reminded again and again of what He has done for us, not only in the season of the past few years, but throughout our lives. The past few years had us in some really low places, very little of which we shared with anyone. We were humbled over and over. We swallowed our pride more than a handful of times.
And yet, through it all we have learned to keep our eyes on Him. I don’t get it right every time (not even close) and I have my moments of weakness and more times than I can count I’ve doubted our next steps.
But one thing is for sure: I know my Father more now than I ever have in my life. And the more I know Him, the more I want to know Him. And the more I know Him, the more I believe the words of the Bible, the words I grew up reading and not understanding as I do now, the words that draw me back to who He really is, whether I’ve experienced Him that way or not, words that remind me how small I’ve made Him in my life and words that make me realize how much greater in my life I want Him to be.
And if I want those things, I have to be obedient to what He’s asking of me. Obedient in the day-to-day normalcy of small things that seem insignificant. And obedient to the big things He’s prompted in my heart.
I’ve come to realize that what we are doing, is really all about obedience. It honestly comes down to this: are we willing to do the thing that He’s asked of us?
I’ve called it a dream over the past year of writing about it. And it is a dream. God is the ones who plants dreams in our hearts.
But I’ve come to the realization that it’s more than that. I don’t know if I should venture to say it’s a “calling,” but I do believe that’s what it is. For whatever reason, it’s what we feel God is leading us to do. He’s saying, “yes” and we’re (finally) being obedient.
The thing is, I think we as Christians tend to understand the idea of a “calling” in a very limited way. Oh yes, you’re “called” into the ministry or you’re “called” into teaching or you’re “called” to the mission field or you’re “called” into these logical places. But if I dare be so honest here, we Christians tend to put these ideas into a box. You can be called to Africa as a missionary. But if that “calling” doesn’t fit in your box or your experiences of how God works, then it’s nothing more than some crazy thought in your head.
I remember reading Amanda Bacon’s story a bit ago, how her family felt called to move to North Carolina, even though they loved their life in Alaska. There was no specific reason they were moving there~no job, no family. But they felt it was where God wanted them. She wrote on her blog:
The cities and places we live are temporary. But what isn’t fading away is God’s kingdom. Our family is being called away from our current place because God has a mission for us, but we don’t yet know what that will look like, or what exactly He’ll have us doing. As Jeremy (her husband) said right as we made our final decision, “I’m not willing to sit back, comfortable right here, if God has a plan for us there to help lead others into His kingdom. People get it when you say, “Hey, guess what? We’ve moving to Africa as missionaries!” No one balks. No one questions. Well, of course they do, but only on the internet, right? Did I just say that? We know what this means, and we’re familiar with how God calls in this way. We get squirmy when a calling is more ambiguous. We feel a bit (a lot) like Abraham gathering all his people up, and blindly going where God was leading him, not knowing what the future holds.
This. Oh so much this. And whether you want to nitpick the word calling isn’t important.
God is always calling us. Calling us onto Himself. Calling us deeper into relationship with Him. And one way to answer that call is to say yes to Him. No matter what it means.
What I know, without a doubt, is that this is where God is leading us. It’s where He has us. And our job, our one simple (but oh-so-hard) job is to be obedient to Him.
I don’t expect the trail ahead to be paved with gold and without roadblocks. I don’t expect it’s going to be easy. But I expect He’s leading the way. I expect Him to be with us. And I expect Him to use us as He will.
So as I tell you all about what’s coming, I’m leaving out all the details of how we got here, because those are really just for me. I know where I stand with God on this one. I know the hours we’ve spent together over the years talking about it, envisioning it, believing in it.
Testimony is just a reminder that what God does for one, He can do for another. So my hope in sharing our next steps, is to encourage you, dear reader, that what He has done for us, He can do for you too.
Stay tuned: Part 2 tomorrow.