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Making Big Life Decisions… Who Put Us in Charge?

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

We do a lot of DIY here on the blog, but we’re also committed to keeping things real and letting you guys into our lives too.  Well, here in the Mangin household we’ve been wrestling with some big life decisions lately.  A few times it had me wondering, who the heck put us in charge?!?

Making Big Life Decisions

So here’s the backstory… My husband has been blessed for ten years to have the best job ever for our family.  Note, I don’t say he has the best job ever- clearly Miley Cyrus has the best job ever (bahaha!), but it’s the best for us and our four kids.  He has total flexibility, it’s pretty close to home, he doesn’t have to travel, and he doesn’t come home with any work stress.  For us, that’s just about perfect.


So here’s the dilemma… his company has had layoffs for the past ten years he’s been there, not every year, but off and on.  Thankfully, we’ve never been impacted by them and Eric has been successful all of these years, but we’ve always wondered if his luck will run out someday.  He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever known and really smart, but when you see other good people let go, you wonder.

We’ve never looked for another job, we’ve actually not really even thought about it- we love his job, we’re thankful for it, and we joke that if he could get a contract for the next 25 years, he’d sign and be the happiest man alive (he likes predictability lol).  But, at the end of the summer another company began recruiting him.  At first it was kind of just a long shot- it was a somewhat different field… he’s in pharmacokinetics (nerd city right) and this company deals with orthobiologics- similar, but different worlds.  He wasn’t sure his degrees were fitting, and even though he was willing to go through some initial rounds of interviews, it seemed like nothing was happening for months.  So, we just figured we’d stay put- we were really happy after all, nothing lost.

A few months had gone by and then we got a call that they’d found what they considered “just the right role” for Eric.  They had seemed really interested in matching their employees with a role that fits their skill set and personality (which is something we both thought was really neat).  Anyhow, just before Christmas, he was given a formal offer and then came the, “Okay, who’s going to make this decision for us” moment.

We’re responsible for 4 kids and 2 adults… decisions like employment are a big deal.  Especially since I just recently left teaching to work in TV for “Knock It Off”  That decision has worked out amazingly well and I’m so happy, but two risks in one year- now that’s just crazy talk.  It’s moments like these that make us realize holy crap we’re adults and no one is going to  decide this for us! Yikers!

So, now that you have the back story- my real topic is how to make big life decisions…  I wish there was a perfect recipe.  Now, I don’t hide the fact that I’m a believer and I fully know I’m not the one in charge here, but as I see things, God lets us make choices and also expects us to make wise ones.  I think there are a few camps on how to make decisions as a Christian… let’s tour those camps shall we? I always loved me some summer camp!


Welcome to Camp- God-is-gonna-show-me: (If you say that really fast it sounds like some cool tribal inspired camp name)  This camp is the leave the wet fur (or something like that) outside and if it’s wet I’ll take the job and if it’s dry I won’t.  I’d join this camp in a heartbeat if I was back in Biblical times. It seemed to work out just smashingly back then.  I also know some people love this camp, and it works for them, but trust me, if I leave a sock outside waiting for an answer, my dog will just eat it and then I’ll really be confused about what I should do.

Welcome to Camp- God’s-gonna-give-me-peaceThis camp is good for the non-active types.  You don’t have to do much other than just wait around and wait for peace one way or the other.  Here’s why I don’t sit around this campfire… I think I could convince myself of most things and make a convincing enough argument that I’d feel good about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision or that I’m getting peace from God.

Welcome to Camp- God-Opened-the-door  or also known as God-wanted-me-to-persist-through-closed-doors: I think this is by far the most common camp. It has a waiting list a mile long!  Basically, here’s the gist of it… If it seems really easy and all signs are pointing to it, then God’s opening doors and that’s where he wants you.  Sounds simple right?  But, this camp also has another name, we can’t forget that one.  The one where doors are closing, obstacles are coming, but it’s interpreted as God hoping to see you persist and fight through adversity.  I think this camp is a slippery slope-a person choosing what they want and then spinning what name to put on- doors opening or fighting through adversity.   I think the people at this camp are still desiring to do God’s will, but it’s some scary circular reasoning.  What if the obstacles are God’s way of saying nope, this isn’t the right thing for you. How do you know the difference?


(sidenote: I hate camping and Eric fully knows it)

Welcome to Camp- God-doesn’t-care-about-detailsThis camp doesn’t have campfires and s’mores nights- bummer.  It’s based on the idea that God isn’t concerned with the small details of life. He’s more a big-picture guy. So take the job or leave it he’s not overly concerned.  I’m not a member of this camp, but I do agree with a measure of it… the underlying idea that God’s going to use you wherever you are (within reason. I’m not saying use this one as an excuse… God can use me in this affair type of mumbo jumbo!)  I’m more in line with this idea than the idea that God is concerned about what color socks I’m wearing (if you happen to care, they’re grey Puma socks).

Welcome to Camp- Crapshoot:  I was starting to write about this final camp- the one we joined-and gave it a fancy name, but then I deleted everything.  It was crap. Here’s what we did… we prayed about it, we sought the counsel of wise people – and not just ones that would tell us what we want to hear and not just ones that we agree with everything about (read: liberals and conservatives).  We talked about it a lot, and then decided that God wants his kids to be dependent on him and yet independent too- confident in decision making after asking for wisdom. Then, we made our choice and now we’re asking him to use us within the decision we’ve made.  I don’t know for sure that it’s the best decision long term, I don’t know that it’s going to mean job security, I don’t know that we’ll be happy with it in 6 months, but for now we’ve made the best decision we can.

Today, Eric gave his notice at work and starts his new job in two weeks.  We’re excited, a little nervous (because we know it will be tricky at first with my crazy TV work schedule), and ready to take on this new challenge.  This whole big life decision thing was not easy, and it really made us pause and and think about how to go about it all.

Now, obviously not everyone will agree with our approach and not everyone will love my camp commentary, but it’s just my take on things and the good news is that my opinion doesn’t have to change yours. 🙂  You can leave your sock out and wait for an answer- just don’t do it at my house, because seriously Pennlyn will eat your socks! 🙂

I’m just thankful for a God that is willing to love imperfect people, I’m human, selfish, opinionated, quirky, sometimes blinded by pride, but have a God that’s willing to work through all my crap and use us none the less.

So, enough about me, how about you… how do you make hard decisions?  Have you had to tackle some biggies?

PS If this post is way too heavy for you- you could always just go watch some “Knock It Off” episodes. hehe.

Credits: Photography by Stacy of Salvatori Photography– Newest member of the East Coast Creative Team.

The comments +

  1. Mrs Mike says:

    I can really relate to this one! After 10+ years at his job, the economy tanked, and he spent 6 mos off and on the unemployment list. After the last layoff, we felt it was time to explore a new avenue and looked for work out of state. We prayed that God would open the door we were supposed to take and close the ones that weren’t meant for us. 2 days later he got a job offer in TX (we lived in CA) and within 3 weeks we moved. It was SUCH a leap of faith because we didn’t know a soul in TX, but it’s been an amazing journey and God has truly blessed us and taken care of us. Good luck!!!

    • Monica says:

      Hey Mrs Mike- Thanks for sharing your story! So glad that your experience turned out well. Man being grownups is such hard work 😉 Have an awesome day!

  2. Tonya says:

    We just had to make a big grown decision last year. My husband was going no where in his job, but if we moved out of state there were more opportunities. So after much thought, we packed up & moved from Illinois to Florida. So far our decision was the right one for our family, even if our teenage son sometimes disagrees, lol.. Good luck with the new job & I hope it works out for your family.

  3. Marg T. says:

    Monica, your experience as a teacher and your knowledge of what God asks of you (all of us) has taught you the basics of a healthy family: a couple faithful to each other, committed to being the best parents they can be. That strong healthy family is blessed, and thereby is a blessing in the community, in the church, and in the country. Seems to me that’s what guided you to the ‘crap shoot camp’. My new year wish for your family is strength and your continued excellent sense of humor! 😀 P.S. I am a very happy fan of your Knock It Off show. I LOVE the practical and affordable solutions and your fresh, fun ideas. Keep up the good work!

  4. Judy says:

    Sometimes we need to step (or leap) outside our comfort zone so we can grow.

  5. Judy says:

    Wow this post speaks to me. We took a leap of faith over a year ago and moved from Philly (lower Bucks County) to Savannah Ga to be closer to my dad and to try a warmer, more laid back city. New job for me, my husband was able to work from home for his Philly based company. Then in October 2012, 2 months after we moved, my husband was laid off. Ok now what? In November 2013, after a year of unemployment, we were ready to wave the white flag, and move back to Philly once he found a job there. Then a few weeks ago he started interviewing with a company down here and is heading in to his 3rd interview next week. So no guarantees it will lead to an offer, but we are hopeful. Really not missing the Philly weather, particularly this year with what your fifth snowstorm already or something like that 🙂

  6. Kristy says:

    OHEMMGEE!! I am at the same crossroads (my job) and I SOOOOOO needed this Monica!! God’s timing is always just SO PERFECT!!
    Congratulations to you both for living a life that requires a great deal of faith!! (And He said “Well done, my good and faithful servant”)

  7. I believe that God gives us fine brains to make decisions with and calls us to glorify Him – wherever we are. Glorify being defined “to be an accurate representation of”. All of God’s peace to you.

  8. Reedy says:

    Thank you for this post. it captured exactly what my husband and I have talked about numerous times. We wish we would just get an email or text from God telling us to do sometimes.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Oh man!!! Seriously I cannot even tell you how much I LOVE this post! I’ve visited every single camp and have friends in all of them but I think the camp I come back to the most is the “put-my-big-girl-panties-on-and-use-the-brain-God-gave-me” camp. It’s similar to the “crap-shoot” camp…but with big girl panties. LOL! Truly though I believe so firmly in the freedom that comes with being a believer and that we so often get caught up in the trappings of “God’s Will”. I see it all the time. He doesn’t always shine a light down from above directly over the right answer making it perfectly clear. In fact, He RARELY does that. More often we are called to seek His wisdom (as we are directed to do in scripture “If anyone lacks wisdom he should ask for it and it will be given”), seek the counsel of trusted friends and family and taking all of that into consideration make a decision. And once the decision has been made, we pray that He will use us to glorify Him through it…however it turns out. Thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing this!! Can’t wait to pass it along to some other campers in my life! 🙂

  10. Aubrey says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Monica. I am a Christian as well and struggle often with making decisions and trying to figure out exactly what God wants for me. I am constantly praying for his will to be done, not my own. Most things I know that no matter what, God will use both my good and bad decisions. But, I am almost 32, still single, and completely terrified to make the wrong decision in choosing a man to marry. Because I know that divorce is not an option for me, if I make the wrong decision I will live with it for the rest of my life. Sorry, this has been on my mind a lot lately, and reading your post just made me think about this part of my life. Anyway, thank you for being will to share your life and faith 🙂 Keep it up!

  11. Gina says:

    Love this post! Perfect timing. I love the name of Vanessa’s camp…believe that’s the one I’ve been to the most.

  12. Traci says:

    Well said! Praying for you and your family in 2014!!

  13. I LOVED reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!!! I have to admit I laughed out loud with your “camps,” because while they were hilarious, it is so true! So excited for this new venture for you guys and cannot wait to see how it all turns out. And I didn’t know you were a teacher until recently! Lots of teachers it seems in the blogging world 🙂

  14. Cortney says:

    Love it! I also know people in all different camps but I love the camp you chose to join. Really loving the comment above about the put your big girl panties on and use your brain camp…hilarious. Best of luck to you and your family.

  15. DeeAnna says:

    I can relate! It is difficult to know for sure you get an answer–sometimes I think God wants us to figure it out ourselves, present Him with our answer through prayer, and then if it’s a no-go He’ll let us know. Once I decided we had enough kids (hello, we had four already!), and I was gung ho, this is IT. And then one night I knew it wasn’t, God was talking to my heart and I knew we had another sweet spirit that needed our family. Now my littlest is two and she is the perfect ending to our family. I know my Heavenly Father is definitely interested in every detail in our lives and at the same time wants us to use our heads, but when we’ve made the wrong decision (thankfully) He’ll let us know. Good luck with your changes and thank you for sharing your faith.

  16. Brittany says:

    So awesome I found your blog. We are in the sameish situation. We have 4 littles as well and are, as is our ENTIRE family, set in Seattle. Hubs got a sweet job michigan.. How the heck do we make this decision and who the crap would put me in charge of it?? We flipped a coin (3 out of 5… Said we should move) and asked the kids (6 yr old wants to move, 5 and 3 yr old wants to stay, and 2 yr old changed her answer depending on how we asked her) I’m ready to try palm and tarot readings next but I think that might ex nay all of my church camp options dang it.

  17. mary says:

    Loved your thoughts on making righteous decisions…I am teaching in church this Sunday on that very topic and I love your insight!

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