Courage to go. Courage to stay.

We’ve gotten a lot of different comments when people find out we’re moving to Scotland for 3 years. It isn’t necessarily the move to another country, but it’s the selling everything we have and taking only suitcases with a family of {almost} six that sort of throws people off.

Some people are really excited for us and half wish they were in our shoes. Others are really excited for us but are very glad they aren’t in our shoes. And still others think we’re just a little crazy. They’re probably right.

One comment that I’ve heard frequently is, “Wow, you’re really brave.”

That strikes me differently at different times. Most of the time I don’t feel brave at all. It’s exciting and full of adventure. Other times, if I’ve been thinking too long about all the unknowns, I do feel like it is taking a lot of courage to step out and go.

Fickle feelings aside, it really does take courage to uproot your family and move to another part of the world.

It also takes courage to stay where you are.

When things are hard, when life gets boring, when monotony stares you in the face, it takes courage to stay and faithfully continue in the path God has chosen for you.

When God calls you to a specific path, it requires faith to see that as your life’s purpose, and then courage to follow through.

What are you meant to do? Are you an encourager? Are you in the background faithfully fulfilling your responsibilities? Are you the dreamer full of ideas and enthusiasm? Maybe your current purpose in life is to love and nurture little ones with all that you have.

Whatever you are meant to do, do it. Today.

It may not take you to somewhere like Scotland. Tomorrow you may walk down your steps and start the coffee maker in the same pot you have for the last 3 years. You may sit down on the same ripped couch that you’ve had for 10 years. You may change a diaper for the thousandth time.

It may not feel exotic or even important, but if it is God’s plan for you, than you will have a richer life for living it well.

Whatever story God has for you, have the courage to live it fully.

Yes, it takes courage to go. But it also takes a whole lot of courage and grit to stay right where you are.


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    I remember coming to this realization when I was a teenager and everyone else was going on short term mission trips. I wanted so badly to go. Plus they were all lauded in youth group. But, it was never the right time. It never happened. It took courage to stay home and live the “boring” life God had called me to. Being a servant at home.
    Btw-I don’t think you are crazy. I think you are obedient.=)

  2. This was so full of wisdom, Johanna. The Lord is good to teach us to be content wherever He leads. If we’re not content at home, we’re not going to content abroad either. I love what you said about doing what you can do where you are—whether encouraging or serving behind the scenes…I would also say that caring for a family, cooking and hospitality are very much behind the scenes ministries that seem “fruitless” because once you cook, clean and wash the dishes, it’s time to repeat. It’s hard to measure progress when you are doing the same thing over and over again. :O) Know what I mean? Great post!!

    • Johanna says:

      yes, cooking, cleaning and washing dishes are absolutely vital behind the scenes serving…and I will still have to do that in Scotland, I might add. :-)

  3. Amen. And it takes courage to struggle through seminary, and wait for God’s timing to go off and have adventures like all your other ministry friends! Thanks so much for this encouragement!

    • Johanna says:

      Yes, it takes a lot of grace to be the one still hanging behind…especially when you really want to be going!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Amen! What a great encouragement this piece is and so true. To be content fulfilling God’s plan where we are is the most courageous way to live!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Johanna! I really needed this today!!

  6. Kristin Chapman says:

    Wonderful, insightful, encouraging article–and so true!! Having been on the mission field and now being back in the U.S. this what I needed to read today! So excited for you guys and will be praying for you!

    • Johanna says:

      I’m sure there are mixed feelings about being back, Kristin! So excited about your growing family. :-) I think we’re due right about the same time!

  7. Amen. Reminds me of the Jim Elliot quote written on a chalkboard in our kitchen– “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the Will of God.”

  8. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I was in who thought I would be living a life that would involve “going” but the last few years have taken a very different path, I find myself fighting for contentment and battling envy if those who are going. So thank you for reminding me that my battles are not in vain.

  9. I love your perspective. And I hope you enjoy your time in Scotland as much as we did!

  10. I appreciate what you’ve said, Johanna. So many of the current/hot books in Christian circles today are so strongly stating the case for going, but some folks are meant to stay. Maybe for a season, maybe for a lifetime. I think it’s equally important to be content and committed to serve where God has you in the way He wishes you to serve at that time. Seasons, for everything there is a season.

  11. “Whatever story God has for you, have the courage to live it fully.”

    I love this line, Johanna!

    I’m at a point in my life when I’m not sure of the things I should let go and I should keep. So this line hit me: “Whatever you are meant to do, do it. Today.” Your post is really inspiring. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. :)

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