Category Archives: Following His Lead

These posts talk about how I follow what I think God is telling me to do even when I can’t see the whole picture or know what the final outcome or goal is.

And So It Begins

4 years ago this week I walked away from every single ounce of financial security I had, to follow what I believed God was telling me to do. (Read more of the story here.) I didn’t have a safety net. I didn’t have a wealthy family to fall back on. Since I wasn’t married, there wasn’t another source of income to fall back on. I totally and completely left every single bit of security in the wind when I followed His direction. And I can tell you that I’ve never looked back and wondered if I made the right decision. I’ve had constant peace about my decision. Surprisingly, I’ve not had any financial struggles either!

Modern Day Noah captures my journey of taking a leap of faith when it made absolutely no earthly sense. By sharing my story, I hope to help others find the same connection with God so that they can live a more exciting, peaceful and purpose-driven life. A faith-centered life doesn’t mean you never have struggles, insecurities or doubts. It means that you know that you are safe in His arms. You realize that we are all here for a much bigger purpose than just an existence that is spent focusing on ourselves and getting through our daily struggles.

first-dayThis is a picture that my daughter took 4 years ago. It captures my first official day in my home office after leaving my full-time job after 27 years of service and just 3-1/2 years away from a robust early retirement – something I ended up giving up in order to follow God’s direction for my life. The reason I share this not-so-flattering picture with you is because I knew at that time (4 years ago) that God wanted me to share my story to inspire others (which of course is really His story lived out in my life), but I’ve let doubt, insecurities and overwhelm stifle me in that area – shockingly for 4 years!

Part of what has stopped me from doing this is that it is a bit awkward to feel like I’m bragging about what I did. I’ve struggled with how I can make sure that people understand even though the story is my story, it really isn’t about me at all. But rather it’s how God used me because I allowed Him too. The other thing that has stopped me from blogging is that I’ve never gotten around to writing the original Modern Day Noah book that was to chronicle my relationship with God and my big leap of faith in more detail.

This website was supposed to be the follow-up journey of a regular, everyday person that God used who still has daily struggles even after doing something so momentous for God. Because I didn’t write the book, I wasn’t clear about how I was supposed to use this blog. But then it occurred to me that I am living the everyday life with struggles after taking a huge leap of faith as I mentioned. There’s some value in sharing that. And since I’m struggling with how to use this blog, God wants me to just trust Him and start blogging. He will guide my words. I believe He has big plans to use my story to inspire others, give them hope and to bring them into a relationship with Him so he can bless their socks off too!

What I have known for quite some time, and what I always tell others, is that you’ve  just got to lean into the direction that you feel God is pulling you,  even when you don’t totally understand all of the details, the plan or what the desired outcome is. If I take small steps in the direction He is leading me, He will continue to show me the next steps. And so I begin today despite my hesitation, insecurities or lack of direction – because He has instructed me to do so. This is what actionable faith looks like. I hope you’ll make the decision to follow along with my journey so that you can see all of the amazing ways God will use you (and blow your mind as He does!) if you are open enough to let Him in and believe!

Tears of Joy!

Last week I traveled 4 hours away to help a client of mine that had moved out of the area a few years ago. Although she tried to find a professional organizer in her area to help her, the one she found was new and was just as overwhelmed with the situation as she was. So much so that she has since gone out of business. Unfortunately, there are no other professional organizers in her area, so she reached out to me for help. Her initial email to me said “I know it would be a lot to ask you to come and help me, but I’m fairly desperate and have lost all pride”. How do you say no to helping someone when they say something like that, no matter how far away they are?

Since she had only unpacked the essentials, and left everything else out in the garage when she moved in 3 years earlier, I knew we had to start in the garage. As with any organizing job, finding the place that “clogs” up the rest of the home and unclogging it is crucial. The garage took the longest amount of time to complete, but it was also one of the most rewarding spaces because of that. Now all of the stuff that was in her house that really should be in the garage was able to be filtered out into the garage zones once we had them established.

Garage-Before-After

Garage – Before & After

Next we moved on to the kitchen space, then the closets, the living room, the master bedroom/bath, the laundry room, the guest room and the home office. We worked for 6 straight days, all day long and got through the larger part of her home. Letting go of things you love or thought you might use someday is always difficult and that was no different for this client. But with each passing day, she gave up more and more. She even went back and let go of things she had decided to keep only the day before. I was so proud of her and all of the hard work she invested in this process.

Kitchen-Before-After

Kitchen – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

She had shared with me before I came that her master bedroom and bathroom were the areas that were bothering her the most. She couldn’t find peace anywhere in her home. She felt overwhelmed, stressed out and beat down – something I commonly hear from our clients. I knew the sense of relief she would feel when her master bedroom and bathroom were clutter-free and organized and so I didn’t let her see things changing as I was working. I wanted her to see it ONLY when those spaces were completed.

Once I had the areas organized, I let her look. Her mouth immediately fell open as she blurted out the words “I think I could cry”. With that, she threw the entire upper part of her body down onto her outstretched arms on the bathroom counter and began crying uncontrollably. I began crying. I knew how much relief I had brought to her life. I knew how long she had wanted that space back in control and peaceful. But her reaction was priceless and beautiful!

Bedroom-Before-After

Bedroom – Before & After

Once my client stopped crying, she stepped back and stared at me in disbelief and exclaimed “this is definitely your ministry, a life-changing ministry at that!”. I know it seems funny to most (and even to myself sometimes) to leave all of your financial security behind to follow what you believe God created you to do. But knowing you have the ability to use what you love doing to change people’s lives in such a dramatically positive way and choosing not to go for it makes absolutely less sense! 

Saying Thank You is so Simple

Are there people that you cherish and appreciate so much? Are there people that provide you with such excellent service that you never have to worry that they’ll do what they say they are going to do? What about the people that just show up and do exactly what they are expected to do? Do you notice these people’s actions?

What about the people that are supposed to be there in life for you and they are not? What about the contractor that you paid to make repairs who did a shoddy job? Or worse yet, took your money and ran with it? What about the person that cuts you off in traffic? Do you notice these people’s actions?

I’m going to wager that the majority of us notice the second set of examples more frequently than we do the first. We’re burning up the phone lines complaining (or blaring or horns!) when we feel like people have dropped the ball or treated us unfairly. But how often do we pick up the phone to tell a friend or family member how much they mean to us? What about calling to compliment the people or service providers that just show up and do what they have promised to do?

Thank you

I’ll admit, I’m the first one to call and complain if something goes wrong. But, I’m also the first one to call when something goes right. I notice and acknowledge whenever someone does a great job. Yesterday, I received yet another sales call on my business line. These calls drive me CRAZY and distract me from whatever I’m trying to focus on. And the caller is usually rude and sounds like a robot with a prerecorded message. While I used to automatically just hang up on these callers in the past, lately I have been trying to remind myself that they are just people doing their job. A job they probably hate, just like I was. So I’ve made a conscientious change and I now sit through their spiels and then I politely decline whatever it is they are selling. But back to the sales call I received yesterday. The woman that called was so polite and genuine that I was highly impressed. I still politely declined what she was selling, but then I took a moment to thank her for her great approach and told her how much I appreciated it.

Well, I’ve been prompted the last few days to call my trash company and tell them how much I appreciate the guys that take my yard waste. They show up every week just like they are supposed to. Usually they have come and gone before I even wake up. The times I have seen them taking the yard waste, they always pick up any grass that may have fallen out of a bag that ripped as they pick it up. It’s those little, thoughtful things that usually go unnoticed. I kept meaning to call but kept forgetting. When I was prompted out of nowhere again today to make the call, I knew I couldn’t put it off one more minute.

I’ve learned that when I am prompted like that to do something, especially over and over, there is a reason for it. And it’s my job to act on it. I’ve learned that in those instances, that is when God is speaking to me. Now, I don’t know the first thing about the 2 guys that pick up my yard waste. But my sense is that one or both of them must be having a tough time right now or just need a little pick me up. I’ll never know how my phone call impacted their lives, or if it made a significant difference at all. But what I do know is that it was important that I make that call. Who can you call and thank today? What GOOD thing can you focus on today rather than focusing on a negative thing?

We’re Not Promised A Tomorrow

One of the biggest battles I had when it came to quitting my job was that I had already invested 26 year there and only had 3 1/2 years to go until I could retire with a great pension check coming in every month for the rest of my life. It seemed so foolish not to wait it out after sticking it out there as long as I already had. Nobody does that!

On top of that, I’ve always been a very responsible person that does what I need to do and what I am supposed to do without any regard to how I feel about it. I had two children that I had to support solely on my own and so there was no room for questioning whether to continue working there or not regardless of how miserable it made me. I considered myself a “lifer”, like a prison sentence.

But once I realized about 15 years ago that we were all put here for a reason, for a purpose that is much bigger than ourselves, I’ve had a different perception of life and what it is supposed to look like. And it’s made just doing life status quo much harder for me. For the first 25-30 years of my life I focused all of my energy on just merely surviving this thing they called life. I was so consumed by the hurt, pain and confusion from all of the injustices bestowed upon me in my early life that I couldn’t see or feel anything past that. I was doing life from a reactive place not a proactive place, from a victim mentality. I didn’t realize that we could create our own lives!

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As soon as I understood that we have the power to create the life we want to live, it was much harder to sit in a job that I detested. From the minute I opened the doors to my organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, and the phone started ringing off the hook, I’ve battled with staying where I was. Every time I would remind myself how lucky I was to have such a great job with wonderful benefits and I only had 3 1/2 more years to go, those thoughts were quickly met with thoughts of how I want to live my life now, not later. What if I didn’t live long enough to do it after I retired? We’re not promised a tomorrow. I knew with such a strong gut feeling that I didn’t want to leave this life without feeling like I had lived it to its fullest. I didn’t want to take a chance that tomorrow may never come.

I don’t mind working at all, I actually like it. So I knew that if I had to, I could always go back to working a “real job”. But I knew I had to take this leap of faith because I loved the feelings that helping others get organized gave me (in addition to what it gave them). I loved the satisfaction of knowing that I had made a positive difference in someone’s life and I loved encouraging people and reminding them of their greatness. I loved knowing that I was making a positive difference in the world in which I live, rather than merely surviving it. Life wasn’t meant to just survive, we are meant to thrive in it! That’s what I’d like to help more people understand earlier in life than I did so they can get to work living their life to the fullest!

Make Someone Happy

Top 5 Things I Did Before Taking the Leap

As you’ve learned through this blog, it took me a long, long time to follow God’s lead and quit my full time job. By quitting I gave up awesome medical, dental, vision and mental health insurance, my pension that I would have been able to draw in 3 1/2 years and a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck. Needless to say, I didn’t just run and take that leap of faith without some planning. Here are the top 5 things that I did to prepare:

Top 5 Things to Do

Prayer: I prayed the same prayer over and over for years. Through those prayers I believe that God slowly changed MY attitude and beliefs until I was finally convinced that this was His will and that I could do it. In my opinion, prayer doesn’t have to be perfectly scripted or said in a certain order or way. Prayer for me is just like having a conversation with God, a continual conversation regardless of where I am or what I am doing – driving, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, whatever.

Listen: Of equal importance to prayer is creating a quiet or still time so that you can hear what He has to say. For the greater part of my life, whenever I was in the car, the radio would be blasting the entire time. I had to have it on from the minute I got in the car, until the minute I got out. Not anymore. At least 50% of the time I’m driving, I drive without the radio on. It’s amazing what that quiet time will do for you. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your gut. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to what others say to you. So many times God speaks to us through others. Mostly I listened to the peace within me about the decision to leave.

Save: I saved enough money to pay an entire year’s worth of both my car and house payments. Those are the most important things and those are the things that would affect my credit if they weren’t paid. I realize the importance of impeccable credit and so I do my best to keep my financial affairs in order.

Got my finances in order:  I met with a financial adviser several times. It’s funny, she immediately said I should never leave my job. Five minutes into sharing my story with her of how God had been speaking to me, even she changed her tune. I refinanced my house with a lower interest rate, looked at all of my expenses and “cut the fat” as they say (turned off house phone, changed cable providers in order to drastically cut prices, etc). I made sure all of my debt was paid off other than my car and house.

Be proactive: Not only did I have anything and everything to do with my house and car checked over to be sure nothing was wrong with them, I did the same with me. I refilled as many prescriptions as many times as I could under my great insurance benefits before I left. I had a sleep study done. Had any dental work done that I needed. Went to each of my specialists and my regular doctor to make sure everything was going well with me physically.

By taking care of all of these details so carefully, I think I warded off a lot of problems and was well prepared for whatever or wherever this leap of faith would take me. So far, so good!