Although a big part of what Modern Day Noah hopes to accomplish here is to capture all of the little ways that God does communicate with us to guide and direct us if we watch and listen for it. The story of Modern Day Noah is by far the most compelling and obvious way that He did that for me.
As I mentioned in Let’s Start at the Beginning, I was having so much fun helping others get organized, and I was feeling so fulfilled, that I decided to start my own professional organizing business even though I already had a full time job. Since I seem to thrive on helping people, my motivation behind starting the business was the thought that if I could help even one person a month, how cool would that be? Little did I know that God had much bigger plans for my business (and my life) than I could have ever imagined. My business phone began ringing right away and it has never stopped.
Within the first year of launching Simplified Living Solutions though, I had to start taking vacation days from my “real” job in order to keep up with the amount of work that was coming in to my organizing business. There seemed to be more work than I could handle almost from the beginning. This quickly became a huge challenge for me because I have a real weakness for helping people in need. I just can’t turn my back on anyone that needs help, even if it means jeopardizing my own health and needs to help them.
Within the first two years, I transferred to a second shift position at my “real” job. I knew the second shift duties would be much less demanding than what I had been doing at the company, so I looked at this change as a way to rest and have more downtime. At this point, I already had no social life and I was only sleeping a few hours at night trying to do both jobs and be a single parent. Since there was never any downtime to shop or cook, I began eating fast food for every meal. As the years progressed, the phone continued to ring and be more than I could handle alone. I had gained at least 50 pounds, had high blood pressure and a slew of other things that were sure signs that I was slowly killing myself. I knew something had to give!
Every time I would look at the reality of my situation, I would think “well the easiest solution would be to quit my organizing business. I don’t need to do this for the money. I already have a very good full time job that pays my bills, provides me with insurance and a great pension when I retire”. But there was absolutely nothing inside of me that said to quit my business. Through all of the years since starting my business, that was the one thing in my life that I had complete peace about. I leaned strongly on Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Through my short time of being a Christian I had come to realize that when you have that kind of peace about something, it is from God.
Having said that though, I had known for years that something had to change – something had to go. I knew I couldn’t quit my full time job because I was a single mother and it was a stable source of income that had provided well for me and my children for many, many years – and I had already invested 25 ½ years there towards my pension, with only 3 ½ years to go. I had always worked a 9-5 job and had always been paid weekly or bi-weekly, so not having that type of job seemed completely foreign to me. Plus my organizing business brought in about 1/6 of the income my full time job did and it didn’t provide me with any type of insurance. I had full medical, dental and vision coverage at my “real” full time job.
Knowing that I had complete peace about not closing my business, and yet knowing that I couldn’t quit my full time job, I began an almost constant daily prayer of asking God for His help and direction with this because I could truly see that I was literally killing myself. This constant prayer began about 2 years after I started my business. (I didn’t leave my “real” full time job for another 4-5 years.) I would talk to Him almost continually throughout the day, every day, begging Him to help me and tell me what to do.
After several years of repeating this prayer, I could sense that God was changing the way I thought about quitting my “real” job. What had originally been something I was completely sure could never happen, He had slowly been changing my mind to allow me to start looking at it as a possibility and like something He may perhaps want me to do. Although I realized on a spiritual level that following God’s direction and prompting was crucial, it just didn’t make any earthly sense to me.
My constant prayer and conversation with Him would always have the same vein and go something like this – “God, what should I do? I don’t know what to do. There is absolutely nothing within me that says to quit my organizing business. But it makes no earthly sense to quit my full time job. I love helping people. I love changing their lives for the better. I love that my life is making a positive difference in the lives of others. I love that you are using me as a vessel to help others and yet I am getting as much joy out of it as my clients are. I believe that when people step out in faith and follow your plans for their life, you will take care of them. But God the earthly reality of it all is that I still have to be able to pay my bills and have insurance. Please help me to know what it is that YOU want me to do!”
I’ll never, EVER forget this. It was October 10, 2011. I had started my day by attending a monthly meeting with a group of other professional organizers in my local area. Although I’ve always considered myself to be an easily excitable person, being around a group of like-minded people like that always pumped my excitement level up even more. This day was no different. By the time I left the meeting I was on cloud 9 but that excitement quickly began to fade as my thoughts turned to the full time job that I needed to start heading towards. Unfortunately, I hated my full time job and the toxic environment that came with it. As had become my daily routine, I would rush to get home, get changed, get some food and head to my “real” job. Just as would happen every day, when I took off my professional organizer hat and put on the hat for my full time job, I would get depressed and resentful.
Within minutes of leaving the meeting, I had already begun my constant conversation with God repeating the same prayers and cries for help that I had literally been saying continually for at least 3 years. Many times I would cry as I said these prayers and this day was no exception. I had about an hour car ride home from the meeting and I just said it over and over and over. About 40 minutes into my drive, as I started the same prayer again, “God, I don’t know what to do. Please help me. There is nothing within me that says to quit my organizing business and yet it makes no earthly sense to quit my full time job”. The millisecond I stopped that sentence God spoke to me. I heard His voice. It was as clear as day. He said “it didn’t make any earthly sense for Noah to build the ark either”. That was it. That was all he said. But oh my gosh, He didn’t need to say more. Those words were so powerful (imagine that!). Keep in mind that I wasn’t trying to think of scriptures in my head when I was praying. I had never compared the two lives (Noah’s & mine) before. This message was clearly a direct message from God to me that I was to quit my full time job even though it didn’t make any earthly sense. I was never so elated or so nervous in my whole entire life.
As the day progressed, I began comparing my story with Noah’s story and realized that I was being asked to be a Modern version of Noah, a Modern Day Noah. That was the day Modern Day Noah and this concept was born. That was the day that I knew with 100% certainty what God wanted me to do. I’m not going to lie, I challenged Him on this a few more times but in my heart I knew it was time to get serious about making plans to leave my “real” full time job and run the race God had planned for me – a gigantic leap of faith!
Why the name Modern Day Noah (short version)? There’s more to this story, but in a nutshell it’s because Noah spent years building a gigantic ark, long before it had ever even rained on this earth, simply because he knew that was God’s desire and plan for his life. He obeyed even though it didn’t make any earthly sense. That’s exactly what I did. I’m sure Noah was judged and ridiculed for what he was doing but he believed and followed God’s direction anyway not knowing what the future would hold or why he was doing it. He just stepped out in faith and obeyed. That’s exactly what I’m doing. We all know how Noah’s story ended but mine is just beginning – at 51 years old! Only God knows where He will take me as I continue to follow His direction even when it makes no earthly sense.