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.