I don’t make enough money.
My wife makes no money.
We plan on intentionally keeping it that way, perhaps for all of 2023.
Cuz God said so. I think. I hope.
Oh, Lord, what the heck am I doing?!
The Source of the “WHAT?!”
My family is beginning a ridiculous act of faith, a chance for God to intervene and rescue to show off his amazing power…or for us to crash and burn under the weight of bad decisions.
Why would we do this?
That’s a long story, so I’ll summarize. My wife recently closed her home business after five years of agonizing labor. I’ll give more details in another post and link it here later, but while there was a lot of good in that endeavor, there was also a lot of trauma for my wife, and a lot of self-destruction that our modern hustle culture calls normal.
Mercifully, God saw this, and guided my wife out of the business. We closed this past December. But there’s a catch: I’m starting an internship. It’s paid, but not enough to support us and our two kids. She would have to get a job. Fair enough, right?
But then something happened. While praying with our church group, my wife asked for guidance in finding a new job. Then, a couple of our church friends said to her, “I think God wants you to dream bigger.”
Well, what does that mean? Long story short, when I looked at my wife, I realized she was more than tired. She is wounded, and has been unable to heal for years. She needs intensive spiritual therapy.
But she can’t. She has to suck it up work, right? I’m working and going to school because God said to, so I have no more wiggle room. It’s up to her to provide, right? Or, perhaps, she should rest, and I should essentially get a third job because that’s the responsible thing, right?
That’s when another voice started to whisper: what if God provided instead?
Dumb Theology (Or Brilliant, I Dunno…)
Yet again, I have to summarize months of talks, prayers, and pondering, so I apologize if this seems simplistic. Over the last months of 2022, we more and more felt God say I should work my insufficient job, my wife should not take a traditional job, and we should let God make up the difference.
Felt a bit of resistance to that idea? Sounds a bit lazy, even entitled? Yeah, I thought so, too. We can’t just drop our responsibilities and expect God to write us a blank check! The Bible regularly commends us to work, and work hard! (Proverbs 6:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).
But…but Jesus also took Peter and Andrew away from their jobs (Matthew 4:18-19)! Jesus got his funding from others, not a nine-to-five (Luke 8:1-3)! Elijah was fed by ravens, not a paycheck (1 King 17:2-6)!
So, like…which is it?!
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” meaning provision for material needs. So, there’s work to do, but God brings the provision. A job is a means, not an end.
And God has many, many means for those who do his work.
I loathe hustle culture. It says that if you want to make it good, you have to be constantly working at 150% capacity. It’s celebrated as a virtue in modern America. We celebrate a mentality that says, “You are only worth what you make, so go make more!”
But God knows we are more than work units for a hypercapitalist machine. We are to love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love others as ourselves.
That is why my wife is taking a break from work. Her heart, soul, mind, and strength have been ravished by hustle culture and trauma of her past. In order to love God and others, she must first heal. This is obvious in hospitals, but a mystery in churches. If you’re sick, you heal, and then you can work again. Body, heart, mind, or soul. Whatever’s broken must be healed.
Because healing matters. Healing is one of the great works of Christ. Not just provision of material needs, though he did this (Matthew 14:13-21, for example). He also met the needs of souls because our souls are important to God.
That’s why God tells us not to strive for coin (Matthew 6:25), because too much striving for too long shreds the soul. Our work is whatever God has us to do. Our provision is first and foremost up to God, not an employer, and certainly not us.
God called me to be a counselor. That means my year is crammed with schoolwork and internships, on top of being a good dad, husband, friend, and church member. And we believe God has called my wife to do the work of rest. I say “work of rest” because, in our modern hustle culture, we forget how to rest. We medicate with TV, food, and sex, but don’t actually restore. Rest is harder because it’s simpler, and our culture loathes simplicity.
I am against laziness. Laziness says, “You do the work, I’ll take the benefits.” In God, we do work. Hard work. And many times, that means late nights and weariness. But in Jesus Christ, work takes many forms: parenting, caretaking, homemaking, and yes, traditional employment. And in Jesus Christ, we find the rest we need when we need it, not when we’re financially secure enough to “deserve” it.
Come With Me
I’m writing all this because I hope to chronicle our adventures in 2023. God has called us to a different year, where the financial math doesn’t make sense, but you know what? We’ve done it before. More than once, God called us to financial decisions that would make Dave Ramsey scream.
But that’s God: the untamable lion who’s big enough to provide, and wise enough to guide. We’re following him on a new path, a new way, a way of simplicity. Next year may look more “normal,” when I graduate and can get a traditional job that pays the bills. But this, too, is God’s work, and will come in God’s time.
It’s scary looking at your savings account and going, “Uh, where’s the rest?” But after the hellscape that was 2022, I now know that God has a million means of provision, from random miracles to sales of my new book. We will not be lazy, but we will not try to do what only God can do.
And hey…if you’re sick of the grind, and you feel God is calling you to something bigger, to a place of terror and danger where only He can save you…come with me. We’ll help each other keep the faith.
Here’s to the new way.