Jo Hunter Adams
Every year our church-- the Greater Boston Vineyard--does something called the 40 Days of Faith (A Faith Experiment) that corresponds to the Lent period. Although each year has a slightly different focus, we're always given the opportunity to ask for specific things from God for the 40 days, perhaps with a new intensity. The asking comes out of a bunch of motivations, but the questions are "what do you want from God?" and "what do you really want from God?" (that is, why do you want what you want- but more on this)
One of the things Eug and I asked for was pretty concrete, and fairly unlikely. We were hoping to find a space in Boston to build a tiny house. A tiny house doesn't need much explaining (though I could go on and on). They are a lot more affordable than buying a proper house and seemed to fit with our desire to live small, cheaply, and close to Boston (with some space to grow food).
Perhaps understandably, nothing happened with the dream of a tiny house. I have seen some awesome empty spaces of land near my work, but I don't have a clue who I would ask or how we could borrow/rent/buy those little spaces. Eug and I also both have the sense that this is not necessarily a long term dream, this is a dream for right now. For me, part of the dream was closely tied to the idea that we would be pay the house off within a couple of years, and it would not be something that forced us to stay in Boston beyond the time we feel called to be here.
For the second question, "What do you really want from God?", I think we've already been getting some answers to prayer.
Living in a small place closer to Boston than Watertown seems to make sense. You can't get much with a small budget, and we'd likely still be renting, but we could probably make tiny pretty fun. In that context, a community garden may help with the challenge of a small apartment space.
The biggest draw for me is the hope of forgoing car and maybe even public transportation for our work commutes. We would be able to bike/walk to work every day, making exercise part of our day without making our work days longer.
More on the work-life balance to come, but I think what's been cool about this process is that it empowers you to leave some things alone-- the big stuff that you can do a bit about (pray, pursue), but certainly can't control, and may not be in the end what God has for you. At the same time, I felt able to identify the essentials that God DOES want for me-- balance, exercise, healthy community, home etc-- and pray and pursue those in a more open-ended way.