Where Do You Begin?
A friend asked if she could meet with me for coffee last week. There was a sense of urgency in her voice and her eyes were brimming with tears. Her news was all too familiar. “We are moving,” she said. “With the pandemic layoffs here, my husband has been looking for a job out of state. We’re going to Virginia. The lease on our house is up the end of the month, so we’ll leave in a few weeks.” Her voice was filled with emotion, she forced a smile, but her words were in panic mode. “My mind is whirling,” she said desperately. “There’s so much to do since we are packing and moving ourselves. So many wonderful friends to see for the last time, so many goodbyes to people I’ve known for years. Where do I begin?”
As I listened to her story unfold, I could see how anxious and overwhelmed she was. I knew I couldn’t change the difficult circumstances of their move, but I could offer encouragement to help prepare her heart for the journey ahead.
Perhaps you are facing a move or some other major life change that will uproot your life and, like my friend, you ask, “Where do I begin?”
Keep in mind that moving is an emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down, and you’re never quite sure where the next curve will take you. Right now you may be hanging on to the rollercoaster of moving, not sure how you’re going to land.
After 14 rollercoaster moves and some life-changing circumstances, I know all too well about being physically and emotionally uprooted. I also know how easy it was to wear a smile that would cover a multitude of feelings as I tried to look like I had everything under control and was excited about another move, when all the while I was crumbling inside.
I want to go beyond your smile and go straight to your heart, as I did with my friend that day.
The rooms of your heart
Picture your heart as a home with many rooms. You prepare the rooms of your home for moving out and for moving in, but what about the rooms of your heart? Have you taken the time to prepare them?
Perhaps you have closed off a room that holds the sadness of leaving behind beloved friends and family and, by keeping it closed, you avoid the presence and support of those who love you.
Maybe there is a room of fear for what the future holds and that fear is keeping you from feeling peace in your heart.
There could be a room of chaos filled with to-do lists of busyness that distracts you from time in prayer and in God’s word.
There may be a room filled with exhaustion that robs you of joy, or a room of discouragement that prevents hope from entering in.
If you haven’t taken the time to prepare your heart, you will find yourself running on empty with nothing left physically or emotionally for the road ahead. Here are some keys to open your heart and begin to prepare for a move or any life transition.
Remember Who Accompanies You
Whether you are married or single, I know it’s easy to slip into a pattern of thinking that you’re carrying the responsibility all by yourself. But you are not! God assures us that His presence goes with and even ahead of us. Even now when I feel alone and overwhelmed, I am reassured through God’s Word that He is with me in all things.
Prepare a room in your heart with Deuteronomy 31:8: The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Recall God’s Faithfulness
Oh, how easily we can forget! I often become so consumed with what’s happening around me and focused on my circumstances, that I forget God’s faithfulness to me in the past. He has always met my needs, (although, not necessarily my wants.) He has been there for me in the past and He will be there for me now and in the future. I continue to learn faith-building lessons in life changes about trust, patience, and God’s provision by relying on God’s faithfulness.
Prepare a room in your heart with “…faith, not sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
Stay Grounded in What’s Important
You are probably being pulled in a lot of directions and feel somewhat scattered. Sometimes you need to be pulled back to center and get your feet back on the ground before you can move forward. Are you listening to the voice of culture telling you all the things you have to do and say, and how to look and act to make this an easy transition in your life? Instead, listen to the voice of God as He tells you to follow His direction and listen to His wisdom. God’s to-do list is short, just “Come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21) and “Abide in Me” (John 15:4), then other things will fall in place.
Prepare a room in your heart with God’s Word to keep you rooted and grounded in Him.
Count Your Blessings
Put aside all the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” and start counting your blessings, regardless of your circumstances. Instead of having a pity party, have a praise party! Choose to be positive, instead of being negative. Changing your attitude and focusing on your blessings can make all the difference in your day.
Prepare a room in your heart with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
Stop and Smell the Flowers
In other words, be good to yourself! Make sure to schedule some self-care by taking a break to rest your body (prop your feet up), renew your mind (walk), and restore your spirit (listen to praise and worship music). Moving can get hectic and exhausting. Emotions can be high and nerves can get on edge. When the heat is up, stay cool. Humor can release stress and being flexible can help ease tension and pressure.
Prepare a room in your heart just for some time-out for YOU. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Ask For Help from Your Friends
Don’t deny friends the blessing of being a part of the process in your move. Saying good-bye can be expressed through the gift of serving. Time spent together will be priceless and memories will be cherished. Call and say, “I need you.”
Prepare a room in your heart for a friend to come and “bear one another’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2
Rise to the Occasion
You can do this! You may take a few detours along the way, but God is right there with you, ready to guide you back to the right path. He will stretch you beyond your comfort zone and give you the resilience and strength to get through the bumps along the way. Trust Him on this journey. Seek Him with all your heart. Turn to Him for stability and security.
Prepare a room in your heart to begin moving forward with faith as you cling to this verse:
…I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on….” Philippians 3:13,14
And now my friends, I invite you to take the first step as you open the door to the rooms in your heart. They are prepared and ready for you.
From My Heart to Yours,