Maybe slightly crazy?
2.5 years ago we started a journey of faith, cutting David’s day job down to part time. (for 5 years before that we were living more in hope, preparation, and survival mode…) Then 1 year ago we made a decision that we knew would catapult us into a leap of faith which we definitely didn’t feel at all ready for. (which I guess is kind of the point 🙂 )
So for this year we’ve basically been living with a steady income of around $300/month.
WHY?! you might ask? (and believe me, we’ve asked, too)
How it breaks down:
First of all, thus far we don’t pay ourselves out of our business on a regular basis because we are usually putting that money right back into equipment and such. And honestly, this year we have had little to no time to do very many new projects, let alone plug or advertise the business like would normally seem to make sense in a first year of total self-employment… (for our entire design career we have operated solely on a word-of-mouth basis because the other things we were involved in didn’t leave us enough time to do more than the work that was already coming in) But secondly, a big part of the trip we took this summer was funded by the client projects we did have time to take on, so we didn’t really see any of that money.
This year has been spent catching up, developing our systems of working together (including changing our business philosophy which is still in progress), establishing our personal “brand” of sorts, prepping and traveling for 5.5 of the months (including developing a whole new encouragement hobby of sorts) and coming back home to reorganize, and diving into our first more official year of homeschooling, all while doing the normal everyday things that everyone has to do, which is sometimes a full time job in itself!
Hopefully you can read between those lines to understand why it has been a bit of a crazy year.
The point is…
We have felt more than a little bit insane much of the time, questioning and second-guessing ourselves almost every day because for the 2.5 years that we’ve been living at a pretty low income (our average monthly income last year was $875) we haven’t had a ton of faith boosters.
Oh we most assuredly saw God working in our lives and in our hearts and we were blessed to see ways he had prepared us and provided for us in advance, but we definitely forgot long ago what it felt like to buy something without wondering how in the world that money was going to be replaced and when it was going to run out altogether. The couple of times that we’ve won giveaways (for example, to Target) have been real wow moments for us 🙂
We have just been moving forward, one day at a time, in the direction we felt we were to go, remaining open to whatever God might have for us – including if that meant going back to a non-self-employed state at some point. Obviously we hoped that would not be the case, but it certainly wasn’t out of the question…
When faith wavers…
I would like to note that as the provider for our family David most definitely felt the pressure of all of this more than I did, but in turn the pressure then fell on me to be the encourager. If I had a $1 for every faith-building, truth-speaking pep talk I’ve had to give during our 8.5 years of marriage… but the reality is, not many weeks ago I was at the end of my pep talks.
We had a really big bill that we didn’t feel like we could afford to pay (not paying basically just meant cancelling the service), and I really didn’t know anymore. I was tired of saying the same things over and over. I didn’t have anything encouraging to say, and I couldn’t be strong for him.
He got mad at me for not wanting to talk about it and hash it out again, but I honestly couldn’t. I couldn’t allow myself to go into that conversation because I knew with the way I was feeling my last ray of hope would likely be swallowed up by the “what are we going to do?!” question which had no immediate answer. I only knew what we had to do today, one day at a time…
But somehow, in a way that makes me question if my faith all these years was more of a curse than a blessing (LOL), God finally did a work in David’s heart that brought him to a place of peace.
Nothing actually changed. We were still living one day at a time doing what we needed to do for our clients, for our children, for our church. And we still didn’t know how God was really going to provide for us. But David had peace and could trust. And that made all the difference.
When new hope sprouts…
This week a number of exciting things have started to happen, one of which was a meeting with a potential “bread and butter” type of client yesterday. For those unfamiliar with that term, it basically means that we might actually have a long term, steady income to pay our basic expenses! One of the awesome things about it is that he is a like-minded individual, very entrepreneurial. We don’t know how everything will work out for sure yet – it almost feels too good to be true – but we remain cautiously optimistic 🙂 At the very least it is a big faith boost because there is immediate work and some compensation involved. There are a few other things that give us reason for hope as well.
Which brings me to “I Now Understand Why People Self-Sabotage”.
THIS IS A REALLY WEIRD FEELING!!!
I mean, I’m out of my comfort zone in a whole new way… I don’t know HOW to feel. After being used to skimping and cutting back as much as we could think of for so long, it is so weird to even think about being comfortable buying more healthy food again, for example. (there’s been a little more Ramen and bean soup in this house than we would choose – and yes, that’s two separate meals, btw)
Truth be told, since the birth of the vision that God gave us over 7 years ago, it’s felt like a pretty long journey moving forward one very little step at a time, waiting for his timing, to arrive at… who really knew what???!
So the reality is that we really, REALLY don’t know how to handle progress, and potentially, “success”! It’s like what are we doing?! Can we really do this?! Who are WE to be so blessed??? What if _____, ________, or _________?! It would be easy to get overwhelmed just thinking about it, or want to just hide. This is still going to be so much work!!!
Don’t get me wrong, we’re nowhere close to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or anything, in fact it feels weird to even post this because the only thing that has really changed is a new possibility. It’s just the very thought of progress and things actually maybe really working that is sending me into a tailspin of wide-eyed wonder.
We got so used to choosing joy in the everyday that we kind of don’t know what to do with actual excitement and giddy good moods 🙂
And I just want to say, God, YOU ROCK SO HARD!!!
Can I get an Amen? 🙂