Recently my family and I moved house, moved states. We moved away from our community. It was a big deal. It was really hard! Surprisingly hard actually! Have you ever done something and you thought, “Yeah this is going to require a lot of me, this is new and foreign and is definitely going to be challenging but I’m a strong person, I heard from Jesus on this …and I think if I’m prepared I can do this! Me and Jesus…we got this!”
And then, uh-oh… you don’t got this!
I spent many months preparing for this move. Many hours packing and sorting all my stuff and all my children’s stuff, the sentimental things, the practical things, the play things, the garage and yard things, all the little things that don’t have a place and all the big things…our whole house…our whole life. It was hard work. It took a lot of time, a lot of intentional mental and emotional focus. (And I don’t really know if I did a very good job but we got it done.)
But the Stuff wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was the People; the community that we were deeply rooted in took the real mental and emotional investment to process, to communicate and connect with, to prepare for this great transition and feel ready to move away from. I bought many gifts and had coffees and brunches and dinners out with special people. It was important to me that I say to the people that I love how grateful I was and am for their friendship, and that good-bye was no small thing!
This was a sad and wonderful process. I felt loved and valued. I felt blessed and sent off. It was definitely heavy and sad but so so good. On the day that we moved, I felt ready!
Something I’ve learned about myself is that no matter how prepared I feel, hard things are just hard…really hard! This seems obvious right? But it’s not to me!
When my son had open-heart surgery I prayed and journaled, I processed my fears with good friends and had them pray with me and continue to pray for us. I did practical things like planning and organizing my home and I had special things ready to have with me and for him in the hospital. I set up childcare for my other children to give myself peace of mind that they were taken care of. I had special people come be with us during this difficult time and bring yummy Chipotle and Thai food. (I have literally said, many a time, that there isn’t much that some good Thai food can’t fix.) And yet, when it came to it, all that preparation was like nothing at all. When the knot in my stomach became like a vice and the sharp sting and deep anguish came to my mother’s heart, watching my dear boy in pain and not being able to take it away…there was no real comfort in food or activities or even in people.
That pain was real and there was nothing I could do but just walk through it.
I’m in a very, VERY different set of circumstances right now, but I have found myself in the same boat. I am struggling and sad, crying deep tears from a deep place and not knowing what to do. And worse, feeling frustrated with myself that I feel this way at all! I was prepared for this after all!
Moving house in and of itself is not a big deal. People do it everyday! But transition, moving your life to a new place and starting again is a BIG DEAL! Starting new friendships, new church community, new neighborhood, new school, new work place, new city with different traffic, and strange cultural differences. New routines, new grocery store, new gym, new coffee shops and fun places to go on a date night. Everything is new and that’s uncomfortable!
What area in your life is in transition? It might not be everything but even one thing can have a big impact and cause you to feel uncomfortable in a very real way. What I’m working on, (I’ll let you know when I get it figured out,) is being ok with not being ok. Telling myself, “This IS a big deal! You’re allowed to struggle!” Also, I’m practicing at inviting others into my struggle. Vulnerability is a powerful thing! I have some wonderful, mature friends who love me well and as I’ve shared what’s going on their empathy and encouragement have made a huge difference. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a woman’s heart weighs her down, but a good word makes her glad.” (Pronouns changed for emphasis).
The final and most important two things I’ve done are:
1). Sharing it with the Lord. The Immanuel Journaling process has been so helpful for me. Sitting down, quieting my heart and writing down ‘thank you Lord!’ And listening…listening (and journaling.) He share’s how He sees me and hears me, how He understands how big this is for me and that He can do something about it! (immanueljounaling.com)
2). Reading His word, washing my mind and heart with His truth everyday! 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride] (not thinking ‘I’ve got this’ about everything) so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appointed time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries and all your concerns] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)
In listening to the Lord I feel a sense of reassurance that I am where God wants me to be, and that He wants to use me in this place. That knowledge and comfort doesn’t take away those big tears from deep places, but it gives me a sense of purpose that my struggle is not in vain.
I’m glad I was prepared. All that time and work in preparation was my contribution to this process; it was valuable and necessary. And now, as I walk it out, I’m putting the weight of the hard work on Jesus, casting it everyday upon Him.