When I was young, I knew how to take chances, even though I was raised by a fearful Mom who worried about almost everything. In spite of that, I was pretty much always living on the edge. By the time I was a teenager I was ready to test the limits of safety and comfort. As a result, I did some things that were incredibly stupid, and some other things that were just completely outside the norm. For instance, I dropped out of college my freshman year to become a professional musician. Of course, my parents were royally ticked off and warned me that I was wasting my life and would never amount to anything. Their arguments meant nothing to me because I was following a dream. I was passionate about making music and nothing was going to stop me from trying. The next three years were both exhilarating and terrifying, with some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my entire life. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Fast forward thirty years. When I turned fifty I realized that somehow I had sold out nearly everything I had once believed in to acquire money, possessions, and security. It had seemed like the thing to do, and of course, I never actually thought of it as selling out while I was doing it. On the contrary, I was living “large”, as they say, making lots of money, driving new cars, and living in a big new house. I failed to realize that the lifestyle I had chosen was a prison, a soft easy prison that had lulled me into a deadly routine of sameness.
I’m not saying that my life wasn’t good. I had married the love of my life and we were raising four incredible children. We had all come to know Jesus, and were living in relationship with Him to the best of our abilities. In fact, these were the very things that caused me to start re-evaluating my choices and priorities. Once my wife, Morgan, and I started home schooling our kids, we decided that we didn’t want to give them the standard institutional education they would have gotten in government schools. Instead, we urged them to pursue their dreams and tailored their schooling to speak to their personal goals and gifting. As I encouraged each one of them to follow their heart and talked to them about my own past, I realized how differently I was living in comparison to my younger days. I had become more like my Mom than I ever imagined I could. It didn’t feel good, and it didn’t feel right. I could see that the high tech career I had once loved had become stale to me but I was trapped by the level of income we were accustomed to. That was one of the worst feelings I have ever had. I was trapped, really trapped, and I didn’t know what to do.
For the next five years I put in my time at work and dreamed of something different, not knowing how it would ever come to pass. I could see that as a follower of Christ I was called to something higher than just material comforts and possessions. Yet the bills came in every month. I was making a six figure salary and still living from paycheck to paycheck. This is what I learned – there is NEVER enough money. The more you make, the more you need. I wanted out. I longed for a simpler life.
Morgan and I had dreamed of owning a family business for ten years, but didn’t know how to make it happen. One day in early 2008 the opportunity literally fell into our laps. We jumped on it. Most of that year, we worked at the new business while I continued to work my “secure” job, the one that paid the bills. We were working seven days a week and it was killing us. I set a goal of quitting my corporate job by the end of 2008, but when the time came we didn’t feel ready financially. Nothing happened until a few weeks ago when I was told that I would be laid off at the end of February. This was a blessing in disguise. We would have never been “ready” to give up the big paycheck no matter what we told ourselves. For me, the news brought the most indescribable combination of excitement and fear. I wanted out of the corporate world so badly, but didn’t know how we would make ends meet.
I STILL don’t know, but I’ll tell you this – I haven’t been this alive in decades. The first week of my “unemployment” was like a crash course in discovering myself all over again. I don’t know what the future holds, but you know what? We NEVER do! The regular paychecks and daily routines give us nothing more than the illusion of knowing. I trust God that no matter what happens He will be with me. He will never leave me or forsake me and the same goes for my family and for you. Our Papa is the most loving Father we could possibly imagine. I am willing to face the unknown with Him, knowing that He has my best interest at heart. I’m not afraid.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to write a series of articles on living in freedom during uncertain times. I intend to address the issues of fear, anxiety and insecurity as they pertain to me and also to you. I would love to hear from you and have your thoughts and feedback on what I write. God bless you all.
“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10