For the past several weeks, I’ve been recounting the bits and pieces that make up the story of why we moved to Tennessee. If you’ve been joining us in hopes of learning a concise answer to that question, I’m afraid you must be disappointed by now. In fact, if you’ve made it to this point without the slightest bit of frustration over the seemingly endless layers of ambiguity being unveiled week by week, you’re far more patient than we are.
If there could be a single theme throughout this story though, a one-word answer to encapsulate an otherwise painfully complex narrative, it would have to be uncertainty. Our tolerance for which was tested on an almost daily basis.
Upon opening up to the possibility of moving away from Nebraska, we were faced with question after question to which we did not have an answer. Would we be moving to a loft in California or a house in North Carolina? Or would we end up building that house in Nebraska where we would sit on the back porch and talk about that time we considered moving away?
All we really knew at this point was that out of the 50 states, only a handful were off the table (mostly just the other Midwestern states since we were either going to go with a significant change or stay close to home), and that we would most likely be making temporary living arrangements once 1644 was sold.
Not knowing when, where, or what would be called home next might sound exciting to some. And yes, there was certainly joy to be found in dreaming of the endless possibilities together. But it didn’t take long for the challenging aspect of said opportunity to reveal its unfavorable nature.
With 1644 officially on the market (May 5th, 2015), it began sinking in that our days of calling that 1200 square foot ranch ours were numbered. We hoped that it would sell fast, but not too fast. We had been working toward that day for months, so of course it felt like a huge accomplishment. And yet, at the same time it was bitter to face letting go of the life we had lived there. It was nerve-racking to release the last tangible piece of security we had. It was difficult to acknowledge the uncertainty about our future plans.
As I’ve mentioned before, there was a lot of hesitation on our part to admit to others that we didn’t know what we were doing next. We were convinced that everyone around us most likely thought we were being foolish. Incidentally, we feared that if they didn’t think we were foolish, surely it must have been because they believed that we thought pretty-darn-highly of ourselves – to think that we, of all people, could be used by God elsewhere.
The incessant wavering between two possible judgements revealed an ugly reality that the greatest obstacles we were facing were rooted in pride. Pride. I thought I knew myself pretty well, and with that understood my hang-ups. Stubbornness? Sure. Selfishness? Probably. Yet here I was, struggling to get over the fear of what other people might be thinking of us. Pride.
Identifying that hesitation played a critical role in moving beyond it. Silencing those prideful fears was a process that required continuous effort. In fact, even now when I sit down to write this story I get anxious about whether I’ll do a good enough job or what others will think. At the time that we were first learning to place obedience over opinions, I wrote a little more about what it looked like for us to ignore the worldly influences…
“The world around us is often so loud that we struggle to differentiate between the noise and the known. We are easily swayed by the drive to live up to the standards of others, and are convinced that if we lack any control, it must be because we are weak. We are foolish. We are careless. We are lazy…
The best way we know how to find that clarity is by silencing all the misleading outside pressures, and listening solely to what we know to be true. We call this process consulting our truths and it has become an almost daily operation.”
[Continue reading “Our Truths”.]
Getting past judgement was part one of the struggle. Part two was getting out of our own way.
As I stated in a previous entry about making plans, “We are so accustomed to doing, building, and achieving, that waiting, tearing down, and standing still are often the equivalent of misery.” [Continue reading “Making Plans and Setting Goals.] We live in a world that constantly bombards us with the message of empowerment and a lie that the pursuit of happiness is vital. Furthermore, we are conditioned to believe that success is measured by fame and fortune, or some combination of achieving the aforementioned desires.
As a result, we tend to think that peace of mind is more worthy than the character that is developed through adversity. We are convinced that perfection is a quality within reach for those who try hard enough. We are trained to make up our minds quickly in order that we might confidently take the next step.
What we often miss, however, is the opportunity for growth that occurs when we dwell in a place of uncertainty. It can be incredibly faith-building to move forward without all of the answers. When one by one we are required to make decisions, not because of how they lend support to our plan, but simply out of an obligation to do the next act of obedience.
A few weeks after listing the house, we received our first official offer. Twenty-nine days later, still filled with uncertainty about what was next, we prepared to sign a four month lease for a two-bedroom apartment across town
Kel was on his way out of the office to meet me so that we could sign the lease when he was pulled aside and given the news… he would have to give up the promotion he had received months prior.
Coming up, next week:
The Next Act of Obedience-
“With about two seconds to think about it and more unanswered questions than we’d had throughout the entire process, we did the only thing that we could make sense of…”
. . .
A little more about our experience selling 1644 and what it was like doing so without an agent. If you have plans to sell your own home or are curious about how this important step in our journey to relocating was also a huge blessing, I’ll see you back here on Friday.