Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “How did I get here? I want to do something…. completely different!”
Back in 2010, my husband did exactly that. He had a pretty sweet Dad-gig as a software engineer in the city. Yes, he had a long commute and no, we didn't see him as much as we would have liked but overall life was good. We were in the prime of our life with a sweet daughter, an adventurous little son and a good-sized pay check. I was a stay-at-home-mom and we looked like the perfect family…
Then, when I was 7 months pregnant with Baby #3 my husband came home one night and said, “Do you know what I would really like to be doing with my life?”
(Ladies, if your husband ever comes home and asks you this question, be forewarned: He is about to turn your life upside down!)
What was I saying? Oh that's right… He said, “Do you know what I would really like to be doing with my life?”
“Be a software engineer?” I asked, hopefully.
“Be a farmer” said my sit-in-a-cubicle-all-day-husband.
Whoa. I did not see that one coming!
I'd like to tell you that I sweetly said, “Oh! What an excellent idea. Ok, let's do it!” But that wouldn't exactly be true. There was a serious crisis in our house that night. It involved a certain somebody yelling some phrases like:
“Normal People Don't Do This!”
“You've Lost Your Mind!”
“We're All Going to Starve To Death!”
I won't tell you who said such things, but I will tell you that Papa the Farmer just laughed at me and said, “We won't starve to death because we'll be growing our own food.” He'd been thinking about it for a long time. Software was wonderful for him to do for a season, but my husband was ready to live the life that God had called him to live. And that life had nothing to do with software.
I could either fight it, or I could get on board and be his helpmeet and encourager.
Friends, are you living the life you were called to live? Or are you stuck in a rut… afraid to change gears… afraid to move forward… afraid of the unknown?
We can't lead our life based on our fears. For the next few years 2 Timothy 1:7 became my life verse: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
We went ahead and started tilling up our 5-acre yard, turning it into a farm. On that first day we all went outside together. Even the children had little tools and were doing their best to “help.” I was still hoping this whole farming-notion would be a passing phase, but at the end of the day I had to admit it had been a good day. I thought, “Wow. One day we will look back on these days and think, ‘Wasn't it great? The children were little and we were all together. Those sure were the good old days.'” That's when it hit me… We are living “The Good Old Days” right now! So we called our farm The Good Old Days Farm.
Still, leaving coporate America was not an easy step to take. We had a 75% paycut that first year (Ouch!), a steep learning curve… not to mention everybody thought we were crazy. Then something interesting started to happen. I started to meet women whose eyes would light up with sparkle and shine when they heard what my husband was doing. “I wish my husband would quit his job to start a farm!” they'd exclaim with delight.
And I would think to myself, “Oh no you don't! This is HARD. This is not fun at all!”
But we kept working and bit by bit, we began making progress.
Are you thinking about making a big change in your life? Here are 5 guidelines to help you take the leap!
1. Don't wait for the perfect time. There is no perfect time. If you wait for the perfect time to come along, you'll never do it.
2. Don't feel overwhelmed about the learning curve. There will always be something to learn. There will always be people who know more than you do about any given topic, so don't let that intimidate you! Two years ago I didn't know anything about blogging but I found a mentor who was willing to guide me. I spend the next two years reading everything I could about social media, blogging, web design and development… I signed up for courses in nutrition, natural medicine and herbs. Meanwhile my husband read about farming, farming, farming! There's still a lot I don't know, but I have skills now that I didn't have two years ago.
3. Don't worry about the people around you asking if you've lost your mind. Every new invention was once thought to be “crazy” by somebody. That's just the nature of progress. If the Wright Brothers or Henry Ford had let the nay-sayers discourage them, we'd all still be walking everywhere we go. When people think you're crazy, they really just mean “different”… and different is good!
4. Start with what you've got. Even if it's not perfect. You can always change it later. Just get going.
5. You can live on a lot less than you think. Times of transition often involve financial challenges. So much of what we think is a “need” is actually a “want.” During our first year of farming we had to scale our lifestyle way, way, way, way, way back… Writing a budget and knowing where your money is going is one key to being financially successful. The other key is to be content with what you have and understand that not everything that is marketed to us as a “need” is in fact… a need.
6. Know when to work and know when to rest. The difference between successful people and dreamers is nothing more than hard work and lots of it! But there is a time to rest, too. When you're first starting a new business or a new project it is easy to be so focused that we become unbalanced. Did you know that God gave us the secret to a balanced life in the 10 Commandments:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. – Exodus 20:8-11
Now, what's holding you back from living your calling? If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be? Leave me a note in the comments!