We had it all.
Two beautiful little boys.
A dream house we built.
A desirable neighbourhood.
A city voted the #1 place to live and raise a family (at that time).
A thriving economy.
A stable country.
Possibility and opportunity.
Position and influence.
Loving family who all lived within a 20-minute drive.
A deeply rooted church community.
And a lifestyle of entrepreneurial freedom and flexibility.
We don’t say that to brag. Honest. We say all that to say this: it looked good on the outside but the INside was falling apart.
Here’s what was happening to the rest of our lives because we were comfortable living “the good life.”
Our future felt scripted.
Our day-to-day was predictable.
Adventure was MIA.
God felt distant.
The Holy Spirit had no freedom.
Conformity crippled our creative spirits.
The pressure for sameness restricted our independence.
We became comfortable in complacency.
We lost our zest for engagement in the mass of spectating.
Our opinions became an echo chamber.
And our faith grew stale and stagnant.
Because of that…
We fought every single day.
I cried. He paced.
We barely slept.
We grew reclusive and unattached.
We felt miserably alone.
Guilt ate us alive for hating our so-called “good life.”
I vented to a counsellor. He drowned himself in work.
We were constantly stressed.
We felt stuck. Trapped. Angry. Beat down.
We hated what we had become.
And the only solution was to join more programs.
Some kind of “good life”, right?
In a 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 show me that faith is so much more than this.”
In a flurry of “foolishness,” I told God that Chris and I would go anywhere and do anything, and I/we meant it.
Our thinking then, and our 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, attend 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.
How did “the good life” become the standard go-to definition of a good life? When did this standardized, cookie cutter, boxed in version of living become the norm anyway? And is it even living?
Is it any wonder, then, that our journey resulted in the confronting of this so called “normal” through the purging of our earthly possessions, the selling of our house, the moving of our family, the stretching of our faith, and the complete and utter surrender of our control? I think not.
Hindsight affords us the perspective to see that it was all necessary. All of it. Every single bit. And we learned a ton of things in the process.
The Journey Of Learning
We now understand how Abraham must have felt when God asked him to pack up his family along with everything he owned, leave his native land, his relatives, his family, and head to a place He would lead them to. I can’t even tell you how much sense Matthew 19:29 makes to us.
Was it hard? Yes.
Did I cry? You have no idea.
Did we struggle? More than you could ever possibly know.
Did Chris and I have many “passionate discussions”? Let’s just say, ‘hell’-o.
Did we beg for God to give us glimpses of the map along the way? Of course! Ain’t no way (me) this Type-A / eldest born / thinker / planner / organized achiever is goin’ down without a fight.… and I’m the least stubborn one in the marriage. Oiy.
Let’s just say Cindy + Chris + God all vying for control equalled battles of epic proportions.
But we said yes.
And because we said yes, we awakened to potential and possibility.
We have more joy now than we ever did with thousands of square footage of stuff.
We have deeper faith now than we ever did playing the parts and hiding behind the facades as good Christian rule followers.
We finally – for the first time in our lives (and we both grew up in church) – understand that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being the church and that you can devout your entire life to saying you’re a Christian and still look nothing like Jesus.
We have a far greater understanding of the Bible now than we ever did with our butts in a pew.
We can actually hear the voice of the Holy Spirit because our lives are no longer cluttered with noise and control.
And we totally… and completely… and absolutely… without a shadow of a doubt… know what it means to need Him.
So why’d we do it?
Why’d we sell our house, downsize our possessions, purge our lives, move away from friends, separate from family, let go of “the good life,” and dive into the unknown?
Because deep down we felt this gentle prompting assuring us that confronting normal would lead us on an extraordinary adventure towards a thriving faith and a tailor-made life.
He revealed depths of Himself we could have never known until we were willing to leave the safety of our comfort zones and step into faith, obedience and surrender.
He showed us what faith can be if we, as Christians, are willing to let go of control and complacency and walk with expectancy for supernatural adventure.
He stripped away layers of cultural clutter that had been clouding our joy for years so we could find our purpose again with renewed passion and vigour.
He helped us shed the pressure to conform to what everybody else is doing and venture to discover how He created us to live.
And the lessons are still going because….
Faith is not a one-time thing. It’s an on-going journey that lasts a lifetime. It’s an adventure. There is no arrival gate. It’s an open-ended ticket to anywhere at anytime if you’re willing to board, but you have to be willing to board. And you have to be willing to fly into uncertainty without knowing where you’re going.
But mostly we learned this:
That life has the potential to be fulfilling and amazing if we’re willing to open the lid and get out of the box that culture and the church places us in.
Imagine how different your life could be if you were willing to confront everything “normal” about your so-called “good life”, and instead chose to pursue a great adventure?