It's not easy to launch out on a new mission. "You could make the case that the messiness of a launch—whether it's a new business or the birth of a baby—should be expected precisely because inertia is being upset." That's something we noted In our Start Your Family book, adding, "External forces are acting on things that were moving along in a predictable pattern. Something new and different is trying to make its way into the status quo."
We're feeling that today. After years of trying to imagine what it would be like to work independently, my first Monday working from home has not been easy. I had hoped to get up early for prayer and Bible reading and to still have time for exercise and a little bit of writing. Instead, I woke up an hour and a half later than usual with lingering symptoms from a cold I've had for three days and sleep deprivation from being up most of the night with a sick and grumpy 22-month-old.
The challenges continued through breakfast and the devotional time I led with the kids afterwards. I realized that our new routine wasn't going to fall into place without resistance.
In his fascinating book The Writer's Journey, Christopher Vogler talks about the archetype of "Threshold Guardians" who show up in most novels and movies as people who would keep the hero from embarking on their call to adventure. Vogler writes:
In daily life, you have probably encountered resistance when you try to make a positive change in your life. People around you, even those who love you, are often reluctant to see you change. … The idea of your changing may threaten them. If they resist you, it's important to realize they are simply functioning as Threshold Guardians, testing you to see if you are really resolved to change.
We were glad to have this perspective in mind before launching off on our mission—to help people grow closer to God in their paths to marriage and starting a family (more on that in a future post). It's been helpful at several points along the way to remember that resistance and setbacks don't necessarily mean we're doing the wrong thing, but are instead to be expected when you seek to boldly do the right thing.
Joseph is a great illustration of this truth. His role among the patriarchs of the faith takes up a big section of the book of Genesis. His dreams and his faithfulness make him a pivotal character in God's provision for His chosen people, but for each step he tries to take in the right direction, he gets major resistance and intense trials of faith. He shares his dream with his family and they sell him off as a slave. He serves his master with great integrity but ends up falsely accused and in prison. He serves well in prison but is overlooked by a fellow prisoner that he helps restore to freedom. And yet he stays faithful. His dreams continue. God's purposes prevail in spite of (and you could argue because of) the many setbacks along the way.
And so we press on. And we meditate hopefully on John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world."