Are You Running Away or Are You Stepping Into God's Plan For You?
When we were making the decision to move to Alaska – deciding whether to take that huge step or not – I often wondered: Are we running away?
I didn't want that to be the reason we were moving. I always felt like our move back to Colorado after being in Virginia for such a short amount of time was like running away. We couldn't handle the high cost of living when we were barely making anything as it was. But people manage. They work themselves up into better paying jobs or they take on a second job to help pay the bills, right? We could have made it work if we had really set our minds to it. If we had worked even harder than we already had – boy, we really tried. At the time though we only had two close friends, none of our family lived there, and the fast-paced environment was hard to embrace. We were out there on our own, thinking about starting a family and living the American dream. Did we really want to live so far from everyone?
The thing about Virginia was that we fell in love with the land and there seemed to be so much of it. We found a good church and a great pastor who married us and waived the church-use fee because we couldn't afford it.
We didn't understand it at the time, but God was with us when we were there. Somehow, we managed to have just enough money each month to pay the bills. Don't ask how we managed that!
Our decision to move back to Colorado was an easy one though. We just couldn't keep barely scraping by in a place that didn't really feel like home when it seemed every single month Harold's student loan interest rates were increasing.
The first two years back in Colorado were a little rocky, but then Harold got his first job in oil and gas and about a year later, I started working in oil and gas, too. I can't express enough how that changed our lives. We went from hopelessly in debt to finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Those variable interest rate loans… we could really get them paid off someday.
Are you familiar with the concept of the lower and upper stories? The lower story is the life we see ourselves going through, the surface. The upper story is the story that God sees. Each puzzle piece we see in the lower story is molded together in the upper story.
All of those years when we faced so many trials and challenges, we couldn't see how they could possibly be used for good. We didn't see the reasoning behind it. Why, God, are you putting us through this? Can't you see we are suffering? That's what we all ask, right?
God uses trials and challenges to prepare us for what lies ahead. Our experiences are what allows us to reach others in a way that impacts their lives. We cannot know how many lives we touch each and every day. All we can do is keep sharing our story and being the people God designed us to be.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that running away isn't necessary always different from God's plan. There are many bible stories that involve running away. Take for instance the Jacob and Esau story (Genesis 25-36). Think about how much good came out of Jacob's running away.
There's this perception that running away is a bad thing, but does that really matter when running away is God's plan?
In some ways, maybe our move to Alaska really does feel like running away. Running away from a big mortgage, a long commute, a stress-filled life. But who really wants those things anyway?
Even though we were near our families and we found an awesome church and great pastors and great friends in Colorado, Alaska feels like home to us. We've only been here since early October, but already we've found a new church, a new small group, and new friends.
It took a big step in faith to make our decision, but we don't doubt for a second that this was what God had in store for us. How will He use our rocky past and our strong faith to impact more lives? We might never know just how many people we help along the way, but God knows and He's got us covered.