Lessons From Norman Part #4

Lessons From Norman Part #4

God’s Calling is Better Than Wealth With Regret.

By no means have Kayla and I ever been wealthy. So I’m not going to tell you a story about how I was rich, and I gave it all up to become an author and start this ministry. I still have debt collectors calling about old debts and we are trying to pay that stuff off. We are doing the best we can to be responsible with money while still being generous with what we have. At the end of the day, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table. That’s more than some people can say and I’m extremely blessed to have the opportunity to pursue God’s calling in my life full-time. 

It hasn’t always been that way though.

When we arrived in Norman, we had just left a failed church plant in Seattle. Kayla and I both felt defeated, and for a while we were just trying to re-adjust our life in a way that could work in our new environment. We both took the first job we could find and spent the next four and a half years grinding away to move up the societal ladder. Kayla has since found an occupation in student housing that she loves and I’m doing what I love as well. 

In the past five years I’ve worked mostly in outside sales and water restoration. I was always thankful to have a job, and I enjoyed being around people every day. I always looked for opportunities to share my faith at work and we have been a part of a couple churches as well. 
During my time in the restoration industry I was on call a lot and I slowly began drifting away from our church community. I told myself that it was okay because we felt a strong desire to become debt free, so extra hours were worth the lack of church participation. I quickly learned that I need community in my life to thrive as a Christian. I’m sure there are people reading this who disagree and I’m not going to argue, but for me, church is an excellent place to grow.

Even when I was succeeding and moving up in my company, there was always a nagging feeling that I was called to do more with my life than restore people’s houses. I didn’t want to wake up in thirty years and realize that I hadn’t done what I felt like God had called me to do. 

It’s really easy to get caught up when you are seeing the fruit of hard work and try to justify the life you’re living. There were a lot of times that I was even frustrated that other people were able to be content and happy living the “American Dream”. I’m not saying this to try to seem more holy than those people, but something inside me was never satisfied no matter what happened.
After about four years in the workforce I began drinking more often and got pretty depressed for about a year. (I haven’t shared this before, so it’s a bit uncomfortable.) I would like to say that I was drinking in a “healthy way” and not getting drunk, but that would be a lie. I played it off that way, but I was lying to myself by thinking it had no effect on me. I wasn’t getting plastered all the time, I didn’t become a raging alcoholic, and I wasn’t partying or cheating on Kayla. The best way that I can describe it is that I became absent. I went to work, came home, watched tv, had a few beers, went to sleep, then woke up and did it all over again. Throw in fun things on the weekend, church, and vacations and that about wrapped up my life. I showed up for life enough to get by and there were flashes of my Christian walk when I saw opportunities, but I didn’t feel whole.

I hope you can be mature enough to not look at the alcohol as the core problem. It was the surface evidence of the root of discontentment. I used it as an example that I wanted to take the edge off of a life I didn’t want to live. When I look back, I feel embarrassed. I’m so glad that Kayla was patient enough to have hope through it all that I wouldn’t just drift away in depression completely. She’s such a good woman. That year sucked! 

Last summer we took a vacation to L.A. and something happened. If you’ve read my book then you know the more detailed version, but for the sake of time, I’ll be brief in this blog.
Kayla and I went to the place where we had our first date and while we were there, I had a surreal moment while she was in the bathroom. I saw the man I had become, and I realized it wasn’t the one I told her I would be. I had given up on my dreams and replaced them with what I thought made other people happy. I broke down completely. Then she came out, and we talked and decided that we would find a way to follow our dreams. Whether it happened in a month or a year, we weren’t going to settle for a mediocre life.

I came home and began writing. After a year, Violet was born, and I was presented with a unique opportunity to write full-time and share the gospel more often. It was a little scary, but I took it. 
It hasn’t been super easy. I know you are supposed to pretend like you are successful in this business. You are supposed to “fake it till you make it” when it comes to book sales and marketing. The truth is, I’m not successful by most people’s standards. I haven’t even come close to my goals. My ministry didn’t blow up overnight. But I’m happy. I love getting to spend time with Violet every day. I love getting to share my story and encourage other people every week by challenging them to grow in their faith. 

Who knows if this will last forever? I’m going to continue writing and pursuing what I feel like God’s called me to do until it’s not financially possible anymore. Even if I end up going back to work, I’m going to continue being faithful with what God’s given me because the fruit isn’t just shown in the numbers. I have so much peace knowing that I’m not trying to be someone I’m not anymore. Life is good. 

Are you chasing your dreams? Have you given up to settle for the life that’s expected of you? Let me know what you think in the comments below. If there is any way that I can help or encourage you to fulfill your calling then email me and I’ll do my best. Love you guys! Don’t give up!