A few years ago, God led us to leave the US. Not immediately. Just “I want you to leave the US.” So Christy and I began searching for places to live outside of the US.
We asked God to lead us where He wanted us to go, and started considering options. We considered Europe and did not feel led to move there. We considered Malaysia, no dice. We considered Uruguay, nothing. After Stevie Ray and I returned from a mission trip to Honduras, we started looking at Central America. We considered Panama and then Costa Rica.
And something clicked inside.
Christy and I made a one-week trip here (I’m writing this from Playa Jaco) in August 2012. We survived. More than that, we found the people to be awesome and friendly. The climate was somewhat muggy, but it was August. We returned to the US and Christy began taking private Spanish lessons.
I spoke at SQL Saturday – Costa Rica in April 2013. We planned an 11-day family trip here around SQL Saturday – Costa Rica 2014. We are about 2/3rds done with that trip as I type. On this trip:
- We found an area we really like (Atenas).
- We established a relationship with a realtor we trust.
- We found a couple candidate schools for one or more of the kids.
- We established relationships with local folks who are able and willing to increase our knowledge of the transition ahead of us.
- We got a better handle on the costs of the transition.
- Christy served as our translator.
“So Why, Andy?”
I don’t know. The only thing I know at this time is, “Leave the US. Go to Costa Rica.”
I understand completely how crazy / dumb that sounds. How do I know it’s God leading me? I think that’s a great question. Allow me to share another story by way of an answer:
“Withdraw Your Application and Start a Business”
In September 2010, God led me to withdraw an application for a promotion to director at work and to start a business. I had zero prospects in September 2010. Zero. But that changed. Christy supported the move. We had some savings we could coast on until business started coming in. Mostly, we had peace God was leading. By November I had three weeks of work booked for after 1 Jan. I remember distinctly praying, “God, this makes sense everywhere except when I look at this cash flow projection spreadsheet.”
God’s response? “If it did not require faith, I would not be part of this.” That was enough pushing for me. I submitted my notice in early December 2010 and jumped out on my own 1 Jan 2011.
Now there was more. God told me starting my own business was not what He had for me, but that He needed me on my own so that I would be ready for what He had for me. Once I was out there, Brian Moran and I connected and began working on SQLPeople. We had a lot of fun working together – we were (and are) a great team. Brian and I formed Linchpin People in April 2011, and this was the thing God wanted to happen – the thing for which I had to start my own business in order to prepare for.
When I shared this with folks nearly four years ago, some thought I was nuts. Why should I turn down a shot at being a director? For three weeks of work? Crazy, right? Wrong. God. And it’s obvious sitting on this end of the events and looking back that it was and is God speaking and leading. Is life rainbows and unicorns? No. And it never will be. There are challenges now and challenges yet to come. But did I hear and obey God? Yep.
Same God, Different Thing
God is leading us to leave the US and move to Costa Rica. Is it to start some mission work? Is it because something bad is going to happen to the US? I don’t know. I don’t have those answers.
And I don’t need them. All I need to know is God is leading.
Will life be easy during and after the move? No. God doesn’t usually lead people to lives of comfort. Inner-peace? Yes. Provided-for? Certainly. Enabled? Yep. Easy? Not required. Obedience is required to follow.
What Who I Know
That’s what followers do, we follow. Those verses we quote and songs we sing mean something. Wherever You Lead, I’ll Go, for example. And when we call Christ “Lord,” we are calling Him “Master” in the sense of identifying Jesus as our Master and us as His servant or slave. While I understand the social and political ramifications of this kind of relationship – especially in US politics – especially as I write this at the beginning of May 2014 – I am compelled to share that being a slave to Christ means I am freer than I was when I was not His slave.
Servant-hood to Jesus cannot be examined in isolation. It cannot be parsed from either God’s Sovereignty in and over the universe, nor can it be compartmentalized from Him paying for my sins on the cross at Calvary. No; it must all be taken together; whole, in total; together. I am His. I was bought with a price. I didn’t define the relationship – Christ did. He gave me a choice: follow or not.
I choose to follow.
How About You?
Is God leading everyone to move to Costa Rica? I don’t know. He may not be leading you to leave your home. He may be; God doesn’t tell me how He’s leading other people or His plans for them. In fact, He told one disciple, “What is that to you…?”
That said; if God leads you to leave your home, will you go?