An Afternoon with Trucker Mike and Jodi

Posted on July 18, 2012 by Jeff



It’s Wednesday morning, and this is what I’m doing.

At times when I’m uncertain about my life and our choice to be self-employed, I think of mornings like this. The only thing on the agenda right now is, ‘find bumble bee costume and do ‘Butt Smashes’ on the trampoline’.


Also, this morning, I’m spending time on the back patio, enjoying some coffee and reading. If this were facebook, I would post that as my status, only I’d accompany it with a picture of my toes and call it “My view this morning.”

I’m not sure why so many people take pictures of their toes, post to facebook and say “My view today.” Why would people want to spend the morning looking at their toes? More than that, why do people think the rest of us would like to spend the morning looking at their toes?

While I’m on it: Why take pictures of your food or the temperature guage in your car and post to facebook? It’s as though something doesn’t exist until you post it on social media. There’s a whole “if a tree falls in the forest” thing going on. If something happens to you and nobody on Facebook knows about it, did it really happen?

It did. And not only did it happen, but it’s ONLY interesting to you.

But now for the real reason for this blog:

While spending the week at Family Camp in Alexandria recently, Kristie and I spent an afternoon with our friends Mike and Jodi Wanner.

The Wanners recently moved back home to Alexandria Minnesota from Los Angeles California. Mike was high up at Delta Airlines at LAX. They used to live in a beautiful house a few miles from Disney Land and a few miles from the beach. Mike and Jodi used to watch the LA Kings hoist the Stanley Cup from the Delta Suite at Staples Center. They used to walk the Red Carpet at the Grammy’s. They used to get invites to parties that you and I can only read about in People Magazine. Now their Saturday nights consist of watching Jodi’s brother race his car at the Alexandria racetrack.

Mike used to work all the time, admittedly at the expense of his family. Now they spend most days on the boat, as a family.

So what happens when you give up corporate America, job perks, luxury suites and red carpets in exchange for time with your family living it up at the racetrack of Alexandria MN? We asked Mike and Jodi all about it – and what stood out more than the words they said was the fact that never once did they stop smiling.

Mike and Jodi recognized that his Job in LA was affecting the more important things in life. Mike and Jodi also knew that God was leading them to make this decision and that He’d provide everything they would need.

And they were just crazy enough to actually believe God.

I loved our afternoon with the Wanners.

I love being around people who recognize that life is short and it should be spent on what matters. I love that we were able to compare our ‘Journey of Faith’ stories and see many similarities. (minus the Grammy’s and the Stanley Cups) And more than anything, I love spending time with people who are not only willing to listen for God’s voice of direction for their lives but who are also willing to step out, believing God will do all the things He says He’ll do.

(Mike has started a blog about his new adventure. It can be found here.  )

The Wanner’s story reminded me of  Moses and the Israelites as God was preparing them to enter the Promised Land. (found in Numbers 13-14) Here’s the story in a nutshell: God used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt where they were slaves. God certainly proved Himself faithful as He performed miracle after miracle. When the time came to enter the new land, God told Moses to send out some spies to scout the place out. 12 spies went in, 12 spies returned, 10 had a negative report – “Sure, the Promised Land IS awesome, but there are tough guys and powerful armies there – it will be quite difficult. In fact, because this idea seems so daunting, our conclusion is this: we should NOT go in there!”

The other two spies were named Joshua and Caleb. Their report was different and can be found in Joshua 14:6-9. Their report was something like this, “The Promised Land is indeed awesome, sure there are enemies and obstacles, but the bottom line is this: God will provide the victory and will deliver us into the land He promised, (hence the name the ‘Promised Land’) and we should for sure move forward!”

Unfortunately the people listened to the 10 negative voices, and chose to stay put. As a result, God was angry, and the nation of Israel spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness. God had them wander in the wilderness until everyone who DIDN’T want to enter the Promised Land had died. God then used Joshua and Caleb to lead a new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land.

Here’s what I learn from that story:

When you call yourself a follower of Jesus, it means you follow Him. If He’s leading you somewhere and you refuse to follow, you should stop calling yourself a follower — at that point, the definition simply doesn’t apply.

When God is leading you to make a life altering decision, there will be negative voices giving negative reports:

“It can’t be done.”

“It’s just not safe.”

“What if it doesn’t work out?”

“There’s too much riding on this for you to be reckless.”

“What about your future?”

And there will also be positive voices. Listen to the positive ones.

Here’s what bothers me MOST from the story of the Israelites – It’s the same thing that bothers me in the lives of Christians today – And it’s the same thing that bothers me when I see it in my own life.

Here it its:

Somehow we’ve started thinking that when God asks us to do something risky, the safer, more secure, predictable thing to do is to NOT listen to God. Think about it, how often do people (myself included) think “I think God is leading me THIS way, but that seems too risky and therefore I’m sticking to MY way instead of Gods way – it’s just the safer choice for me.”

Where do we get the idea the NOT GOD PLAN is going to be a safer, more secure plan? That seems backwards to me. If I’m wandering through a wilderness and I’m travelling with a “wilderness ninja” who knows the way, knows how to provide shelter, knows how to hunt for food and knows how to fight off any attacks — how dumb would I be to say “well, wilderness ninja, following your path may lead to trouble and that’s scary, so I’m just going to stay here.”

When God directs us on a path, we should follow. That’s the best place to be. If we refuse to follow God, either we think He’s a liar when He says He’ll care for us and provide what we need, or we think He’s unable to do the things He’s promised.

The worst part of the story in Joshua is that the Israelites made it well known they wished they were back in Egypt – in slavery. Rather than going on an adventure with God, a journey of faith and trust – rather than seeing God provide victory and deliverance into the Promised Land, they wished they were back as slaves in Egypt.

I guess it was easier for them to live in a predictable slavery rather than an uncertain God-adventure.

But as a Christ-follower, since when is anything God says uncertain?