by Ann Kelley, Director of Communications at Just Moved Ministry
Often the most difficult obstacle in starting over after a move is a loss of identity.
After 27 years as a missionary, Donna’s move back to the U.S. left her in a painful period of “limbo” that resulted in grief and depression. On the mission field her role as missionary, videographer, Bible teacher, mother, and friend was the way she defined herself. After her move, she didn’t have any of these responsibilities to provide her with an identity; even her children had grown and left her with an empty nest.
In time, Donna’s grief gave way to a new perspective. The move became an opportunity for Donna to reassess her goals, dreams, and relationship with Christ and with others.
[The move] allowed me the freedom in Christ to be who He wanted me to be! Now, rather than waking each morning with plans for video production, I wake with a clean slate and ask, ‘What do you have for me today, Lord?’ Each day is an adventure! My desire is to walk so closely with Him that I will know that the promptings of my heart are from Him, and I can confidently respond to those prompts. I don’t have to hang back in shyness, or hesitate, but can quickly and confidently act out of His love! I am no longer looking back, but looking forward each day with a deep joy.
Here are 10 ideas for you as you have this opportunity to redefine yourself and make decisions as you take on new responsibilities and involvements.
- Spend time in prayer and in the Word asking God for direction.
- Create a personal mission statement. Often, after settling in, you’ll find you have time on your hands. The calendar isn’t filled with all of the things you were involved in before moving. Take this opportunity to spend time creating a personal mission statement. Approach this prayerfully and ask yourself questions like, What are the responsibilities that God's given me at this stage in my life? What are my unique, God-given qualities? What do I love to do? What do I feel passionately about?
- Be open to trying new things as opportunities arise.
- Examine your gifts and abilities; ask those close to you to give you input as well. Seek an opportunity to use your gifts and abilities in your community. Investigate the local school, community center, church, etc. and offer your skills.
- What is something that you’ve always wanted to try or to be better at? Look into taking a class that takes you one step closer to that goal.
- Commit yourself to a cause that you feel passionately about.
- Get the beauty makeover that you’ve been thinking about. Ask women whose look you admire where they get their hair cut. (Yes, you can ask a stranger! Any woman would be flattered to be told her style was admired!) Go to a stylist and ask for a style that would be fabulous without a lot of fuss. Add highlights for a lift to your existing color or try a new color altogether! Have your makeup applied by a professional in a department store who can give you tips and advice.
- Try not to prejudge people or situations. Approach each moment, encounter, and experience with the knowledge that God is directing your path and these are opportunities for direction and enrichment.
- Review your decision-making in the past. Were there decisions that you made based upon the expectations of others? Were there decisions that you regret? This move can be a great opportunity to approach decisions (community involvement, friendships, healthful lifestyle, etc.) with greater wisdom and a desire to plan according to your personal mission statement (see suggestion number 2).
- Don’t wait until you have all of your “ducks in a row” to get involved. Gathering information and weighing opportunities is important, but at some point you just have to jump in!