Many times, when we are in the midst of change and challenge, we are scared to death. We are scared of what is coming next, because we don’t know what is coming next. We are uncertain about where the path leads, and we are frightened to fail.
For me and my family, it seems like we get wrapped up into this feeling that, “This could be it!” We get fed the lie, (and we believe it) that maybe if we don’t connect these dots (there are no dots) just right, our lives could change forever, and we might get off this one true path path (there is no one true path) that we are on, and we could do irreparable damage to our future.
So in the moment, or sometimes, the seasons, of these decisions and processes, we get scared. Beyond the irrational fear listed above, I’m not exactly sure what we are afraid of. Perhaps, it falls into these fears, as expressed by Steven Pressfield in The War of Art:
Fear of the consequences of following our heart. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency. Fear of groveling when we try to make it on our own, and of groveling when we give up and come back crawling to where we started. Fear of being selfish, of being rotten wives or disloyal husbands; fear of failing to support our families, of sacrificing their dreams for ours. Fear of failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. Fear of launching into the void, of hurtling too far out there; fear of passing some point of no return, beyond which we cannot recant, cannot reverse, cannot rescind, but must live with this cocked up choice for the rest of our lives.
Pressfield goes on to say that these are serious fears… but I don’t know if I completely agree.
They are...I think, but we magnify them to the point of crippling and killing our ambition. Any momentum that we may have mustered up, dissipates quickly as the list of these fears mounts.
Before I get any further, this is where all of this stems from, for me and my family.
We have decided to sell the house that we just purchased, and renovated, in an effort to pay off debt, generate a large down payment, purchase some investment property, so that my wife can work less and spend more time with our children.
In order to purchase the house, we took some calculated and stressful risks financially. During the time of the search and renovations, we went six deep at my parents’ house.
It was full of love but also people, and for some, stress. A sacrifice was made to get to this point. And the house is awesome, and in an amazing location.
Our kids are happy there, and so are we.
And now we are selling it.
There is part of this that may elicit little sympathy. I understand that there are greater sacrifices being made than selling a nice house to make a significant amount of money, to move into another nice house, so that my wife can work less. There are certainly more challenging things.
We get that. Really. And we remind ourselves of this truth often.
But it’s relative, right. Right now, this is our challenge. We spent 8 months of sacrifice, and just over a year after moving our family from one city to the next, and living in 3 different places in about 15 months, finally settling our family in, and feeling like we were going to settle in and stay...we are moving again.
We don’t know where we are going to live. Our house is under contract, and for that we are grateful. But we don’t know where we are going. We are nervous about any impact this might have on our children.
We also don’t know where my wife is going to work, and just how much of a hit we will have to take financially. And though we have plans as to how to offset some of that, we don’t know if those things will pan out either.
We are moving from a place of comfort and satisfaction, both in terms of a home and finances into a place that is unknown. We are fortunate that it is an option, but we are still taking a hit to our monthly income, and considering renting our house some to soften the blow. This wasn’t part of “the plan”.
And coming back to the truth…
The plan was destroyed long ago. It’s full of erasures, and stray marks, and dog eared pages. There is dried white out, and crumpled up pages. Some of them have coffee stains on them, some were torn up, thrown away, and then fished out of the trashcan and taped back together. Some pages were burned, never to be seen again. The plan… Come on…
And, here is where I stumbled upon my encouragement…
We are going to be okay.
And the reason I’m certain of this, is that we are okay now.
We have survived the revisions, including the ones that we made, and the ones that were made without our permission. Through them all, we’ve been okay.
And some of them have been painful. Some of the revisions to the plan felt more like revisions of our souls. Sometimes mine, sometimes my wife’s, and sometimes both. Some of the revisions felt like they were created and delivered by Satan, and we wondered why God allowed them.
Some felt like they were created by God, and we wondered why God would do such a thing.
Some, of course, have been hand delivered by God, and have been wonderful.
Some of the revisions to the plan, that we made, in retrospect, were really, really stupid.
And throughout this journey, my wife and I have often looked at each other, and wondered what was going to happen. We wondered what was coming next. Many times we feared what was coming next. And sometimes, we were certain, that whatever was coming, was going to be permanent. That we might never recover. Surely this new change would alter our family for generations to come. And somewhere down the line, one of our great, great grandsons, probably Bryan the 5th, would blame us for the way his life was turning out.
Sometimes that “defining moment” was viewed from the pit. Like, maybe we won’t ever get out.
Other times, we felt like we were standing on top of a mountain. Like, maybe we won’t ever come down.
Ultimately, the truth I’ve come upon, is that in both circumstances, through all of the different ways the plan has been revised…
We’ve been okay. And we will continue to be okay.
We love each other. God loves us. And we are going to be just fine.
Hooray for Philippians 4:13, and all of the sports posters that have been created to give the feeling that it means that you can move that ball across the one yard line in the 4th quarter.
But (and this is just my spirit talking) I think we miss the mark with that. Connected to Philippians 4:13 is 4:12, and through it, we get a truer picture of the message.
12: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
13: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
I’m not really any authority to be offering commentary on the Bible. However, I think “all this” means being in need, and having plenty. Being well fed and hungry. Being content.
I can go through all of that...because Christ abides in me.
Not that I have any business editing the Bible. But right now, I feel like for us, verse 13 B would follow up with:
You are going to be okay. It’s going to be okay. Stick with me, Stick together, and you’ll be okay.
I wrote the plan in the first place. Trust me as it changes.
We’ve thought it was ending before. And yet, here we are...