The Gospel According to Wham-O, part 3

This week I’ve been writing about Frisbees. You can find part one here and part two here. Frisbee flying takes keeping a balance between lift and drag. Too much force and it hooks past your target. Too little force and it comes up short.

Trying to figure out this thing called life is a lot like that. If we force decisions too much, we’ll overshoot our goal. Not enough work put in, though, and we’ll never hit the target. Lift and drag. And it’s really about us and God doing our own part in a nice balance.

This week’s posts are a little longer than I normally write. Part one sort of explained the big principle of Frisbee faith (or the Gospel According to Wham-O as I called it). Part two went into a little more detail about some Bible verses that (I think) have been misrepresented. Today, I want to wrap it all up with some examples of what I’m talking about, some personal stories about my own journey in figuring out how to fly with lift and drag in my life.

A year ago today we closed on the sale of our house in Broken Arrow, OK. It was a big deal, sort of the midpoint in this big adventure our family is on. We closed one chapter to open a new one. But that whole journey started months earlier, and represents a nice balance between what I was doing and what God did in our lives.

A couple years ago I experienced a moment of divine discontentment. I looked at my career – what I was doing and where I was going – and I wasn’t happy. I knew I needed a change, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I did a lot of evaluating and talked to a lot of people about it. I also prayed and meditated on what I was supposed to do. I took a trip out of town with the family to sort of clear my head and really think about it. While away I had one of those “divine appointments” that we always talk about – where God puts somebody in your path who says something that hits just the right chord. It was while I was sitting at the dining room table of my old friend and mentor Dr. Oss that it just sort of clicked. What I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I had always intended to go onto grad school right after college, but as they say – life got in the way. And I’m glad it did! But in order to do the things I wanted to do now, I had to go back to school. I started looking at MDiv programs, both online and in residence. But the amount of hours in the programs (45+), the cost ($$$), and the fact that much of the coursework I had already done in my undergrad made me rethink it all. Then God reminded me of MSU in Springfield, MO. I had friends that got their masters degree there in religious studies. I looked at the coursework and cost, and it was much lighter on my schedule and budget. Plus, God was really stirring in me a passion to interact with those of different beliefs and faiths than mine. This may be the perfect opportunity.

So, about 18 months ago I started the application process. It was full of ups and downs. Yay, I got accepted! No, I didn’t get the graduate assistantship. Yay, I got a scholarship! No, it wasn’t that much. Through it all, I could tell that I was pushing a little and God was pulling a little. We were working together to make all of this happen.

I really felt that lift and drag when it came to selling our house, which Melisa and I decided to do on our own. And what an experience that was! We would sometimes go weeks without a call, then show the house three times in two days. My parents would ask, “What if you don’t sell the house? Are you still moving?” And we would try to push those negative thoughts out of our heads.

We prayed a lot, we advertised a lot, and in the end it only took one person looking at the house, really. I showed the house one Saturday afternoon to a young couple fresh out of college. Within the week, we had a signed contract.

After that – we were homeless! But I wasn’t too worried. I had done my part, and I was fully expecting God to do his part. We were working in balance here, remember. One day a friend of mine asked, “What are you going to do if you sell your house before you’re ready to move?” I told him that if I had to – gulp! – I’d move in with my parents for a few weeks. “Well, we actually own a house that’s empty,” he told me. “Why don’t you guys live there for a couple of months rent free?”

Wow! It was neat to see how pushing at just the right time got us out of our old house, but then letting up at the right time got us into a free house! Lift and drag. Push and pull. Not too much, not too little. Me working, God working, and the whole thing went spinning across the lawn – flat and straight.

Now we’re on this journey. We’re on top of that Frisbee sailing along. And it’s been a blast! Even when it’s tough (living in the middle of a journey is hard work!) it’s still great because we’re learning and we’re growing. Melisa and the kids were willing to uproot their whole lives so I could live out my dreams. But then again, Melisa ended up working at a great school after working really hard at getting the job and letting God direct her path to the perfect place. You find yourself working real hard at the networking game to make connections, then one day at your son’s preschool you meet someone who hands you a card and says, “Let’s do lunch.”

Lift and drag. Me and God, doing our own thing and making it all work. And I’m really looking forward to where this Frisbee will take us next!