Captain Blueprint and the Minefield
The warm Florida breeze is blowing out of the south.
I busy myself trimming the already perfectly trimmed sails in order to fight off the next round of tears. Amy is looking back and waving at the fading silhouettes of people on shore; the small gathering of friends and family who managed to make the trip south to see us off. Soon enough I will be concentrating on getting us safely across the Gulf Stream, reveling in the excitement of the adventure ahead, but at the moment I’m struggling not to wallow in the sorrow of saying good-bye to loved ones, and leaving behind what has been unquestionably the best season of my life so far.
This is what I picture in my mind when I think about the day we will sail away. I have lots of pictures in my mind - especially about the events leading up to that day. I have pictures and plans and expectations and assumptions. There’s a whole blueprint of how this scenario will play out in my head. And while the purpose of this post is to begin to share that blueprint with you, I also want to declare right up front, that I know the chances of these plans unfolding in a manner similar to my expectations are slim to none.
A friend recently pointed out to me that when things don’t go according to my expectations, I have a tendency to get easily discouraged. It’s true. As a worship leader, if the congregation doesn’t react to a new song the way I anticipated, it’s a blow. As a recovery leader, when lives are not changing as fast as I think they should, I question my efforts. I think my friend recognized immediately the myriad aspects of our future plan and the thousands of things that need to fall into place to bring it to fruition, and knew this would be a minefield of disappointment for me if I wasn’t careful. This is one of my struggles as a follower of Jesus: accepting His plan and His timing over my own. I pray and believe that He will grow me in this area throughout the coming year. If not….it’s probably going to be a long year!
Proverbs 19:21 says: Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
Now I don’t take this to mean that people should not have plans, or that planning is a waste of time. That would not square with Proverbs 21:5 which says: The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. What I believe God expects is for us to make plans for our lives, but hold on to them loosely. (Sorry if you now have a 38 Special song playing in your head.) We are to be willing to let go of them when we feel that God is moving us in a different direction. I think the photo above is a good representation of what it looks like when we hold on to our plans too tightly. Of course what is difficult about that is determining whether an obstacle in our path is God trying to change our direction, or the enemy trying to prevent us from accomplishing something of importance. It’s difficult, but not impossible; not for the discerning believer who has learned to live in sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
This is where I hope and believe I am in regards to the next year or so of our lives. There is a plan in place, and I have every intention of implementing it. But I will do my best to allow God to make any changes which He sees fit to make, and not to let discouragement reign when His purposes stand rather than mine.
Because there are so many different aspects of the plan to deal with, I’m only going to focus on one or two subjects per post. In this post, I will deal with just one. The most difficult one: Money!
Now before you roll your eyes and close this page,
let me assure you I’m not going to be asking for any financial support in this post. There will come a time for that, but as Amy and I are both still working good jobs, we don’t even own the boat we will be sailing yet, and our sail away date is a year off, I think it would be premature to be putting our hand out.
The finances are a two-fold plan. Part one is to start working on ways to have some money coming in once we have sailed away. Part two is to come up with the money to actually sail away.
At this point, our goal is to get our social media pages up, get our You Tube channel going, and garner some interest in what we’re doing through the web site and blog posts. Ultimately, once we have sailed away, our online presence, and the generosity of like-minded believers who want to support our ministry efforts (many of whom will only be reached online) is what will sustain us. What this means is that it is of the utmost importance that we reach as many people as possible with our online efforts now.
And you can help with that!
I told you I would not ask for financial support in this post, not that I wouldn't ask for support.
We need you to interact with us online. Every time you see a post from Born Again in Blue Water on social media, will you please interact with us? And listen, clicking the like button doesn’t do much (altough it's better than nothing). I’ve been studying up on this stuff. If you really want to help us, comments and shares are what will spread our content to the greatest number of people.
Ask questions. We’ll reply. Tell us what you think. Send our posts or our web site link to your friends who might be interested in what we’re doing. Supporting us in this way now, is going to help us a great deal down the road. And it’s simple and it’s free.
Right now, most everything we’re doing is on Facebook or the website, but you’ll start seeing more on Instagram soon. Follow us there. After that, you’ll start seeing video content on You Tube. When that happens, just keep it up: subscribe, comment, like, and most importantly, share.
To those of you who will help us out in this way, to those of you who have been following along, and to those of you already praying for us; thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I hope you feel like you’re part of this journey. Even though we have not yet left – the adventure has most definitely begun. And sharing it with you is one of the best parts of the whole thing.
Now part two.
What about preparation costs? What about buying and outfitting the boat? What about a safety cushion for emergencies? Well, we’re going to finance all of those ourselves with our current assets and whatever money we can save between now and the time we leave. Without throwing out too many specific figures, here is how I think we can pull it off.
We have some savings. Most of it is retirement savings and we’re not willing to touch that. That which is not retirement savings will be our cushion should events transpire that require us to head back to land and re-establish a more traditional life. So basically we’re starting at zero.
We own two houses. Kind of. There is a mortgage on each of them, and one of them was actually sold on contract a couple years ago. We are currently acting as the bank for the buyers of that house. We need those buyers to go to a real bank, obtain traditional financing, and pay us off. We have spoken to them about that recently, and they graciously agreed to try to make that happen. If it does, it will net us something in the very low five figures.
We also need to sell the house that we are currently living in. (We actually may have a buyer already. We’ll know more by the end of the week.) We’ve not lived here very long, so there’s not a lot of equity, but the sale should net us something in the slightly higher five figure range.
Then there’s automobiles, an extensive inventory of wood-working tools, an extensive inventory of instruments and other musical equipment, and all of our household items. Now if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that other people don’t think your stuff is worth as much as you think its worth, but once again, all of this should net us something in the low five figures.
We are budgeting $60,000 for the boat. That includes buying the boat, outfitting it for our needs, taxes, licenses, etc., etc. Which means, that unless we find a boat that is set up exactly suited to our needs (which is highly unlikely), we’re looking at boats in the $40-45,000 range. There are a lot of them out there; we just need to find the right one. Born Again will be more than just a boat; she will be our home, so we’re going to take the time to get this choice right. But more on the boat in a later post.
We have an operating budget of $2000 per month once we’re on the water.
This is less than half of what we live on now, and admittedly, this was a budget created in ignorance. Yes, I’ve done my research, but there are just too many unknown variables to have a lot of confidence in this figure. I know this is true of any budget, but when you have no experience to draw from (i.e. – have never lived on a boat), it becomes that much more questionable. In any case, we needed a figure to work with and $2000 is that figure. Hopefully it will prove to be close to accurate.
We would like to have $36,000 to live off of when we sail away. That means that if we generate no online income, and no one supports our ministry, we will still at least be able to sail for a year and a half before it's over. We would then either have to give it up entirely and sell the boat, or go back to traditional jobs long enough to save up another chunk of money and go back out.
If things go close to plan, we live very frugally, and it is not God’s will to teach me any great lesson in patience, then we will have our boat prepared, $36,000 set aside, and be sailing away on November 1, 2020. If there are a few hiccups, we will probably stay through the holidays and leave on January 1, 2021. If there are many hiccups, we’ll be patient and wait on God’s timing. But November 1: That’s the plan. As of now. Give or take a month. Unless we change our minds. You get the idea.
I know there’s not a lot of detail here, but the finances of all this may be uninteresting to some folks anyway, so I chose a wide-angle approach. If you have any questions about this part of our plan, feel free to ask. I won’t be posting copies of our pay stubs, but I am willing to be quite open with the dollars and cents of it all.
If reading this, you were thinking, “Wow, what a huge chance they are taking with all the things they have accumulated in their lives”, I can only tell you that it comes down to faith and priorities. God has always provided what we need and blessed us beyond measure, and we have faith that He will continue to do so in these new and different circumstances. As for priorities: we are simply placing more importance on doing things than having things. We are interested in accumulating what moths and rust cannot destroy. The memories we will create, the relationships we will build, and the gospel we will present are untouchable.
But hey, we’ll still have some things…they just all need to fit on a very modest boat.