Look away from FEAR, past your OBSTACLES. Walk with CHRIST, in UNITY with others, and make a road that allows you to thrive in the SECURITY that demonstrates your hope is secure.
In our last article, we laid out examples and methods for stepping out into an alternative lifestyle, a variety of a parallel Christian society. These were tools that we used to successfully blaze a trail that is only beginning to be paved. We cannot be sure about you as the reader, but we were so content with mainstream American consumerism that we did not have the clarity to see that we only seemed to be fulfilled. Despite a myriad list of life struggles within this lifestyle, there was still this security that we now believe is lost to a growing number of us. This is the highs of our great culture and Western society, those that supported our empty pursuit of happiness. This is no longer the case, with a major factor being our head-first dive into ever more reliance on Big-Tech structures at the turn of the century.
We now stand with the old path pulled up from in front of our faces, barely able to comprehend this new reality. We know that we all feel this way and that the only way forward is to build a new road! One that has not been provided to us by previous generations. We need a new way that reminds us of something more traditional, one that is not dependent on the perverse modern machinations. We are in front of a new frontier map, one that has been charted by the hand of God! That surely sounds exciting and terrifying but we feel that after two years of turmoil and chaos, the time to act is now. After all,“if God is for us, who can be against us?” To stay ahead of the curve, and without corruption from the enemy, that old liar who will try to make this road in his image, we need to FOCUS.
Please indulge us for an initial example of the word “focus”. We once had a greyhound named “Budget”. Despite being a rescue from the tracks, our opinion was that he was by far the best dog ever. If you know anything about greyhounds, you know they had a strict upbringing and only allowed precise diets, exercise, and training. When we first adopted him, we were given warnings and instructions that he will not “act” like a dog, at least not at the beginning. We would have to train him on some basic concepts, such as going up and down a staircase and adapting to walking on hard surfaces. The bottom of his feet had barely touched anything harder than soft dirt his entire life. We needed to understand that no matter how long we own him, his previous conditioning would not change. He had been built for one purpose: to race.
In many ways, I could also state that he was the best cat ever. As large of a dog as he was, he would sleep ninety percent of the day. He would ask to go out, race around the backyard for 1-2 laps, do his business, only to return to his pillow sleep. After a time of acclimation with one another, we were amazed at how easy he was to train and shocked at how true it was that his training never went away. There were many times we were amused by him as it appeared he would become tripped up over the smallest concepts. To us, it appeared he was just a dumb dog and it made his personality seem lovingly dopey. As we were discussing this with a veterinarian one day, we were jokingly telling some stories of how he amused us. At the end of the stories, we said, “He can sometimes just be so dumb!” The veterinarian turned to us and said, “Not dumb… just, focused.”
We walked away from that conversation even more amused because of how true the statement seemed and just how silly that sounded to us. We had a “focused” dog. To this day, the idea makes us chuckle. But it could not have been more true. Budget had been trained so well that his entire life was devoid of so many little details we thought to be necessary. But for him, his life was concentrated. The entire outside world laughed at him because of how he acted, how he was different. But in his world, everything lined up to one purpose – to race to the end!
It’s so bizarre to think on it now, but we envied the simple resolve of that dog. He taught us a lot about the fixation on a goal. He knew little of FEAR, rarely became distracted with OBSTACLES, and walked with unrelenting confidence in those in charge of his life. After the tracks, he did struggle to be in UNITY with other animals, but we believed he thrived in the SECURITY we gave him to live a comfortable life. Let’s look at each of those statements as instructions for a new road and see if we can pave out some truths towards developing our path toward a better life.
STEP 1: Look away from FEAR
When it comes to laying the first bricks on your path, the view in front of you will most assuredly be the mountain of fears awaiting you. These are some of the worst ones that we had: What if Christianity is made illegal? What if they take my children away from us? What if we lose our job, our house? How will we survive?
These are just a few examples that paralyze many individuals. Whatever fears that cause you to freeze up have been crafted to inhibit you from moving forward. Satan has one purpose, and that is to devour you! You can make his job much easier by simply choosing to listen to the fears ahead of you and never stepping forward. It does take courage, boldness, and resiliency that must be unwavering. This is because what is at stake now is more important than giving these fears a home in your life. For far too long we have gazed upon the things that are temporary and must now focus on what God has in store for us. Now is the time to be released from them along with all of the emotions that come with their presence. For we have had the opportunity more than once to see God act in such a time. In 2018, we were living in Northern Texas, over 1,300 miles away from anything we knew to be “normal”.
Texas is a different type of “Southern” than we were used to. As “children of the South”, our lives were launched into an unknown land when we moved to Cowboy Country. This was surprising as we did not anticipate working through culture shock even though we were still in America! This had such a dramatic effect on us, that only 5 months after our move to Texas, we found ourselves moving back east. We quickly realized and humbly accepted we were not made for Texas! It’s not that we didn’t try, we embraced life in the vast land of cattle, horses, and cacti. We wore Cowboy hats and boots and even came to enjoy the lifestyle.
But circumstances dictated this land was not our home. Finding ourselves alone on the edge of where desert climate begins, Nathan had to drive almost two hours into the Dallas-Ft. Worth area each night to Uber passengers around the area while Kim spent each early morning teaching remotely. We were strangers in a strange land, and it was at that moment God decided it was time to bless us – which frightened us even more! We discovered that our youngest daughter Felicity was on her way, and we knew something had to change. We no longer could wait for an opportunity to arise. The previous year, Kim had been diagnosed with a slipped disc in her back. Our local doctor told us this would be a hard 9 months as the baby develops. It would be wise to be in a “comfortable” area where others could help when she was expected to become bedridden.
Night after night, Nathan drove around knocking on his car door asking God to open another one. His knuckles would sometimes become sore and red from the constant motion all through the night. The degree of desperation meant he would take that old verse literally and continue to knock. It was an odd situation because an answer came in a kind of “Abram” way. Late one hot summer July night, a strong desire came over Nathan. We knew we had to do something, but in the past, God had always shown us the path we were to walk. This time, it was clear that “Just Go” was the call. Nathan came home and told Kim, “I believe God is calling us to move. I’m not sure what that means, but I think we need to begin packing.” Unknown to Nathan, Kim had been praying and God had told her to pray for Nathan to “be a warrior and to make a move”. So, when Nathan told her how God was moving in his life, her only response was, “Let’s go.”
Within the next two weeks, Nathan took a trip to North Carolina, secured a rental home, and the family moved out of Texas. We had no prospects – only our virtual jobs, and no plans; just ambition and a whole mess of fear in front of us! Our thought process was that we could chauffeur or e-teach anywhere, only needing a car and wifi. But more importantly – we had GOD. For two months Nathan sought jobs in the new area until the opportunity revealed itself and it brought this chapter in our lives to a close. If we had never looked away from our fears, we would never have allowed God to move us. To this day it seemed like that season of our life was a dream, or nightmare, depending on how you look at it. But one thing was true – we had nothing but God at that moment. We had to hold onto Him as the world lost all sense of right and wrong.
STEP 2: Look past your OBSTACLES
During this season of moving, there were a million things in our way, and exactly 1,300 miles! But we were taught a short saying years ago, “Focus on the objective, not the obstacle.” We lived in a house too small for a growing family, located in a small area that was quickly turning into a ghost town. We barely saw one another because Nathan worked nights and Kim worked early mornings. As Nathan would come home from a shift, he would fall asleep just as Kim was waking up to teach. A true “ships passing in the night” scenario. In the late afternoon, the entire family had about two hours together before Nathan left again and could not be around for bedtime routines. Later it was discovered the kids were hit hard by this schedule with many nights having them cry softly in their beds while falling asleep. It was difficult not to be angry at God during that time because we felt Nathan was forced to walk away from the job that brought us to Texas to stay with the family. These are just a few of the concerns and problems that were directly in front of us daily. Yet, once the call to leave came in, every obstacle had to be placed to the side.
God’s plan for us did not include much foresight, we just had to trust Him in the moment. The present circumstances, whatever they were, had to be set aside. To move past the fears, you must concentrate on the objective, even when it might seem to be the craziest opportunity in front of you. I know it sounds contrary to the world, but God’s way is not man’s way and He is under no obligation to give us any opportunities – at all. But many times, God will give us more than we can handle. He does this because He wants to be a part of our lives! If we could handle every situation, why would we ever need Him?
The obstacles seem impossible to move because it takes the strength of God to move them! What he requires from us – He calls us to engage with Him on a specific path. To do that, we must lay these bricks without fear and with our sight fixed on Him. He has promised He will reveal His Plan in due time and it will be far better than anything you or I could imagine. Have you found yourself in a position where you are surrounded by obstacles and fears? Maybe this is your time, your opportunity, to build a new path. What circumstances have you found yourself in that are forcing you to make changes? We would love to hear your story. Follow along with us @gijoeguy and tell us!
In our next article, we will go through PART 2 of F.O.C.U.S. – where we look at three practical steps on building a new path:
STEP 3: Walking with Christ
STEP 4: Be in UNITY with others
STEP 5: Thrive in His SECURITY
Nathan and Kim Lawson are Lawsons on Purpose – a show produced and home on GABtv that walks through the life of the Lawson Family as they seek to work on projects all over the house and beyond! They also have begun to produce a new second show called “Fish Paper” – today’s news is tomorrow’s FISH PAPER. Both shows can be found on their GABtv Channel. Follow them at @gijoeguy