One [Baby] Step At a Time

For the past week I’ve been standing on a precipice staring down into the yawning maw of the unknown. On Monday I posted about feeling like it was time to make a decision… All in… or not. Because God loves us, I think he would genuinely understand and be okay with it when someone opts for “not”. I think he gets it. Leah and I have spent the past several years creating a life that we truly love and enjoy. We have fun. We try new things. We laugh. We discover new ways of loving each other. I think God takes joy in that. We could foreseeably continue on in this way and find ways of making each other and God happy…

But I can’t shake the feeling that such a life might still be lacking. I feel like Leah and I have potential to do something really cool, and living a life that isn’t moving toward something feels like a life wasted. So what’s the dilemma? We’ve been terrified of what happens if we decide to truly and completely hand the reigns over to God. We’ve all heard stories about what happens when God really gets into somebody… People give up lucrative jobs, move to the far flung corners of the earth, and are only heard from again in the form of newsletters. I’ve witnessed with my own eyes God getting into the lives of friends causing them to move to other continents, adopting children, and choosing to live in a house with what seems like an excessive number of people (speaking to the last point, admittedly, more than two people in a house feels a little crazy.)

After my last post, I heard back from some of these fine folks and the consensus was pretty much as expected… “It’s AWESOME. A little weird, sure, but AWESOME.” The trouble arises from the fact that none of those things look particularly awesome to Leah and I. What if God has been plotting to send us to some country this whole time? What if he ordered us to go build a one-room cabin and fill it with… I don’t know,children or something equally gross and scary?We would then be forced into the position of deliberately ignoring God (not good) or ignoring our desires (not fun). Remaining ignorant seemed like an increasingly viable option.

But… God is tricky. How tricky is God? Tricky enough to drop my amazing aunt and uncle into our laps despite the fact that they are missionaries to the Sudan. Seriously, it was the confluence of several events that happened to put them in this town, let alone when Leah and I are pondering the notion of being “all in”. How could we waste this opportunity? We asked them about their own lives… How did they end up in the Sudan? When did God pull the rug out from under them?

It was greatly comforting to hear that their trip to the Sudan began twenty years ago. At no point did God ever pull the rug out from under them, instead they simply focused on whatever God put in front of them… Becoming proficient at their careers, developing life skills, raising two daughters, being good spouses to each other, whatever they had to do on a day by day basis. In fact, my aunt likened herself to Bill Murray’s seminal character, “Bob” from “What About Bob?” She said her spiritual life had been one long exercise of taking baby steps. They never would have guessed God would have led them to be okay with going to Sudan. They have no clue what God is going to do next… They simply approach each decision, examine it, pray about it, and do whatever feels right.  (I think it’s worth noting that this particular pair of missionaries admitted to rarely ever being more than 75-85 percent sure they were making the right choice.)

I told them that at the heart of the struggle we were having, was the question of “Does God want us to be happy? If not happy, how about content and fulfilled?”. Their answer was that the real crux of this conundrum is deciding what makes you truly happy. For my uncle, it’s sharing the Gospel with people that have never heard it. The difficulties they endure, the unglamorous grunt work, the days of feeling under utilized are all made worth it when he gets to tell somebody about Jesus.

By the end of the conversation, I think Leah and I had already made up our minds. We’re in. Of course we’re in. I kind of knew all along that we would be, the idea of living a life half-lived is scarier to me than living a scary life. Nothing really feels any different. There wasn’t a light from on high or the sound of an angelic choir. But I think the difference is that Leah and I know that God is there… Just beneath the surface of our lives, preparing the next big thing… All we have to do is baby step our way towards it.

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6 responses to “One [Baby] Step At a Time

  1. EEP! This is SO exciting! God has such impeccable timing, doesn’t He? Wow…what’s the plan for you guys? What’s the plan for US? The first decision is the hardest…and you’ve made it. Being “all in” with God is a bit like dancing on the edge of a volcano…you know there is a great chance that it could erupt at some point and KILL you, but the adventure is SO WORTH IT! Thrilled to see what/where God will take you next! LOVE LOVE!

  2. I know this is late, but was reading this on my iPhone on the train into work when it was posted. Just want to say I loved this post and think its awesome that you took the time to ask of others what that kind of radical, no-holds-barred faith looks like. I’ve very much settled on the same concept – one step at a time. Anything else is far too overwhelming. Glad to be on this journey of life with you guys, even from 600 miles north!

    • Thanks, Erika. Asking other people how going “all in” worked out for them felt like the only way we could make our decision. I think what really convinced us was the fact that so many people had no clue what was coming next, but had put God to the test enough to know that whatever he asked wouldn’t completely destroy them. As much faith as I have in God, I’m finding I’m awfully protective of my life’s plans. God has been more present (or maybe more recognizable?) in our lives since I wrote this post than he had been in a VERY long time; I think we chose wisely.

  3. I could not have stumbled upon this post at any more appropriate of a time. I know Nick and Erika, which is how I came across it. Reading through it is so encouraging to know that others are going through similar challenging, potentially radical, and awesome ‘experiences’ of God. I’m not sure what specific decision or life-change you are working through (if any other than to trust God), but I encourage you to listen to him, seek Godly councel, and follow God the best that you can. My wife and I have decided to follow him (which isn’t taking us to Sudan….but is taking us across the country where my career is uncertain and we both know there will be significant challenges, even if everything works out perfectly) so that my wife can finally start impacting the people God is calling her to love. While we are still very much in the thick of taking some of the biggest leaps of faith in our lives, I have to say that through the process I have not felt more loved by God than ever, nor has the relationship between my wife and I been so strong. Even with the uncertainty, I love being able to trust God and see our story play out. I’m beginning to feel like this is going to create some incredible opportunities for me to start the conversation and let others know how God has loved me (it already has and will continue to do so). I guess in short…keep trusting him. It’s worth it. However, remember that we can still be missionaries for Christ without even leaving our own city…depending on who he calls us to impact. Baby steps and patience are critical elements, but I think that we always have to be prepared to follow when (not if) he calls us to take that leap of faith. Thanks for the post…it was very encouraging!

  4. Pingback: Did You Bring Your Permission Slip? « Hunting for God·

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