I recently helped move my wife's parents from one house to another. They were worried about the work involved in moving, but we gathered enough people there that it went very quickly. Perhaps record time? (I'm looking to the judges) Fortunately, the move was just around the corner from one house to another, but we still had to box things up and load a moving van. Ok, so perhaps not a record.
Just a few days after settling in to her new place, my mother-in-law said, “I already feel more at home here than I ever did in the last place.” Wow. That's saying something because just two months earlier she was unsure if she wanted to move or not as they were looking at the new place. She loved what she now calls “the last place.” It had all of her personal touches and decorations, the right color on the walls, and a familiar arrangement of food and cooking utensils in the kitchen. It was home. And yet it quickly wasn't.
We too are usually afraid to make big moves, especially as we age. The older we get, the more reticent we usually are to move. It's a big chore! It's a lot of work! And we are usually quite comfortable where we are. We have things organized, settled, and with the right color scheme. Counselors regularly see people afraid to make a move. Trapped in poor behaviors and routines, the destructive patterns have become “home” and comfortable. And yet they're not. It's just too difficult to make a move. It would take a lot work.
But here's the lesson: MOVING TO A NEW “HOUSE” IS ALMOST ALWAYS BETTER. Making a move in life to a new job, and new way of working, new relationships, and even a new church would be better. The reality for my mother-in-law was that “the last place” had a smaller kitchen, lower ceilings, and was limited in space for guests. But they had become comfortable and familiar … just the way we may have things in our lives that have become routine and comfortable to us.
This is the illuminating role that Scripture plays in the life of a Christian. If we are not engaging the Bible regularly, it's too easy to start seeing life as we want to see it, or as those we read want us to see it. Scripture shows us how God sees the world. It shapes our lives as we see his values, his mission, his opinion of matters, and his desires.
But what if there is something better out there? What if there's another “color scheme” you'd like even better? What if there was a work, position, context, or relationship out there where you too would feel way more “at home” than you do now? What if that restlessness within you is trying to tell you something? What if God is trying to get your attention in the middle of what has become comfortable?
Of course we need to be careful of situations where we're avoiding newness for newness's sake or where we just want “bigger, better, best.” But, let's stop and be sure we're seeing things well and ask what IS wrong with “best?” We too often through that in with “bigger” and “better” but why is “better” considered bad. Why is it that we've become “best-adverse?” We have given “best” a bad connotation in our personal lives, elevating normalcy and the status quo as values while at the same time telling our kids not to give in to peer pressure. We don't want them to just go with the social flow, but yet we're too easily doing that in our lives as adults. It's easier.
Perhaps we're somewhere or doing something where we're clearly not “at home.” And it's clear that it's not our “best” or that it's not best for anyone.
Now, here's the caveat: What's “best” isn't always about just us. My dad once felt called to move churches (he is a pastor) and went to a town where he ended up staying for only three years before moving to another church. But, during those three years, my sister, my mom, and I all ended up in new careers because of connections made in that community.
- Moving reminds us that we don't always know what's possible and what may be best for us.
- Moving reminds us that there are other ways of living that may be even better and healthier for us.
- Moving reminds us that our comfortable routines and practices are just temporary preferences, not standards of excellence.
- Moving reminds us that time and routine can dull our creativity and ability to see what's possible.
Of course, moving is expensive. Perhaps a single-room remodel is a good starting point?
Before you go on to your next article, write down 2-3 dreams you have deep within. Prayerfully write down 2-3 things that you can think of that “block” you from taking steps toward those dreams. Now, spend a moment with that in front of you praying that God will help you discern what to do about those dreams .. and perhaps other dreams that he may have for you as well.
Clarify your Purpose
I want to share a proven resource guide that I first used in my own life and have since used with many other leaders. The simple process helps to clarify your purpose, your bucket of what you do in practice, and then the path you need to take as you take your best next steps forward.