Sweaty hands type hesitant words. My desire in writing this is not to glorify me. For some, I know you’re going to feel that way no matter what I say, but just in case there is doubt for those that will believe me, I want to clear up I don’t really want to write this post.
When I woke up last Saturday morning to start my media week for Summer of 7 and wasn’t sure what to do with myself and I spent time with the Lord, He immediately knocked the wind out of me and told me I needed to quit my job. I have always wanted to stay home with my girls but have never felt released to do so. You’d think I’d feel some elation but all I felt was panic. How would we survive? As much as I respect my husband’s job, it would be very difficult to make all our current bills on its pay.
For the whole day I started running numbers in my head. I even made lists in my journal of bills that would need to go. After several hours, I handed my journal to Scott and he read where I thought God was leading me to quit. Scott has always said he’d support me if I were to quit but was never been keen on having to live extremely frugal. He didn’t have much of an initial reaction. We both spent the rest of the evening and night in deep thought about how we’d make it work. Saturday evening he talked about the extra jobs he could take. I felt horrible about giving up a well-paying job and then making him work even harder than he does.
On Sunday morning, Scott even told the kids. “Mommy might be quitting.” Surprisingly, the girls were not fans. Scott said later, “Maybe he wants to just see if we’re willing.” I agreed, but I was pretty clear on what he told me Saturday morning. It was clear-cut that I needed to quit. I continued to pray about it.
Sunday afternoon during my quiet time, God then clearly said “Amy, don’t do it.” After Scott’s comment, the story of Abraham and Isaac came to mind. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a test. Genesis 22:1 “Some time later God tested Abraham.” Just before Abraham took a knife to his son, God cried out, “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” So Abraham was tested to see if he truly feared God. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram in the thicket and sacrificed it in Isaac’s place. Genesis 22:25 says Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.
I’m not trying to say my story is like Abraham’s. Quitting my job is a far cry from sacrificing my children. However, the principle of that story was relatable. When I looked back in my journal, I saw the list of expenditures I identified as excess, things that we have just because we can. If forced, they are not necessary. I felt it was clear looking at those, that they were my ram. God had asked me to sacrifice my job, but only to test me and then point me to another sacrifice, one that would be an offering to say that the Lord provides.
So perhaps this sounds silly and not worth all this dramatic intro but today I called and suspended DirecTV. Yesterday we bought a HD antennae and Roku box so we would have basic channels, Netflix and HuluPlus. The hardware will be paid off within 3 months of what it would have taken to pay DirecTV. We’re paying $7.99 for HuluPlus monthly and then after that, we have a total monthly savings of about $55 a month.
We will be using that money to intentionally and automatically fund something for good.
Please hear that I’m not throwing that in anyone’s face. Hey, look what we’re doing! Look how bad all you cable subscribers are! It’s not my intent.
What I think God wants people to hear is there’s a different way.
Those things culture says you deserve, you must have, are required, are, in fact, not.
I asked God to please confirm our decision. Yesterday at church, the sermon was about how God’s blessing is not for us, but for us to be conduits of his blessings to reach the nations. How much more confirmation could I get?
Katrina and I met the first week in July and one of the things we talked about is believing we should find our “required operating expenses” and then be able to give generously above that. The linchpin is finding your required operating expenses. Is DirecTV required? Are weekly lattes required? Are two cars required? Is 2500 square feet required? The more we can reduce these operating expenses, the more we can give.
We’re still on that journey. I don’t claim to live this out perfectly by any means. In fact, I hate putting this out there because then I feel like I have an expectation out there to live a certain way. However, I believe through my week of media fast, God showed us this one operating expense that wasn’t required. There was a different way. A sacrificial way.
There’s a part of me that still screams that we work hard enough to deserve it. There’s a part of me that’s screaming that $50 a month isn’t going to make a difference.
Don’t let culture tell you differently, being a giving tree is painful. I am loving Jeff Goins’ brand new book Wrecked. He said if your giving feels good, you’re doing it wrong. I’m not elated about this sacrifice. I’m going to miss the DVR, Scott’s going to miss Megan Kelly on Fox News and the girls are already missing the Disney channel.
But it’s in these small decisions that change is made. The Lord is providing for someone or something and God is using us to be the giving tree. And for me, He provides life and purpose and thankfulness. Guess how much more thankful I feel for my job? Guess how much more I want to use what He gives for good? Guess how much more purpose my job has? Guess how much more we get to teach our kids about sacrifice and giving? Guess how much more time we’ve reclaimed from excess media?
The Lord provides. Indeed.
Jenny O. says
We disconnected cable almost two years ago, just to save money. It is AWESOME in so many ways. I spend a lot more time reading (and truthfully, more time on the internet. That part probably isn’t good.) We don’t veg out in front of the TV as much, and we really truly don’t miss it. I thought I would miss recording shows the most, but it also hasn’t been a huge deal. If I miss an episode of something, life goes on.
We originally used a Roku and could watch basic TV and netflix only. Now we have the TV screen connected to a computer so we can navigate to network websites to watch some shows. (Windows Media Center is what we mainly use.)
Anyway, just wanted to share our experience. I enjoy seeing cable tv now and then (like when we were on vacation) but we don’t miss it at all once we get home. The $70 we save each month is wonderful. The only downside I’ve found is that I am constantly telling people “We don’t have cable” because they ask me about certain shows or commercials. I always feel like I’m being pretentious when I say that, as though we don’t have cable for some lofty reason. When really, I’m just being cheap. 🙂
I hope it’s an easy transition for you!
(Sorry to jump all over the “no cable” thing. I enjoyed the rest of the post as well, of course. )
In lots of ways, I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I am concerned a bit about the DVR but I know we’ll get used to it and like you said, it’s not a huge deal and life goes on.
I’m curious whether we will use the Roku box or not. I think we will for Hulu more than Netflix as the kids are the Netflix lovers more than us.
I definitely think a lot of people do this purely for the cost and I think that’s great! I think it really challenges big companies like DirecTV to think differently about how they are providing cable.
WOW! That quote fro Jeff Goins is a tough pill to swallow. I am looking forward to reading his book when it arrives next week. Sacrifice…it is hard. Talking about it is hard as well. Christians should not want to be “noticed” for their sacrifices, yet sometimes we need to share so we can give the glory to God and maybe encourage someone else to see that we can make them. My hubby has been the sole bread winner of our family since the day we were married 23+ years ago. He has made so many sacrifices for our family so that I could stay home with them. I am not looking for applause or accolades. Just sharing that so that someone out there might be blessed to know it can be done. He wants a willing heart. As much as one might need to be willing to give up working outside of the home, another might need to be willing to go to work outside of the home. One family gives up cable, another gives up a second car…you see it is all in the willingness of the heart and the sacrifice of time spent listening to what He may be calling you to do!
Thanks for the reminder I needed to evaluate my giving. Most times it is of little significance to me :0(. Other times I excuse myself out of giving. I am def in need of His work on my heart!
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Thank you…yes…I do feel like we can be an encouragement to other believers. God knows why we share some things and others not. I think it’s great you’ve been at home with your kids. Thankfully God has worked my job out so I work from home 90% of the time. I feel like I get a little of both worlds!
Thank you for sharing this. I can relate in so many ways and know the struggle between sharing and keeping it private. Thank you for sharing. It’s an encouragement to me and I’m sure many others. A year ago, God asked us to sell our house. After lots of lists like yours, we went for it and I secretly hoped for a while that it wouldn’t sell and it would be an Abraham-moment, but it wasn’t. Today, my family of 5 is living with my parents while we wait to fix up our “new” home – a short sale and significantly less money than our last home. We are already seeing so much joy in this decision as we are able to give more and enjoy deeper community.
It’s not about your or my personal stories, it’s about the freeing joy in Christ that comes through the sacrifices — and that’s the part that I want to share with everyone!
Kelly, thank you for your encouragement! I love that you are already finding joy in your decision. God asks us to sacrifice and it feels on the outset like it’s going to be painful and for a time it is, but the joy that follows is always worth it! He provides, just not in the way the world thinks he will!
I think this is beautiful. It made me choked up. I LOVE how faithful you are, Amy! You are SUCH a dream-builder. I would never hesitiate to come to you with a crazy idea God put in my head because I know you would support me. How wonderful for your girls and husband to have you in their lives!
Liz, you have no idea what an encouragement you are to me. I always know when I have these crazy posts you are the first that will support me. Thank you, friend!
What a wonderful post Amy, you know.. all God ever ask of us, is to have a willing heart. Willing to follow Him …To God Be the Glory…All Praise to Him. It is amazing to watch the Lord working and using you to help others.
Mike Wallace was at church Sunday night, and one of the things he said has really been on my heart. It is not only in our homes but in our churches also. Why have the modern church the updated pews or chairs, nice place to worship with adequate heat and air, why does God’s children think they always have to have the best and latest things that the world offers, when we have so many people in our world in our state in our town of Fort Mill that goes to bed each night hungry and some do not even have a place to call home. I think we are all missing the boat, in our homes, and in our churches trying to please the crowd or keep up with the world. When all God ask of us is to be good stewards of what he has given us. How do we do that simlply by helping others. Ater he said that I did not feel comfortable sitting in church with the cool air, and comfortable seating, carpet on the floors, when our world needs so much more. They need to see God’s children at Work for the Lord. We are His hands and His feet, His word living in and thru us, but are we showing it, are we doing it. God tells us to take care of our widows and orphans and relatives, he tells us to never turn our backs on them. If we are to truely recieve the blessings God has in store for us, we all should follow His Commands. Thank you again for sharing your heart, and what God has shown you with us.
This is such a difficult topic because as a church, we want to be salty to the world and attract people but at the same time be good stewards of what he’s given us. Just like we have to at home, the church needs to decide at some point on “enough” and then give after that. We have to be diligent about seeking the Lord for what is enough. In my experience, that “enough” keeps being stripped down. Less of me and more of Him!
As for the deeper message. Mine was job related as well. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to quit my job sooner then I did. When I got “the notice” to quit I was soooo reluctant. Why would I quit? I loved my job. But the people (boss #2)was sucking the life out of me and it was affecting everything! So I asked- WHEN? My husband kept telling I could quit whenever (we don’t have kids yet)but we wanted to move. So I filled in the answer “June”. NOPE- wrong answer. I ended up quitting in mid May because I did want to leave on good terms. Then I was SURE I should have quit waaaaaay earlier. I miss it, but I don’t. Right now I am a stay at home wife with no kiddos. Weird, awkward… so judged. But I know right now- it’s what I’m supposed to do-and also get the house ready to sell next spring, a list a mile long!
Yeah- once our TiVo subscription is up we are DONE with Cable, sadly we use Netflix through our TiVo more than “TiVo”… lol We’ll probably get a Roku and do the Hulu/Netflix thing.
This will be fast since I’m terrible texting on the phone but go read the provision story ” I Love Ram” at my blog.
Here’s the link for people. http://www.thepoorganiclife.com/i-love-ram
Oh my word! God is so flippin cool. Just left a comment over at your place too…