How Far Should a Leap of Faith Take Us?

Sunset for blog

What is faith?

That’s a question my writing colleague, Jennifer Haupt has been asking on her blog.

Jennifer says faith is “daring to do something, daring to believe, regardless of the consequences.”

My definition comes pretty close. For at least the past three years, faith has been about watching the signs and making moves I wouldn’t have ordinarily taken.

It was on faith that we made our move to The Little House.

Dale and I aren’t gamblers, well, good ones anyway. A couple of losses on bad investments and a couple more misses on what would have been homeruns in our younger years made us a little gun shy.

Even our one trip to Las Vegas remains the “trip from hell.” Nothing went right from the moment we stepped off the plane, least of all the gambling part.

So when Dale came home from work on Friday and told me that for the second time in as many years he had been pulled aside by his bosses and told he was being laid off due to the economy, I began to do more thinking on faith.

In the past two years we’ve weathered (pun intended) the challenges such as the tornado that hit our area, the record flooding, and the devastating ice storm that left us without power for 8 days.

We handled our grief and guilt over the fact our two elderly cats just couldn’t handle the move and we lost them soon after.

We’ve tried to move past the fact my aunt’s husband got angry and has refused to speak to us for the past two years, making our isolation from family here seem even more pronounced, especially on the holidays.

We’ve even adapted to a life changing medical diagnosis.

I’ve even come to embrace John Lennon’s words in the song “Beautiful Boy.” Life is indeed what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. Not everything has went according to plan (well, almost nothing) and most of it has also presented new opportunity that we couldn’t have imagined. That’s part of Living Large.

So why is this job thing testing my faith?

Besides not being huge gamblers, we’re also not into drama. I enjoy things being on such an even keel that for the 17 years we lived in our house in the city, I only rearranged the furniture once. Prior to our move to The Little House, my biggest leap of faith was leaving the security of a 9-5 job for the life of a freelance writer.

So, leaving the community in which we grew up, a job that had provided for us for 23 years, and our friends and family was definitely a leap of faith.

We waited to take the leap until our house in the city had doubled in value. Even with my having a list of solid clients, our house sold and savings secure, Dale didn’t make his final move and resign from his job until he knew he had landed a position here (and his first job here did pay well above what he expected to make in this part of the country).

But then came 2008 and the economic meltdown.

There are the bumps in life and then there’s the great big craters that threatens your very existence.

For the past three years, we’ve toasted away the old year on New Year’s Eve, renewing my faith that we could have just one year to enjoy our new life here without the drama.

This year, I got to hold onto that hope for a mere 8 days.

Should faith be about “daring to do something, daring to believe, regardless of the consequences,” or is there a time when you should start considering the real consequences, and continuing to have faith just becomes fool-hearty?

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24 Responses

  1. Sandra says:

    Will say a pray for Dale to find a job. I know what you are going thru. Been there. Say a pray for us to sell our house. Want to move to Bull Shoals soon!

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to read about Dale’s job. I hope he finds something else soon. It’s scary, but you seem so resilient to me and you’ve already downsized your life so much that I think you’re going to find a way to make it. I’ll cross my fingers for you and I look forward to the post when you announce he found another job!

  3. Polly says:

    First of all, ugh, sorry you’re dealing with this. But I so appreciate your thoughts about faith and the questions you posed. Really enjoyed this post.

    I don’t think faith is ever foolish. I don’t think it’s ever a waste of time. But I also don’t think it means you sit around and wait for things to happen. I think faith is the belief that we don’t HAVE to have it all figured out. That there is a higher energy guiding us, whether we see it or not, and with faith, we don’t need as much courage because while the process is painful and hard, we trust that in the end we will end up where we are supposed to be. I think you can “dare to do believe” and still respond to the real consequences. I think too, that this isn’t always easy.

  4. Come on by my blog and grab your blog award. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and wanted to thank you for all your posts.

  5. Heather says:

    I am very sorry to hear this Kerri. My husband and I have been through this many times (3-4 times for him, once for me). I have heard it said that often these things present many new opportunities, such as starting your own business, etc. However, it is still very hard to go through. My husband ended up doing a complete career change and will be a journeyman carpenter (from doing chemical analysis) at the age of 47. He is the oldest in his class but he enjoys being around the younger fellows and does some mentoring.

    I am a planner by nature and would hit the financial books every time to see what we could cut out, once again. I always found something and it always worked out and God always provided for us. Try not to worry and enjoy the extra time you have together and take each day on its own for what it is.

    “… Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
    Hebrews 11:1

    Take care of yourselves. Heather

  6. Rae says:

    My mother-in-law used to tell us in times of immense stress that “everything happens for the best” (she and Voltaire). Oddly enough, looking back, because you don’t see it at the time, it turned out to be true. New opportunities almost always came out of disaster.

  7. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    Sorry to hear about Dale’s job loss. Hang in there. All the best.

  8. Susan says:

    Really sorry to hear about Dale’s job loss…but keep the faith. I pray something comes along soon for him. Our one son was out of work for almost a year with just odd jobs here and there. He is finally working fulltime….he made with the help of family but only because we offered help, he did not ask for it. Pride thing. He would just say “It is what it is” Fortunately he is not married or has any kids.
    Like the old saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” sometimes there is just not enough sugar. 😉
    Anyway my thoughts and prayers are with you and Dale

    Worry looks around
    Sorry looks back
    Faith looks up

  9. olivia says:

    Just wondering what your options are? That is: what are you considering . . .?

  10. Kathleen Winn says:

    Kerri- I am so sorry to hear about Dale’s job- that must be so disheartening. I will be keeping the two of you in my thoughts and hope that he finds something else soon.

    As for faith- even though I know that you gave up just about everything to make your move to the Little House- I think you did it on more than faith. You have never struck me as fool hardy, even when making a life- changing move that most people wouldn’t even consider.

    You and Dale spent many weekends and vacations at the Little House before moving there, so you at least knew that you loved the area and that it provided the peace and solitude necessary for feeding your writer’s soul. You planned and prepared financially by getting your house market- ready, then selling it at a good price. I know there must have been a million different decisions you made to get yourself and Dale in a good position before moving. I think faith is an important component- but only one of many necessary for leaping into the unknown.

    No matter how well thought out though, life does have that way of throwing ringers into our carefully constructed plans. But- it seems to me that your resilience, intelligence and determination have kept the two of you afloat for quite awhile now, and I have complete confidence that you will weather this latest storm with your usual style and grace. This terrible economy is hurting even people who have lived lives of caution and extremely conservative financial choices.

    Hang in there Kerri- your strength and faith have inspired me so much, but I know that your success as a writer has come from a much less abstract place- a place of hard work, determination and a strong spirit. You are your mother’s daughter.


    • kerri says:

      Thank you, Kathy. Your words are inspiring and you’re right, I am my mother’s daughter. However, there comes a time, a crossroads of the faith you’ve had in your dream when you have to take serious consideration of your future. That in addition to wrestling with your creditors on the basis of that faith. 🙂

  11. Alexandra says:

    Sorry to hear about Dale’s being laid off! This economy is so much worse than the press lets on. I like to think the trials and tribulations lead to something better, so I do not think you should look back with regret and need to keep the faith, although sometimes the by-ways are a lot longer than one could ever imagine.

  12. kerri says:

    Life does indeed take many turns. I’ve been reaching for so long, though, my arm is getting tired! 🙂

  13. Life takes many turns. When we are handed U-turns, we always hope to get passed by hanging on to faith that things will get better. Yes, we’ll always doubt. If we want to continue going upward, we reach for faith.