Moving is much like an emotional roller-coaster ride. One minute you’re going up, the next minute you’re going down, and you’re never quite sure what the next curve will bring. Right now you may be hanging on to the roller coaster of moving, not sure how you are going to land.
Have you even stopped for a minute to check your emotions about this move? If you haven’t taken the time to prepare your heart emotionally and spiritually, you will be like an empty vessel unable to pour out the love, care, nurturing, and encouragement your children need during this time.
Where do you begin? Here are 10 steps to prepare your heart for a smooth move. The first four are the foundation for all the rooms in your heart.
1. Remember Who accompanies you. The most important thing for you to remember in your transition is that you are not going through it alone. God assures us that His presence goes with and even ahead of us. He will never leave us, fail us, or forsake us. Even now when I feel alone and overwhelmed, I am reassured through God’s Word that He is with me! You can prepare a room in your heart with this Scripture: “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” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
2. Recall God’s faithfulness. Oh, how easily we forget! I can become so consumed in seeing only what’s happening around me right now and how it’s not going according to the “plan of Susan” that I quickly forget God’s faithful track record with me. He has always met all my needs, although not necessarily all my wants (Philippians 4:19). It is all according to His plan, not mine!
I remember one time when we were making two house payments because our house in Atlanta had not sold before we moved to Phoenix. I could not understand why we had to endure such a financial hardship. After one year, the Atlanta house finally sold. Somehow God faithfully provided a way financially for us to make it month by month. I learned some faith-building lessons that year in trust, patience, and God’s provision. Prepare a room in your heart with faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
3. Count your blessings. Regardless of your circumstances, I know you can find the blessings in your life. Put aside all the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” and start counting. Instead of having a pity party, have a praise party!
On one of our moves during early marriage days, we lived in an apartment complex that was still under construction. Each day all I saw was the dirt and mud that surrounded us. Every time someone came inside they tracked in more mud. There wasn’t anything that wasn’t covered with dust inside. My “if only” list grew and spilled over into a bad attitude and a grand pity party. Then one day as I looked out the window, my eyes shifted from the ground to the sky. The sun was gleaming through the trees, and the sky was bright blue. I caught a glimpse of a bird high on a treetop, singing his heart out. Suddenly I realized how I had been looking down and seeing only the negative circumstances.
Try looking up instead of down. It’s amazing what you’ll see. Changing your focus can make all the difference in the world. Wallpaper a room in your heart with Psalm 118:24 (NIV): “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
4. Stay grounded in what’s important. A lot of things are going on in your life right now. To-do lists are getting longer, as well as all the suggestions on what to do and how to do it. As I have said many times in the upheaval of moving, “I’m bouncing off the walls. Watch out!” Sometimes I need to be pulled back to the center and get my feet back on the ground before I can move forward.
Are you listening to society telling you how to look and act to make this a smooth and easy transition in your life? Try listening 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. Prepare a room in your heart with God’s Word to keep you rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:17).
5. Stop and smell the flowers. In other words, take time to be good to yourself! Schedule some self-care by taking a break to rest your body, renew your mind, and restore your spirit. Emotions are high and nerves are on edge. You will need an extra measure of energy in the days ahead.
Get a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to stay up all night cleaning out drawers or straightening up the house for the movers to come. True confession: I’ve done it. I even had a friend who dusted everything before her move.
You might want to start journaling your thoughts and feelings about this move. Add some personal prayers. It will be good to look back and see how God has answered them. Make the time to read your Bible. It will renew your mind with God’s truth at a time when things may seem confusing.
6. Ask for help from your friends. I was always so hesitant to ask anybody to help me when we were in the moving process. I didn’t want to impose or inconvenience anyone. Over the years I’ve learned that by not asking for help, I was denying my friends the blessing of being a part of the process of our leaving.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Part of saying good-bye can be expressed through the gift of serving. The time spent together is priceless. The memories will be cherished.
7. Be prepared for the blues clues. Recognize the clues when you get the blues! You may feel sad about leaving a great job, dear friends, or a home that’s become a part of you. You might be angry at your husband or even his company for a move you didn’t want to make. The fear of going to a new place, not knowing if you will like it there or whether you will fit in, may loom in the back of your mind. Anxiety about choosing the right house, school, community, church, doctor, and even a hairdresser could keep your thoughts preoccupied.
My dear moving friend, you are so normal! As the tapestry of your life is woven together again, it is my prayer that it will be with threads of peace, contentment, and joy. Prepare a room in your heart where you can acknowledge your feelings and seek God’s peace.
8. It’s okay to cry if you want to. Moving is change. With change comes loss. With loss comes grieving. With grieving come tears. When you move, grieving is a natural progression of what happens when you lose someone or something that is meaningful part of your life. The loss of your friends, community, home, job, and even your church family can fill you with grief even before your move takes place.
Prepare a room in your heart for tears to flow. It’s okay to cry. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10).
9. When the heat is up, stay cool. There will be times when the stress is rising and the pressure is on. Nothing will go according to plan: You are late for a farewell get-together; you can’t find the house documents you put in a safe place; the people who might buy your house are coming back and bringing their relatives; and the school just called for you to come and get your sick child. Sound familiar? At times like this, keeping a sense of humor and being flexible are your only chances for survival. Humor can release stress and help put chaos in perspective. Prepare a room in your heart to cool down when the heat is up!
10. Rise to the occasion. You can do it! I am excited about what God is going to do in you and through you on this journey. You may take a few detours along the way and even get off on the wrong exit ramp occasionally, but God is right there with you, always 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 go through all the bumps along the way. Trust Him on this journey. Seek Him with all your heart. Turn to Him for your stability and security. Embrace the changes this move will bring as an opportunity to learn and grow personally in ways beyond what you could ever imagine.
Taken from But Mom, I Don’t Want to Move! By Susan Miller. Copyright © 2004 by Susan Miller. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.