Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase – Martin Luther King, Jr.
There are tons of great books floating around these days. Books that are so fantastic, so romantic, so alluring, so captivating and so compelling that it’s impossibly hard to not get caught up in the whirlwind of, “What if?” “If only” “Dud’nt that sound nice.”
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker
Love Does by Bob Goff
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Visioneering by Andy Stanley
A better story (Storyline) by Donald Miller
This culture is such a rat race that any book that pulls you away from the madness and draws you into a potential life of, “less is more” “purge the splurge” “find calm/stay calm” “get your love on” and “be free to be free” – has my vote. Sign me up! I’m in full support of an intentional life that is full of purpose and meaning and not one that is cluttered with unnecessary excess.
But that was not me.
That was not my life.
That is not how I was living.
Rewind two years – January 2013 – and you find a depressed Cindy. I was so desperate for a thriving faith and an inspiring life – and not just something you read about in a book – that I was prepared to do just about anything. And I did. In one giant heap of emotion I crumbled to my bedroom floor, bawled my face off and bared my broken soul to God.
“Please tell me life is so much more than this. Please tell me faith is so much more than this.”
Some might call my act crazy, or foolish, or wise, or reckless, or radical, or crazy, or inspiring, or challenging, or courageous, or brave, or crazy, or emotional, or dramatic, or… whatever, but me? I call it necessary. It was absolutely necessary.
I was so desperate for something more out of life that surrender was the only way to go. And I’m not talkin’ materialistic more, I’m talkin’ meaningful more.
In a flurry of “foolishness,” I told God I would go anywhere, I would do anything, and I meant it. I didn’t care what He wanted me to do, I didn’t care where He wanted me to go, I would do it. I would go. I would obey. I would follow. This blog (which officially launched in October 2013) was but one of my acts of obedience. I could have never imagined it would lead to the selling of my house and the moving of my family (a city we drove away from on January 3rd, 2015… exactly two years to the day from the above-mentioned
My thinking then, and my thinking now, is this:
Feeling alive in the discomforts of uncertainty has to be more fulfilling than feeling dead to the comforts of control. Right?
Translation: there has to be more to life than merely existing to pay bills, raise good kids, maintain a well kept home, increase square footage, go to a nicely manicured church on Sunday, shop, take vacations, hang with friends on the weekend, volunteer when it’s convenient (sadly it never is), and retire in comfort.
I don’t buy it.
Is it any wonder, then, that my journey resulted in the purging of my earthly possessions, the selling of my house, the moving of my family, the stretching of my faith, and the complete and utter surrender of my control? I think not.
Hindsight affords me the perspective to see that it was all necessary. All of it. Every single bit of it. Totally. Necessary.
The cool part?
I now understand Dr. Henry Cloud. I know what it means to need boundaries and I know what it means to say – no thanks, I have zero desire to live in a box surrounded by them. I know what it means to draw circles around my wildest dreams and see extraordinary things begin. I know what it means to be essential about vision and how cool it can be to get your Bob Goff on. And in a culture that preaches, “More, more, more” and, “Give your kids even more”, I certainly know what it means to dare greatly and be bold enough to actually become a minimalist – to downsize the unimportant things in life in order to pursue the important.
And I certainly know how Abraham must have felt when God asked him to pack up his family along with everything he owned and head to… ??? Sweet mercy I feel Abraham’s pain.
Has it been hard? Yes.
Have I cried? You have no idea.
Have I struggled? More than you could ever possibly know.
Have Chris and I had many “passionate discussions”? Let’s just say, ‘hell’o.
Have I prayed for God to give us a teensy weensy glimpse of the staircase before we actually had to take a step? Of course – ain’t no way this type-A / eldest born / thinker / planner / perfectionist / organized / high achiever is goin’ down without a fight. Hence the two year journey.
Hi, my name is Cindy. I am stubborn.
Even now, reflecting back, does it slightly sting to look at the above picture – a house my husband and I built ourselves from scratch – and write such ego-deflating words while we’re currently renting and living in a two bedroom condo with all of our stuff in storage and no plan to speak of and no path to follow and no guidance of where we’re going or what we’re doing and no certainty that tomorrow will bring any answers? Oh and, have I mentioned that we don’t technically have jobs? Oh and, have I mentioned that we have two little boys? Oh and, have I mentioned that we ain’t so young anymore. This is no joke. We know what’s at stake. Trust me, I look at two little faces every single day and pray with more desperation than I ever even knew I had.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Sweet heavens, surely they must have back up options.” Nope.
“Surely they must have a plan they’re not revealing.” We do not.
“Surely this is some strategic marketing ploy in which they’re conspiring with cat-like prowl and politician-like agenda.” Honest. Cross my heart. This is, by far, the absolute craziest and most radically faith-testing adventure I have ever taken in.my.life.
Perhaps there will be one lone soldier who would stand up for us in the face of popularity and deem us brave (*sheepish grin* thanks!), but I’m betting right about now the mass population are deeming us hot messes (can’t say I blame you).
So yes this stings. Yes this is hard. I’m human (psst, between you and me, I still have moments where I wonder if I’m being recklessly irresponsible and out of my mind crazy. But shhh, don’t tell God… or my husband).
But I feel peace. Truly I do. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have unspeakable peace in the face of such abnormal behaviour.
I feel alive. We feel alive.
I feel free. We feel free.
- And we have more joy now than we ever did with thousands of square footage of
- And we have deeper faith now than we ever did playing the good roles of religious/Christian(?) rule followers.
- And we have a far greater understanding of the Bible now than we ever did with our butts in a pew. Note: I’m not dissing Church.
- And we can actually hear the voice of the Holy Spirit because our lives are no longer cluttered with noise.
- And we totally.. and completely… and absolutely… without a shadow of a doubt… know what it means to need Him. Like, I’m talkin’ mega.
So why’d we do it?
Why’d we sell our house, downsize all of our crap, purge our lives, move away from friends, separate from all of our family, let go of the “good life”… all to pursue the uncertainty of faith?
Because deep down in our heart of hearts my husband and I feel this gentle prompting assuring us that letting go of the “good life” is how we find a great one.
More so, why am I telling everyone about it?
Because, truth be told…
I say it’s about time Christians start living with “foolish” faith cuz the safe kind sure ain’t bringing the revivals.
For related posts, check out:
Faith, Life Uncertainty & The Look of Courage
What Finding Your Type of Crazy Looks Like
The Dream Involves You – Featuring Travis Holownia
Give Up What You Think You Need So You Have Time To Build What You Really Need