A few weeks ago, I shared a vision that has been growing within me for a work I feel I'm to start and/or be a part of in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
I write this update from a little two star hotel in Pico Rivera.
Last Sunday, Rachel, Juliette and I took the 15 hour drive down from Boise to this hotel almost without any stops (we had to break just outside of Baker at a rest stop and catch a few z's). I went into this journey with an open hand -- still not completely sure I myself was sold on the idea of moving to L.A. I would consistently remind God during the drive that if, at any time, He wanted to straighten me out and tell me I was on the wrong track, He would not fight Him on it.
After arriving and driving about a bit, I would hope I wouldn't fight God if He corrected me, because that's just asking for it, but there's definitely been a shift.
Monday was a trying day. Juliette did extraordinarily well for being couped up for so many hours in the car, but she unleashed her fury upon us in the evening when Rachel and I were trying desperately to get some rest. And, while waiting for the hotel to allow us to register (we arrived at 10am, they didn't have registration till 3pm), we decided to drive through Hollywood. That was fun, but then we got lost on the way back and spent almost two hours frustrated, tired and completely without bearings.
Sufficed to say, after that first day, I felt defeated and certainly ready to just pack up and go home. But that was me wanting to call it quits, not God.
The next morning, I was still carrying a chip on my shoulder from our misadventures the first day, quite peeved that nothing of any kind of importance was happening. I had all the feelings of questioning, of feeling like I was wasting our time and money on this half-baked vision that seemed to be meant for a much more capable, talented, sophisticated, intelligent person. What was I doing here?
It was then that God answered, as I sat in the car, in the Starbucks parking lot, Rachel grabbing us some drinks and me hunting for Wi-Fi to get a map of the day's planned excursions. A knock on the window. I looked up, and there was an older man, his beard tinged with tobacco, his skin rough and worn, his eyes weary, but gentle.
I rolled down the window. He began speaking. "Excuse me, sir, I don't mean to offend. I was just wondering if you had any money on you, a couple dollars, anything. If not, no worries, I just, this is all I've got. I don't want to rob or rip anybody off, but this is all I got."
I reached for my wallet, pulled out a few dollars, and asked him if I could pray for him as I handed him the change. He gladly agreed, told me his name was Steve, and then began sharing how he too was a believer, had lost employment at Walmart a few years ago and just couldn't find anything. He shared how he meets with some other believers regularly at a local church, and talked about some radio programs he found encouragement from, recommending a local radio station to me.
I listened to him share, then prayed for him. God put it on my heart to pray that, just like the Israelites had their season of wandering in the desert before entering the Promised Land, that Steve would be able to hold onto the Promised Land that God has for Steve, and that the desert time would be nearing a close.
As we finished, he looked at me with smiling eyes and said, "I'm glad to have met you."
In that moment, I felt God speak to my heart, very clearly. "Here."
Now, to be honest, all these other details, all these speculations of what the future might look like, where income would come from, how Juliette and our future offspring would be raised here, what films we'd be doing, what this church thing would look like... All of them are open for further discovery. The journey has barely begun.
But it was that moment that fed my soul and gave me all the direction I needed.
We haven't been able to do much with Juliette here. Most of the fun attractions Rachel and I want to see are either too expensive (Disneyland) or not 2 year-old friendly (studio tours). But that, I don't think, has been the point of this trip.
I think Steve was the reason.
I have already started developing a set of goals for the next five years. Become fluent in Spanish. Kill all our debt ($3,000 to go) and sell or rent out our Boise house. Get five feature films out there (plus my re-edited first feature) and push them hard towards any outlet that will look at them (looking for sources of income). Find and raise up my Vineyard Boise replacement. Find the right apartment complex in L.A.
But those are all just the details. Those will morph as we get closer to whatever His plans are. The people, that's what all this is about. I think often we start out wanting to do something for the people, but lose sight of them as our vision develops a life of its own.
So, I'm putting all these plans and goals and dreams aside, lowering them in priority.
Instead, when I need to remember what Jesus has for me, I'm going to remember Steve.