Posts Tagged ‘ leap of faith ’

Surviving a God-Nudged Leap of Faith

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Nine months.

In case you weren’t yet reading my blog back in December of 2010, my wife and I moved to Alabama to be close to family just a few weeks after our son Jack was born. Somewhere between being brave and outrageous, we made the move with no jobs lined up.  It took four months for me to find a job, only to have to move back to Nashville four months later because we couldn’t financially make things work.

I  especially remember those first couple of months while we were living off savings and no new income, praying to God, “I trust in You to provide for my family and when You do, I’ll make it obvious to everyone that it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with You.” After all, this was what we called our “God-nudged leap of faith,” trading in financial security in Nashville to be closer to family back in my hometown.

So surely God would make it possible for us to remain there. We had uprooted our lives and started over- for a very good cause with pure intentions and for the “right reasons.”

I admit it seemed at least a little bit ironic when after labeling our move as a “God-nudged leap of faith,” that we would just ultimately end up back in Nashville, having to start back over yet again.

But this week I started reading a book that helped me grasp a much clearer understanding of what really happened; why the move was so necessary for us and despite much confusion on our end, why it was what was supposed to happen.

In Peter Buffet’s book Life is What You Make It, he tells about a guy who changed his major nearly every semester in college: from engineering, to physics, to math, to art, to architecture, then finally, he realized his calling was to be an urban planner. Finally, he had found where he needed to be- but it took several “wrong turns” to get there.  It was a graduated learning process; a concept that sounds way too familiar to me.

I love the way Buffett sums it up:

“So– was this fellow “lost” during the years of his academic wanderings? Or was he following a path that was not yet visible but that was nonetheless leading him where he was meant to go?”

It would have been nice if we could have just already known what we know now; without sacrificing our savings, our jobs, and all the effort it took to move away from and then back to, so that we could learn A) how to manage our money much better, B) be much more thankful for the jobs we had to begin with, and C) that the city of Nashville needs our gifts and abilities more than any other city in the world right now.

Taking it a step further, Parents.com picked up my blog right in the middle of all this.  I take that to mean that another reason I was destined to experience all this was to use my gift of communication in order to share the story with others who need to hear it, from the perspective of a random, yet focused, guy like me.

So did my God-nudged leap of faith pan out in the end? Or did He leave me hanging? After all, he provided a job only long enough to survive for a few more months but not long enough to logically justify us moving there.

It’s clear to me now: The only way we could have learned what we needed to know was by following a path that was not yet visible but that was nonetheless leading us where we were meant to go.

Unexpected Bonus!

I am a huge fan of Peter Buffet’s New York Times best-seller, Life is What You Make It.  In fact, it’s the kind of book that I’m almost jealous of for not having written myself.  He thinks along the same patterns as I do.  That being said, today I am proudly giving away the book to one lucky reader.

Since there is only one copy for the book giveaway this time, I’m making it a bit more challenging than usual: Be the first person to leave a comment correctly telling me which Internet fad landed my son on the desk of late night talk show host of Conan O’Brien.  You have to also give me your mailing address either in the comment or send it to me via email: nickshell1983@hotmail.com.

(Every time I do a book giveaway there is at least one person who loses their gift to the next person because they don’t actually give me their mailing address.)

As for the rest of you who don’t actually win a free copy of Life is What You Make It, it is totally worth getting your hands on.  To further entice you, I want to share the names of the chapters of the book.  Again, I’m jealous- many of them would have made really good titles for Dadabase posts had I thought of them first!

1. Normal is what you’re used to

2. No one deserves anything

3. The myth of the level playing field

4. The (mixed) blessing of choice

5. The mystery of vocation

6. Buying time

7. Don’t just find your bliss- do your bliss

8. Portals of discovery

9. Be careful what you wish for…

10. What we mean when we say “success”

11. The perils of prosperity

12. The gentle art of giving back

“Peter Buffett has given us a wise and inspiring book that should be required reading for every young person seeking to find his or her place in the world, and for every family hoping to give its daughters and sons the best possible start in life.” –President Bill Clinton

“Knowing and admiring Peter as we do, this book captures his spirit, passion and values beautifully. As parents, it’s the kind of dialogue about our life’s purpose and opportunity we’re having with our children. We will have everyone in our family read and discuss the book.” —Bill & Melinda Gates

“With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom, Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living. Life Is What You Make It is thought-provoking, worthwhile reading.” —Ted Turner

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Clips Show: Looking Back

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Week 16.

What is a “clip show”, you ask? Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“A clip show is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes. Most clip shows feature the format of a frame story in which cast members recall past events from past installments of the show, depicted with a clip of the event presented as a flashback.”

Lifeway publishes a monthly magazine called “Homelife”.  In the March 2011 issue, there is an invitation for readers to submit a 600-word story telling how God is working in their own home life.  And they pay $75 for each submission that is printed.  So I thought I might as well throw this into the “dad from day one” canon in the event that “Homelife” magazine decides not to publish it.

This clip episode doesn’t reveal anything particularly new to regular readers of my blogs “dad from day one” or “God-Nudged Leap of Faith”, but I see how it could be a good thing for newer readers who are just now jumping in.  For some reason, over the past couple of weeks, I have been drawing in between 40 and 100 new “dad from day one” readers each day.  So to you new readers, now you can get a better background perspective.  And for my faithful readers of nearly one year of “dad from day one”, thank you for hanging around.

Here is the story I submitted to Lifeway’s “homelife” magazine today:

“God-Nudged Leap of Faith”

It would be one thing if my wife and I had lost our jobs.  That would make more sense to some people.  Instead, we actually chose to leave behind our enjoyable and financially stable jobs in Nashville to move to my small hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama.  Yes, in this economy, we did the unthinkable.  Oh, and I should mention, we moved only two weeks after our son was born.

Why?  I guess it boils down to the universally familiar concept that when people have a near death experience, their life flashes before their eyes.  I could look back on my life twenty years from now, feeling much more secure in my finances, but my kids would not grow up truly knowing their grandparents, aunts, and uncles the way they would if we all lived in the same city together.

So we took a God-nudged leap of faith.  Since our move three months ago, we have made full time jobs out of looking for full time jobs. Granted, we both have college degrees (my wife even has a Master’s), impressive resumes, solid experience, and great personalities; but we are either under-qualified or over-qualified for the few jobs available.

In this home life of ours, time is standing still as I watch a constant slideshow in mind of my past, present, and future.  I struggle daily not to play the “what if?” game.  But at this point, it is not about the decisions that led me to this difficult place.  It is about what God can do with this situation now and how He can be seen by others because of it.  Not to mention, I know that this event will either enhance my faith through discipline and patience, or it will cause me to foolishly put faith in men who may or may not provide a job for me.

Fortunately, it is not people who provide jobs anyway.  It is not them who help me provide for my family.  It is completely God.  That is something I have begun reminding myself daily.  And in the process, I have been directed to one of God’s Hebrew names: Jehovah Jireh.  It means “The Lord will provide.”  I have been getting into the habit of praying to Jehovah Jireh, as His name specifically declares His providence.

I am not hopeless.  Yet I will personally admit that as a man who is designed to care and provide for his family, not having a job though I am fully capable and qualified, is quickly taking away my dignity.  But really, is dignity what I am after? No.

Seeking after God and only trusting in Him, instead of men or corporations or even myself, is a humiliating process.  The word “humiliating” has such a negative connotation to it, yet being humbled (another form of the word “humility”) is a necessary process in order to mature. As for my pride- it is to be damned, literally.  It only gets in the way of what God can do.

In the mean time, I get to spend plenty of time with my wife and our new son. Not every new dad has that ability.  And since I happen to be the author of a baby blog called “dad from day one,” I catch every minute of my son’s amazing and hilarious new baby tricks, so I never run out of writing material.  You know, I can see already I am going to miss this stage of my life.

Thank God for the good times and for the bad.  Sometimes it is not until you look back on them both to know which was which.


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