Moving with JOY
Danny and I have made a monumental decision. In mid-February, we will be moving from California to North Carolina. Besides getting married and having children, this is the most life-altering choice we’ve ever made.
We prayed for God to provide an opportunity in North Carolina and then Danny landed a great job there. Our house sold with ease. We have dear friends living in the town where we will be living. This move will improve our financial future too. Moreover, we’ve longed for a slower pace and wider spaces. The Lord has answered our prayers! We feel assured that North Carolina is where we are meant to be.
This adventure holds exciting possibilities. We get to pick out a new house in a new neighborhood and fill it with furniture that doesn't have stains on it from twenty years ago. We will discover new restaurants and explore new places. We’ll take walks in the woods and complain that the deer are eating our flowers. We will use the word “y’all."
And yet as a professional overthinker, I’ve imagined every possible difficulty we will face. It will take a long time to find and develop friendships. We will need to look for a new church. I will get lost driving to the grocery store. I will need a new doctor, dentist, car mechanic, and nail salon. I can’t imagine how many bad haircuts I will have before I find the right hairdresser.
More importantly, as my parents age, I will not be able to swing by their house to check on them or run over when they need my help. Though I’m an airplane flight away, the gift of seeing one another as part of the rhythm of our week will be lost. There will be times when I'll doubt our decision. I will feel lonely, overwhelmed, and homesick. I will miss my friends terribly.
In anticipation of these challenges, I’ve told myself not to get “too excited." I’ve prepared for pain by curbing my joy. It feels safer that way.
But it's not what Jesus wants for me--or any of us. To focus on imagined future disasters is to miss God's present abundance.
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:34 [MSG]
Jesus said that the Father cares for the birds in the air and the lilies in the field and He cares for us even more. Because we are looked after by our good and holy God, we don't need to brace ourselves for what could (but may not) happen. We can trust an unknown future to our gracious, known God.
Winnowing away at happiness will not prepare me for what lies ahead. It won't make adjusting to our new home more comfortable. It will only rob me of the genuine joy I feel right now. I know uprooting our life will be hard – but it will also be fantastic. I can’t wait for this experience. The Lord has provided this path, I can walk it with confidence. He will be with us as we go.
We are moving across the country. For now, I’m going to pay attention to what I know for sure: God is good. I will praise Him for how He has provided for our family. I will marvel at His generosity. I will trust Him with my future. And I will honor Him with my overflowing, unbridled joy.
You, Lord, are my portion, my cup; you control my destiny. The property lines have fallen beautifully for me; yes, I have a lovely home. I will bless the Lord who advises me; even at night I am instructed in the depths of my mind. I always put the Lord in front of me; I will not stumble because he is on my right side. That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous; yes, my whole body will rest in safety because you won’t abandon my life to the grave; you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit. You teach me the way of life. In your presence is total celebration. Beautiful things are always in your right hand. Psalm 16:5-11