Risky Business

It’s late. Maybe it’s still February 26th? Maybe it’s the early morning hours of February 27th. I can’t remember. But I’m awake. Jackson is snoring next to me. Megan is tossing and turning in the next bed over.

What are we going to do? What am I doing? Am I stupid? Is this stupid? Is this genius? This is either the dumbest idea we’ve ever had or the best. Which is it? How will I know?

Just a few hours before I’d told our realtor that we needed to sleep on it before we finalized our offer. In this case, we needed to not sleep on it. Kristen and I chatted before bed and decided we were definitely not buying this house. But 400 miles away I knew Kristen laid awake asking herself the same questions. I needed to sleep. But we needed an answer.

So I texted a friend on the East Coast. And because he’s a good, trusted friend, who also apparently never sleeps, he texted me right back.

Should we go for it? Should we sell our house in San Diego and move our family to Mariposa County, California? A place we know nothing about. A place we hadn’t been able to visit for the past several years because of wildfire. Are we insane? How do we decide?

Over the next 30 minutes my friend helped me remember a lot about myself, my history, the ups and downs, the aspirations, my successes, and learnings from my failures. During that conversation a phrase stuck out to both Kristen and I, a phrase that’s helped shape the last 90 days of our lives: “Is the thing you’re going to do more fun than the thing you’re currently doing?”

For real. Stop what you are doing and think about a friend who you can text in the middle of the night and not only get a reply but get inspired by? Truly, I am a fortunate and blessed man to have friends like that. (And sorry, not sorry for waking him up.)

Is the thing you’re going to do more fun than the thing you’re currently doing?”

After a few hours of sleep, Kristen in our bedroom in San Diego and me in the Fairfield Inn in Oakhurst, California– we had clarity. We didn’t know all of the answers. We didn’t even know if our offer would be accepted. But we were going to take the risk because it was a risk worth taking. We were all in to make it happen even though we didn’t know for sure if we could make it happen. Why? Because taking the risk to offer would provide an answer. If it’s a no, it’s a no. If it’s a yes, it’s a yes. Only one way to find out.

And so we offered. It was an offer that was unrealistic but fair. After all, not only did we not have the money to buy this house, we hadn’t even begun to prepare to sell our house in San Diego. So we offered what we felt like we could offer and let the chips fall as they may.

Frankly, it was an offer that made the realtors wrinkle their noses.

To everyone’s surprise our offer was accepted.

And with that little risk we took the biggest risk of our lives. And, frankly, it’s both still a big risk and no risk at all. Why? Because… Jesus?

Betting on Yourself, Trusting in God

Not to sound like an old man but… since I was a teenager in the 1990s I’ve always felt strongly about betting on myself. You bet against me and I’ll bet on me all day, every day, and twice on Sunday.

Someone told me I wasn’t college material. I was. Someone told me I wasn’t fit for management. I was. Someone told me I wasn’t fit for full-time church ministry. I was. Someone told me I couldn’t start a successful business. I did. Lots of people told me I’d never raise a family or stay married or any of those things. Bet. I have two amazing adult children whom I adore and am so proud of the adults they are becoming, an incredible 11-year old who amazes me every day with his wit and charm, and this June 21st Kristen and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage. See ya haterz!

Betting on yourself is not antithetical to trusting in God. I love the story of Joseph in Genesis. Apparently, Moses did too since Joseph’s story is 15 chapters of the first book of the Pentateuch.

Modern evangelical subculture tells you to be meek, to not ruffle feathers, to not stick your neck out, to not take chances, to wait for doors to open, to wait your turn, to not be an individual.

Meh, that’s never been me.

But the story of Joseph is much the opposite. He’s bold enough, sure of himself enough, trusting in God enough– that his 10 older brothers faked his death and sold him to some passerby, and lived with that lie for decades while their dad continually mourned his death. And even after that happened to him Joseph still trusted in God… and himself!

All through his story you see, first a young man, and then later a fully adult man, trusting in his own abilities and talents to continue to dream, chase dreams, and even interpret dreams for others all while maintaining a steadfast trust that God is in whatever he’s in.

And so that’s the path I’m on. I don’t want my walk with Jesus to be like some megachurch person everyone points at as a role model. And I don’t want someone to put on my gravestone “Here lies Adam, he played it safe and still ended up here!”

I want to be like Joseph. I want to take risks, to bet on myself, to bet on my family… and to trust God that it’s all going to work out.

To me, that’s what faith looks like.

I’ll be totally transparent and admit that we don’t have some grandiose plan for this move. Yes, we sold a great house in San Diego that we loved and poured our lives into. Yes, we invested more than 10 years there, in our neighborhood, loving and leading the best we could.

But all the success we found in San Diego wasn’t meant to hold us back.

There’s something here for us that’s meant for us. We don’t know what it is yet but we know God’s in it. We aren’t afraid to chase these dreams and take this risk.

He hasn’t failed me yet.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

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