It’s been an interesting walk of faith since I announced that my wife and I intend to move to San Francisco this January to take part in a church plant called Canvas. It’s no small task to move from one state to another. It’s not a small feat to move to the Bay Area – one of California’s most expensive zones. Nor is it anything short of a miracle to move to the Bay Area when you have close to no money.
That’s right. No money. We don’t even have a savings account because we don’t have any money to put in it. I say that jokingly because I’m not too bothered by it, but it is true that we don’t have a savings account because of lack of funds. It’s nearly humorous to watch our friends and family scratch their heads when they find out we’re moving to San Francisco. We get comments about the high cost of living, the questionable downtown area, or better yet, we just get people telling us it’s just not going to happen.
I look at the bright side – at least they have the courtesy to say it to our face.
Regardless of the minor opposition – trust me, I rarely make decisions that go with popular opinion, so I’m used to being criticized in this manner – my wife and I are still moving forward in our plans to move this January. Because see, it isn’t necessarily because we desire to move. It’s because we’re being called to move. Personally, and I think this is true of many people, the last thing I want to do is relocate. I’ve grown quite comfortable here in Arizona, even if I have wanted to move for some time because of the unbearable heat. No, we’re moving because we’re being called to move. God has spoken to us, told us to move, and so we’re moving.
But people – even me sometimes – tend to make things complicated and require God to supply all resources and miracles up front, before we’ll take even a step of faith in the direction we’re being called to. We make things even harder on ourselves when we automatically – by human nature, I figure – assume that God’s provision is always money, and when we don’t see that money, we assume God is not working or that He is not going to come through on his end. Money, money, money. Our entire culture centers around money. So when we say we’re being led somewhere by God, the first question is always: Can we afford that?
Where in the world did we ever get the idea that God can only fulfill His plans with our money? I learned long ago that God does use money to teach us valuable lessons. It is a tool, a resource, but if we rely on it too much, we’ll be stripped of it until all that’s left in our life is God. He is a jealous God, and He wants nothing to stand in the way of our obedience and devotion to Him.
In Philippians 4 verses 11 and 12, Paul makes a statement that he has learned how to be content in all situations, whether he has plenty or is in want.
For years now, my wife and I have been walking a treacherous, faith-filled, sometimes confusing journey – but the walk has been forcing us to grow closer to God, to each other, and to be refined of the characteristics and habits that have no place where we’re going. God has been preparing us for this move this whole time. We have truly learned to be content with plenty and while in want. We’ve had an $800 deficit in bills before and we’ve had $800 excess in funds. We’ve been at both sides of the scale, and we’ve seen God move in both and have learned to be thankful to God in both.
So when God calls us somewhere, my first anxiety shouldn’t be about how we’re going to afford it. God knows what the journey is going to cost before He even calls us to step foot on the path. Now God is calling us to move. And when God calls us to do something, He simply requires us to walk out a string of faith-induced steps to get to the destination/result.
Steps. Not miles. We’re not talking about instant potatoes. We’re talking about faith and life.
Our first step of faith was to sign a 6-month lease with this apartment complex. That puts us moving out in January. Signing a 6-month lease as opposed to a 12-month lease is costing us an extra $50/month each month of the lease. So if this wasn’t something that God called us to do, we’ll be out $300 by the end of the year for no reason at all. For us, that’s a lot of money.
Our second step of faith was to sell our second vehicle. Having a child, a wife that works on the other side of town, and only one vehicle has potential to be an inconvenience. Good thing inconvenience doesn’t determine the direction we’re going to head in.
Our third step of faith requires us to start getting rid of at least 1/2 of the stuff in this apartment. Bookshelves, desks, trinkets, knick-knacks. Anything that isn’t necessary for us to keep is leaving our sight in the next few months. And most of it isn’t going to be sold, it’s going to be given to those who have need of it.
Is this slightly scary? Yes. Have we seen God’s provision for our move yet? No. We’ve seen close to no movement on God’s part in the area of finances. And that’s okay, because God has called us, and we know that when He calls, He equips. He isn’t going to leave us in the dark, He isn’t going to wait until January 1st to tell us that we made a mistake stepping foot on this path months ago.
Instead of focusing on what hasn’t been provided to us yet, we’ll focus on taking these steps of faith toward the destination we’ve been called to.
San Francisco, here we come!