“….e senza fame e senza sete, senza ali e senza rete, voleremo via”. -Francesco De Gregori …and without hunger and without thirst, without wings and without a net, we will fly away.
Six months ago today, my husband quit his job. He was not fired or laid off. He walked away after investing more than 7 years of his life in one company. It was our only source of income, but it was more than that. For Erik, it was a way of defining himself. For me, it was (I thought) the opportunity we had prayed for, the one that would position us to fulfill our calling. It has been hard to close that chapter, especially with an empty horizon. I wanted to take some time to talk about how we got here and what we’ve learned six months in.
First of all, the elephant in the room: What led you to quit your job? Last winter I felt during my prayer times that God was asking me to get things in order and to stop taking new projects, because my time at my job was coming to an end. I was very apprehensive at first thinking that I must have heard wrong. The more I thought and prayed, the more I believed it was God’s will. But that didn’t change the apprehension. Every week during our family’s prayer time the kids felt led to act out a story from the Bible about someone obeying God, or fearing and not obeying Him. Then during my prayer time, I felt God say to me that I was trusting my CEO more than I was trusting Him. That was not the epitaph that I wanted my life to be defined by.
That leads me to the other elephant: How do you pay the bills? Seven years ago we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class and have been saving money, paying down debt, and living below our means. I am not the most frugal person, but with my family’s help, we have greatly limited our spending and saved up at least a year’s worth of expenses.
What would you say to those who believe you should be working to provide for your family? I worked hard for the last 8 years. Lots of trips, lots of time away from my family. God asks us to be good husbands and fathers, and now I am focusing on those two aspects of life. We lived a different lifestyle so that we could do whatever God asked us to do, and now we’re eating the fruit of that.
When will you look for a new job? When God asks me to.
What have you learned during the time you’ve spent seeking God over the last 6 months? Three things come to mind:
- It isn’t what you do, it is who you are. God has been teaching me what it is to ‘be’ His son. Not what you ‘do’ to become His son but how to simply ‘be’. It seems simple, but it’s harder than I first thought.
- No matter what your circumstances, you can find a way to be joyful or complaining. The choice is yours, and determines a lot about how you live. It has been really difficult to see how I have reacted to this time. Most people dream of having 6 months to do whatever they wanted, but I find myself getting anxious and angry and missing out on the wonderful gift I have been given. God has been challenging me to live out the fruit of the Spirit in my daily life and to enjoy taking care of the needs of my family instead of hating it. As I have been doing this more and more I find that my days last longer, in a good way, and everyone lives easier.
- Without a vision the people perish. This is the most difficult. I’m finding that I’ve been running away from my vision/passion and wanting someone else to tell me what to do (mostly so I can try it for awhile and then say that it’s wrong and never really invest completely in something). This has severely hampered my life and the lives of my family.
What has surprised you? Cooking, cleaning, teaching for a family of 7 on a full-time basis is really hard/draining, barely rewarding and leaves little time for self-reflection/actualization.
How have you been transformed by this experience? My ability to simply ‘be’ has enlarged a lot. I am no longer afraid of cooking or thinking of making a meal for our family (I still am not comfortable cooking enough for guests so don’t be offended if you haven’t been invited over). I can wake up early without complaining (most of the time) and my prayer time has taken on a new ferocity and purpose.
Before taking this step you said, “I feel like I’m jumping without a net”. Describe how you feel now. When you watch skydivers floating down in free fall and they link up arms together and you can tell they are falling but they are so intent on the formation they are trying to make that they don’t seem the least concerned about the fall. That is how it feels right now. I am falling, there is no net, but I am really more interested in what He is forming in me and in my family now than the rushing wind and impending crash. Once the acceleration stops, you no longer feel how fast you are going. That’s where I’m at. Not quite comfortable, but not scary either.