the “between land,” steve jobs, and why i don’t own a beach house

October 23, 2009

 compass_map

As the first new post on the new blog, this really ought to reach new heights of awesome.  I recognize that.  Added pressure.  Sweet.  Prepare to be dazzled.  (Actually, probably not.  But I’m really glad you stopped by, just the same.)

I don’t own a beach house.  I drive a rock-solid 2000 Dodge Caravan, with custom rust patches and a panoply of quirky technical problems that give it a unique personality and a dangerous attitude.  My most expensive brand-name clothing is made by Levi’s.  I am deeply happy.

And all that is the preamble to the fact that our family is now entering the fracas of uncertainty.  The “Between Land.”  There are stable places in life… when you know the plan for the rest of the year.  Your home is secure, and you have a job.  Food.  A plan and a path.  Well, we just took the off ramp onto Uncertainty Lane, we spilled coffee on the map, and our GPS is on the fritz.  Oh, and the steering seems to be broken.  And the brakes.  And at least one of the headlights.

So if you can relate – if you don’t know what’s just ahead, and your blood pressure is up – this is for you.  And, frankly, everyone goes into the “between land” once in awhile.  Between the stable places.  So this is for you, too, everybody.

Living Hope, the church I have been serving since it was planted seven+ years ago, has been hit hard by the downturn in our economy.  Many churches have.  And now as we come into a new budget year, my position and salary will most likely need to be significantly restructured.  For the first time in 15 years, I’m facing the probable reality that I will not be able to continue in full-time vocational ministry.

This is the “between land.”  Between the stable places.  It reminds me of 1992, as I was finishing up my second year at the AFLC Bible School in Plymouth, MN, and I didn’t know what to do.  Not sure where to go to school, or whether to pursue music or medicine.  I knew enough about both tracks in college to know that pursuing both at the same time would be academic suicide.  What did God want me to do?  Lord, what’s your plan for me?  Where do I go?

Smashcut to Steve Jobs.  June 12, 2005.  Stanford Commencement.  He’s telling his story to hundreds of graduating seniors.  Many in the between land.  No sure what to do.  Where to go.  Spilled coffee on the map.  No GPS. 

He’s telling them how, after building the Apple company from the ground up in a garage to a multi-billion dollar company, he was fired by the Board of Directors at the 10 year mark.  SMACK!  And then, years later, as he continued to work in the field he loved (and firing up a little movie studio called PIXAR on the side), Apple bought out the company he had started, and he found himself back in the driver’s seat at Apple again.  Better off than ever.  Steve says…

“I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

 Don’t settle.  Do what you love.  Don’t lose faith.  You’ll know when you find it.  Don’t settle.

I don’t think Steve Jobs is a Christian.  I’m not sure, but I don’t think his philosophy is rooted in the truth of Scripture.  Even so, truth is truth.  And this rang true to me.  Here’s why…

Back in 1992, in my pre-collegiate “Between Land,” I received some wise council.  Pastor Steve Lombardo listened to me, prayed with me, shared Scripture with me…

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart…”  (Psalm 37:4)

SWEET MARTHA’S VINEYARD!!  You mean, I just delight myself in the Lord, and I’ll get that beach house my heart desires?!  Sign me up, man!

Actually, no.  Not at all.  EVEN BETTER…  This verse means literally that if you delight yourself in the Lord, God will GIVE YOU the desires of your heart.  Meaning, the DESIRES themselves.  He will place into your heart the desires that line up with His will for you – with His plan.

“Joshua, you get close to God.  You read His promises for you.  You enjoy Him like crazy.  Say ‘thank you’ all day long.  You delight in God and your relationship with Him…   And then ask yourself… what do you really want to do, deep down?  What does your heart desire?  You want to know what path to take?  Delight in God… and then do what you want to do.”

Music.  Music and ministry.  Worship and drums and art and church leadership!  Forget the beach house!  I’m doing what I love, and I’m delighting in God!  Life abundant…

So now what?  No GPS.  Smack in the middle of the between.  It’s time for me to delight in God with renewed passion and thanksgiving and awe.  Lord, my life is yours.  I don’t want to settle.  I’ve got just this one life to live for your purposes.  Beach house, shmeach house.  Just help my heart desire what YOU desire along the path to the next stable place…

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“the between land, steve jobs, and why i don’t own a beach house” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

14 responses to the “between land,” steve jobs, and why i don’t own a beach house

  1. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  2. This certainly sounds very familiar – my “stable” was my abundant life of raising my three kids, being able to be home and volunteer at church (Sunday School & VBS) and their Christian day schools. I had fun hobbies, my husband had a job that paid our bills. We were able to go out a couple times a month. Cut to a year and a half ago and I start really thinking about those “desires of the heart” and what I believe God was calling me to do with my life. “What, Lord? – you want me to pursue music? But, I didn’t grow up going to church or singing in choirs. I’ve never written songs before – just poems, press releases and stories.”

    As soon as I said “Ok, Lord, I’m ready,” my world changed. I was finally being obedient to Him. I wasn’t running away from Him, shirking my responsibilities, ignoring the gifts He created me with. Songs, melodies, opportunities came flooding in. The more I leaned in to listen to what God had to say, the more joyful I became. Was it easy-peezy switching gears all of a sudden, with three kids at home? No, and it’s a challenge every day, but it is a calling. I chose to follow His lead for maybe the first real time in my life. And, now I can’t imagine doing anything else. My husband scaled back his hours and we’ve started a ministry. We’re focusing on not trying to fit Christ into our lives, but now trying to fit our lives into Him.

    I’m glad you rest in that knowledge as well. Good for you. Keeping the focus on Him and what He requires – full devotion – will serve you & Him well.

  3. I stopped by. I read and listened. I’ve been in “between land”… pretty much all of my adult life 🙂 but I’ve also witnessed the faithfulness of God… pretty much all of my adult life (I wasn’t paying enough attention to that in the childhood part of my life).
    Loved your commentary on Ps.37:4. One of my favorite verses that many often misinterpret.
    Also loved your description of your tricked out caravan. I’ve got some of those custom rust patches on my Oldsmobile Silhouette… sweet!
    Love you and Ames. Praying for you as you continue to delight in God – and follow where He leads.

  4. Thanks for the encouraging words Mela. I’m praying for your ministry – we’ll keep in touch.

    Erika, minivans are cool. No matter what they say. Coolest ever. 🙂 Thanks for the prayers. I like stable places better. Bless you and Sherwin and the kiddos.

  5. Excellent post and very timely. God provides. Love you Josh!

  6. Thanks Kimmer. Bless you.

  7. Hey Josh, This all very much resonates with me…although I’m coming from a glimmer of hope place because we just got a 2000 Minivan ourselves (we’ll form a club with y’all). Anyway, we’ll be praying for you guys. My advice?: now’s the time to start up the J.S. Worship Leading Seminar we’ve all been waiting for. 🙂 PS. I’d like to join.

    Blessings, T

  8. Hey Tami! Worship Leading Seminars, eh? Can’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind. I’m looking at every possibility right now. If we do ressurect the Adoration Conference and hit the road, Tami – I’ll be calling you speedy quick-like.

    Drive that minivan with attitude, man. Caravan power! 🙂

  9. Hey Josh-

    Good stuff! I know one thing, Josh, you were put on this planet to worship our Savior! Don’t settle for a cubicle and a docking station! I think it’s time that we do something – something big as God’s people, as family members! Living Hope is God’s house – His possession, His Ministry! As we seek for direction with wide-open eyes and ears, God’s power still remains my focus! God doesn’t need our budget; He certainly doesn’t need our money! God owns all the cattle on hills and even that 2000 Dodge Caravan – He will take care of you, of us, and His Church! In the mean time, when you think your troubles and trials are great, remember Job. Everything was going great for him and then all was taken away! But God was/is still in control. Back then/today/tomorrow! Bless you brother!

  10. Lucus – love your heart, your passion, your faith, and your fire, brother! We need some of that “let’s take the hill!” mindset, because, you’re right – God is all powerful. Now, I’m not sure that God isn’t doing something here that we don’t expect. The answer may not be financial provision this time. I am OK with HIS plan, whatever it is. I love Living Hope and the people of our church more than I have words to express it. If it works for me to remain there – praise God! Ultimately, I’m just doing what I wrote about… prayting,m thanking him, worshipping deeply, and trying to figure out what I really want to do.

    I won’t settle for a cubicle. I’m all in favor of making a living, though, so if I have to put in some cubicle time… well, that’s killing it and dragging it back to the cave. Hopefully, though, with God’s blessing, I’ll be spending as much of my life’s energy as possible serving Him in ministry.

    We’re off the map. Glad He’s driving. 🙂

  11. Josh,
    We will be praying for your family for sure! We were in a similar spot (different reasons, but all the same in limbo) 3 1/2 years ago. We were in limbo for a YEAR… A long hard year… Matt worked in temp jobs – crazy insane not his calling temp jobs… but the bills got paid and our standard of living shrank smaller & we made it. We waited & waited on the Lord. We had ministry job offers, and it felt easy to grab them, but we knew they weren’t the place God was really calling us. We had other interviews where we really felt God was calling us and we weren’t offered the job… BUT… when you wait on the Lord and follow Him – you are blessed. A year later, we received the call to the church we are in now and it is the PERFECT fit for us! So my word of advice is don’t settle (well, settle to pay the bills.. but keep waiting on the Lord) and the right thing for you will come along! PROMISE!
    Christine

  12. Christine – thank you thank you thank you. You’re doing that “encourage one another in the faith” part of being the Church. Wise words, friend. God bless you and Matt.

  13. Dad… So awesome. You’re posts are very powerful and deserve Many rewards that I do not have enough authority to give you. Your blog is filled with wittiness and humor. I can always use more of that! 🙂 Thank you for the taking the time to put this together. I can’t wait for your next post!