What would you do differently if you stopped giving so much power to what people thought of you and your choices?
Take a moment to give it some serious thought.
I think it’s a good thing to give thought to how a bad choice may affect your character and witness to others, but I’m talking about good choices you know you need to make, but maybe are afraid to make.
You know those choices that scare you to even think about how good life could be if you’d just get up the courage to do them.
I’m going to tell you about a few choices I’ve made in my life that you may be contemplating, but are too afraid to act on. These choices are ones that have been the most difficult because they are not the norm in our society and they’ve made me feel like I don’t quite fit in with everyone else.
What I’ve learned from these choices is that I’m not called to fit in, I’m called to leadership. Being a leader often means doing what isn’t popular in order to encourage others to action. It means being to first of my peers to act on good choices despite my reservations or fears.
1. Submitting to My Husband
I’ve told of how I came to the realization of what Biblical submission was many times and shared how I thought it was for weak people.
I know exactly where I acquired that perspective and once I realized it was not accurate, I began educating myself on what true submission meant. Making the decision to submit to God first (because submission in marriage is his idea, not my husbands) and to my husband second was the scariest decision I ever made.
It’s not for the faint of heart because it requires giving up your own will for the will of another. I gave up my will to honor Gods instruction for marriage and I had to trust that my husband would not take advantage of that decision. When I made this choice I did not trust that my husband would do the right thing, but that didn’t matter because I trusted God. I studied scripture and prayed desperately before making this choice and God gave me a calmness about it that reassured me that I would be alright no matter what my husband did in response to my decision.
The miracle in our scenario is that God was also working in my husband helping him to discover how important his role was as leader and my role as helpmeet was to our family. God helped my husband grow in wisdom and he’s always done his best to honor my choice to submit.
2. Stay-At-Home Mom
Shortly before I made the choice to submit I became a stay at home mom. That may seem like nothing to some of you, but to an African-American woman who was raised in an environment that celebrates independence especially in women, this felt wrong. It felt like I was giving up.
Letting womankind down.
In my mind, giving up a career in lieu of being at home full time meant I lacked ambition, but that was so far from the truth.
Being at home with my husband and children gave me opportunities for connections I would have missed out on had I worked full time. It’s the multitude of little experiences that make up my children’s childhood that can never be recaptured once they’re gone. The million laughs, cuddles, bath times, tears, glances and touches have been so worth giving up my a career in this early days. Now that I’m a Professional Blogger and work from home I get to experience different memories with my teens and pre-teens.
I gave up a career in the early days, but the reward of being an at home mom was so worth it and God ended up creating the perfect career for me in the end.
3. Debt-Free Lifestyle
This choice was a no-brainer, but it was a struggle because while we’d bought into the idea of being debt free after listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, we we’re drowning in debt.
We had the debt accumulated from when we were a two income household. When we had two incomes the debt didn’t feel like such a burden, however once we reduced our income the debt began to suffocate us.
Debt afforded us a lifestyle we really couldn’t afford and then as soon as our income was adversely affected, we begin to realize the yoke debt had placed upon our lives.
Any household can lose an income at any time. We did by choice, but if you lost one income source unexpectedly would you be prepared?
When we mapped out our plan to get out of debt we began telling our closest friends and family about what helped us, but no one was interested. The were even less interested when they heard it meant giving up vacations and buying expensive gifts for a while.
In fact, our family acted like they felt sorry for us, yet we were excited to know that one day we’d owe no one anything.
Families who follow these steps for debt freedom and have an income of $100+ typically take 24 months to be consumer debt free and have 3-6 months of expenses saved. It took us twice that time because we only had one income. However, we stuck with it despite the sacrifices and strange looks from friends and family.
When we made a choice to stop doing what was considered normal of course we received push back. When we decided not to buy gifts at Christmas some felt like we weren’t celebrating Christmas. When we stopped buying gifts for the kids birthdays, people felt our children would be emotionally scarred.
We made a choice to do things differently with our finances for a short period of time so we can do things differently with our finances for the rest of our lives.
We don’t argue about money anymore, because we have a plan and are on the same page. We don’t have any debt except for our mortgage and are free to tell our money where to go versus working and having lenders and creditors control our money.
I call that winning!!
4. International Evangelism
One of the places we tell our money to go is to the mission field. When I read the Bible it tells me Christ following Christians have a responsibility to take care of widows, orphans and those who are in need.
The Bible has also commissioned me to share the gospel throughout the world. When I first read that years ago I had no idea how I was supposed to do that. The African-American churches I’d attended as a young adult did not talk about international evangelism or the international mission field, but when I later became a member of a predominantly Caucasion church they talked about planting churches on other continents and helping people in other countries.
When I made a choice to support missions, it was while we were in the process of funding our emergency fund. We didn’t have a whole lot of extra money and I wasn’t confident I could remain faithful to financially supporting missions. In my heart I was convicted, but in my pocketbook I was lacking. At this time God had created this career for me as Professional Blogger, but the pay schedule is not like a regular job so it was a bit tricker to budget.
I was still apprehensive about depending on blogging income for anything in our budget, but I made a commitment to God that I would take a portion of my income to support mission work so long as He blessed me to earn money.
That month I invested my first $38 to support a child through Compassion Ministries. We now support two children through the ministry and give a portion of our income to support families in the mission field that are members of our local church.
We hope to someday go into the mission field so our choice to be debt-free lines up with our choice to give to world wide evangelism. Being missionaries is not particularly important to most of our peers, but God has given us confidence to do things that are not considered normal to our friends and family.
In the last decade I’ve lived Romans 12:2 in regard to marriage, finance, parenting and relationship with others and it’s been the happiest decade of my life. I’m not concerned about what’s socially acceptable or what others might think about my choices.
Moving into the next decade I will build upon the lifestyle we’ve established without reservation.
If you have been struggling with any of these choices I’m here to support you. We are sisters in Christ and can provided encouragement for one another by sharing our stories and testimonies. Leave a comment below.