I was troubled, even perplexed, when we relocated to Johannesburg this time ‘round. I had made it clear to my family that this move was propelled by the need to increase our household income, become debt free (even though this seemed like a forever mission) and if there’s time, to enjoy life.
With this in mind I arrived and worked in Joburg and my family followed months later in time for our boys, Zach and Eli, to start a new school year at a new school.
Well, this troubled emotion did not go away – it became more intense. See, back in Port Elizabeth where we were surrounded by family and friends, walking in what I believed to be life-purpose, was more do’able.
It seemed reasonably attainable.
It was – – more now.
But in my mind I knew this was practically difficult on a reasonable income in Port Elizabeth (coupled with a debt-noose tied to my neck).
Let me provide further context: So many times in life when life is real tough, we tend to forget about the brighter future we’ve hoped for (when it wasn’t as tough). We often, unknowingly postpone working on our dreams. We are absent from living in the now. The current circumstances derail us from making the most of every opportunity, day, relationship and resource.
Problems paralyse us – In our thinking. In our doing. In our everything.
On one particular day in Joburg, with this troubled feeling meandering in my mind, I remembered a piece I had read in the Bible many, many moons ago. This piece stood out and resounded in my heart as if I had just read it for the first time. This is an extract thereof:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
Immediately after re-reading this a confidence and hope rose in my heart. See, when we are surrounded and engaged in life’s challenges long enough, we are able to lose our focus in this mental and emotional quagmire and thereby lose sight of the purpose for our lives – that which we believe to be what we suppose to do.
As I continued pondering on these words in Jeremiah, it felt as if a light had broken through in my heart. With this new found confidence and hope, I thought about my circumstances and told myself: God’s Got This!
Ever since that moment I’ve had an overwhelming confidence and knowing about this statement: God’s Got This! To me it meant I need not be bothered, stressed nor wonder when financial freedom would come, when walking in purpose would prevail and how living in Joburg would make more sense than just earning a salary.
For once I had peace about my future and that of my family.
I had become fully persuaded, as the song writer says “that whatever my lot, God has taught me to say – ‘It is well with my soul’ ”
As days and months passed I journey with this confident, re-assurance in my heart and mind. I would at times encourage colleagues and friends with these same words, having full assurance that God knows, He sees, and He is able to respond appropriately.
In days to come we had to relocate from the rented place we occupied to another rented place within Johannesburg, all in an attempt to cut living expenses. For my wife and I, this was going to be our 17th move in 12 years of marriage (this is a story for another day). Now, whenever we moved house, we would never pin family photo’s and nice things on walls because “it was not our place”. We were not prepared to incur the cost of repainting walls whilst we knew it would only last for a year or two until we move again. Some of our belongings remained in boxes and we would cart it along, from house to house. You may be reading this and can totally relate. Never would we get to a place of settling down, putting semi-permanent fixtures up and living our best lives in the abode we found ourselves until now.
This time around and after our 17th move, I told my family: “enough of this temporary living”.
We will LIVE here.
We will put up pictures HERE (as insignificant and costly as it may be).
We will make great memories HERE.
We will not tarry. Wonder. Wish we were better off.
We will make the most of every day. NOW.
We will live!
“Build houses…. settle down…. Plant gardens… eat… produce…” – the words of Jeremiah had all become very real to us; it became doing words to me and I had every intention to implement it. I was no longer prepared to wish on a falling star without living each day. Friends, lets not get lost in that wishful life… or maybe it was only me.
Life is here now, and it needs to be lived now… irrespective of the perceived mess we find ourselves in today. We should not be postponing our happiness for a better day.
And as we journeyed along, little did I know that during this time of living on purpose, my HOPE was being ANCHORED for a time when my boat would be rocked. A time of testing; yet also a time of favour and propelling in purpose.
A bit later in that same chapter, after Jeremiah encouraged the people to settle and build, and despite them being in a foreign country (not home), he provides the following comforting words to them, as if God himself was speaking on that day:
“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Friends, let’s live this life now, despite our worst days, best victories and insurmountable challenges. Let’s not postpone it.
God’s Got This!