As I write this, I am surrounded by boxes labeled with sharpie-scribbled words like “kitchen” “living room” “playroom” and a decent amount of my children’s “helpful” artwork. As I write this, I am living between waves of energy, exhaustion, tears, and good-goodbyes. As I write this, I am reflective but also really practical about getting this article written because — I got stuff to get done people! Yes, as I write this, our family is moving.
Moving is listed as one of life’s most stressful events, often ranked just behind death of a loved one and divorce. Gracious. That means it is really, really hard. And, we’ve done it more than a few times.
As with many other major events in life, moving is a mixed bag. There’s some really hard things but, there are also those hidden gems that always come along with life’s challenges. As a general practice, it’s important to reflect on all sides of things when we do hard stuff. So, in honor of this move, I’d like to spend just a little time thinking about what moving has taught me. The good, the bad — and the God.
Moving is hard. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. Ugh to assembling all the boxes. Packing all the things. Lifting all the awkward furniture. Trying not to damage one place on the way out or the new place on the way in. It’s a physically hard process that takes place in the middle of a mentally, emotionally, and psychologically hard space. And, it’s easy to get overwhelmed because it is also such a big process. But, I have found that there’s a lot of comfort in remembering that I am human, I can’t do everything at once, and asking for help. Moving (like life) is meant to be done with others.
Moving is unsettling. Me and my people are homebodies. We like our quiet spaces and our settled environments. Each time we move it seems to disrupt my equilibrium for several weeks until the walls around me don’t surprise me any more. One of the most important things we do during this time is connect with one another regularly so we are grounded in the familiar, even if we don’t know where the heck we packed our underwear. We need some stability until the environment starts to feel like home. That’s why every move is going to involve eating pizza and watching Star Trek that first night, even if we are in sleeping bags in the living room.
Moving moves me. It took me fifteen years of piddling around to begin writing my first study, Cultivating Joy. You know what finally prompted me to get it done? The move before this one. There was something about the unsettled, out-of-comfort-zone unknown that made me grasp for something I could control. And that, my friends, was writing. I have noticed that with every major change in life, my spirit seems to move forward with something as well. I think that’s a cool side-effect.
Moving gets rid of stuff. This has to be one of my favorite parts of moving. When we move, I try really, really hard, not to move anything I don’t want/need anymore. I have given away or donated more in the past ten years than I ever would have done if we stayed in one place. And, from a psychological standpoint, you shed stuff too. Moving has a really cool way of managing the people and pieces of your life. I love seeing what ends up persevering through a move, and what was meant for one place and time. One is not better than the other, it just helps you acknowledge and appreciate their purposes.
You never out-move God. This. This is the one most important thing I have learned about moving. He’s wherever we were and, He’s wherever we’re going. No matter how unpacked or unsettled I may be, He is the familar space that accompanies us everywhere we go. I tell you what, I really hope we are done moving for a good, long while. But, just in case we’re not, I’m so glad we can’t ever move away from Him.
And so, with that dear readers, you have my last new blog post for a few weeks. You’ll see a couple of my past favorites re-posted on social media while I honor this time to move our boxes and our hearts to a new place. I’ll be glad to reconnect with you after we find our underwear again.