Stephanie and I have put together a checklist of things we must do to prepare before we leave Arizona. The list is just short of a million (almost). It's a bit daunting, to say the least. As I look it over, fear creeps in. We have made a decision to rip our family out of our happy life where we have most everything we want and need in order to do something extraordinary and new. I don't have any doubt we made the right decision, but here are my top 5 reasons (not in any particular order) that we should just stay put:
We already love our lives right here, right now. Why disrupt something that is so good? People all over the world long for a safe place to live, stable jobs, well-running vehicles, and a family full of joy. We already have all that - and more!
What if we have to start from scratch all over again? Our goal is to go on this adventure for 1 year. Perhaps we will go longer but we want to have a realistic goal when we begin. At the end of a year, what will it be like? We will have sold our house, vehicles, furniture, and all the normal stuff people use to fill their homes. I must admit, this seems a bit frightening. It was one thing when we were fresh out of undergrad and everything we owned fit in my Jeep. It's quite another now. This time we are not so young. We are not at the beginning of our careers. We have children to provide for!
We already live near our family and friends. Our almost-4-year-old daughter cried out in the car the other day (tears in her eyes) that she was going to "miss Ma" (the name she calls my mom). We have family and a ton of friends right here in Arizona. We are connected. We know lots of people. Certainly, we don't want our girls to miss opportunities to spend time with their grandparents, to see their cousins, or to play with our friends' children. Perhaps, we will be using Skype more often? Maybe our friends and family will visit us along the way?
The economy is such that this is probably the very worst time in our lifetime to sell our belongings. Owning a home that had lost such an enormous amount of equity wasn't quite as worrisome before we put it on the market. Now, the terrible reality stares at us in the face. This one can give me a stomach ache if I am not careful.
No matter who you ask, this whole thing is a bit risky: to take everything we have and invest it in things that matter. We have noble purposes and hearts full of love but...that alone doesn't guarantee success. It is frightening to think of all the things that could potentially go awry - all of the "what ifs."
What we keep coming back to is this: When Stephanie and I talk to each other and to God about what we are planning - we are at peace. When we really evaluate our goals and dreams - when we consider the brevity of life - this plan represents exactly who we want to be and what we want to do. It models the things we want to teach our children. We may have 5 reasons Give Every Day is a bad idea but, we also have at least 100 reasons why we need to do it.
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Sometimes things don't always work out the way we think they should go... God thinks differently and His plans are not always our plans. When we "left everything" and moved to Ukraine, our home didn't sell. It was also a bad market. (We were in the Silicon Valley and the tech market hit bottom) We couldn't understand why were weren't seeing a miracle, didn't God want us in Ukraine? We had to undersell. And owed the bank money. But the bank did a buy out and forgave us our loan! Can you imagine? THAT was a God thing! But, then I couldn't understand. We should have had an extra 20 thousand in the bank, just think how much we could do for God with all that money! (ha! As if He needs our money!) But what we didn't understand then, but we can look back and see now, is how perfect God's plan is, and how much better it is than our own! Had we had 20k sitting in the bank, we wouldn't be in Ukraine today. Plan and simple. Life was so tough and down right horrible those first two years. If we had that money, we would have had something to fall back on and we could have left Ukraine and made in a while in the US while we found another job. We HAD TO stick it out, there was no alternative plan. God is good all the time!
PS... A year later the market turned around and our house could have sold for 50 thousand more than we sold it for! But its just money. And as you saw when you were here, God has more than provided for us in every way!
Keep on the right path- God will provide as He sees fit! Praying for you!
I so respect what you guys are doing--it's such an inspiration and a calling!
Curious--I didn't realize your goal with this was a one-year adventure. That being the case, why not rent your house for a year for its mortgage payment and keep the asset? If you still feel God calling you to stay on the road for longer, you can always sell at that point. In this economy, it might be easier to rent than sell anyway. Also, this might allow you to put some of your nicer furniture in storage in your own house or that of a relative. You know, why sell your $1000 couch for $100 and then have to spend $1000 again in a year for a new one?
Just throwing some food for thought at you. I'm not suggesting compromising your convictions. I'd still sell as much as you feel called to sell--get rid of everything that doesn't really matter. Maybe every last paperclip! But be good stewards, too, with your goals--both one year and longer--in mind.
Chris - Thanks for your thoughts.
Our initial goal is one year. I can definitely see us going longer though.
We hope to sell our house. If necessary, we will rent it.
@TimSheaffer is talking about our fears. Read: 5 Reasons We Shouldn't Do This Give-Every-Day Thing! http://bit.ly/ao7a7T
When we went to 52 Zoos in 52 Weeks (Aug 1, 08 to Aug 1, 09), people thought we were nuts. And maybe we were. It wasn't easy explaining that we thought this was what God wanted us to do, to trust him completely, to meet amazing new people, to do something unconventional to bring him glory.
Ours was not as extreme as yours, but I strongly feel God telling us that the whole zoo thing was just to prepare us for something even more radical. We'll see!
Excited to follow along on your journey!
if we were only called to comfort, right?! i love that you're willing to listen even though it seems crazy from a worldly view. keep it up!
"We may have 5 reasons Give Every Day is a bad idea but, we also have at least 100 reasons why we need to do it." Totally agree.
We made life-changing decisions 3 years ago and walked away basically from all our earthly possessions, giving almost all of it away and sold the house, and gave alot of that away too. People thought we were crazy. Maybe we were. Maybe we weren't. We are still living our faith out daily, wondering where we will end up, what it might look like. There is very little I would go back and change (if anything) because through all the good/bad/ugly, we have become different people for which we are thankful. All of our children are seeing life differently too, than just living the status-quo.
I know it will all work out for you, and for us, and our walks with God are better for the journey.
"We walk by faith and not by sight. " One of our mantras.
Talk about counter-cultural! God always uses the foolish to confound the wise. There are always a million reasons not to do something but when God has called you out, you can't be stopped. Scripture is full of stories of God's faithfulness to the crazy person who heard from God (hello, Gideon! Peter! Paul!) and your story will be no different. So thankful to be praying alongside you and your family.
I loved this post! It's the "con" side of the "pros" and "cons" list that you made, and it's fun to see. I think this is closer to the life that God calls us all too- a life of risk, adventure, one that sometimes might not make sense to others. I think by taking these risks, moving into the unknown, having to rely so much on God- you make ROOM for Him to work- and it's awesome to watch Him do it. He's going to be providing in ways that are so obvious, and making impossible things happen for you guys. Can't wait to watch and see.
No matter what, God provides. Always. He would never call you to do something this drastic and then leave you hanging when it was over! He will provide everything you need for this adventure, and more. And your kids will get to live out a wonderful experience, and they will learn how to serve at a very young and influential age. I'm so excited for you all! This is going to touch so many lives!
I found this website by using search terms that I thought would connect me to others doing what we feel in our hearts we should do soon. I used "thought we were crazy, sold house, rv" :) My husband and I are 30 and 27 and we have a 5-yr-old daughter which we homeschool. We've gotten to the point where we don't want a big house, a bunch of stuff, and a tied-down, mundane life. We want more freedom and meaning in our lives.
We are trusting God to show us the purpose within our hearts' desires to make some big and unconventional changes/decisions. We know He will reveal His plan along the way as we walk by faith. We also are thinking about living in an rv (fifth wheel) for a while. Of course, God won't tell us much (and He's still working on our hearts to get us in perfect alignment with His will), so we'll have to see. :)