Sometimes I think I was born to move. I lived in six homes before my eleventh birthday. I remember standing in front of my fifth grade class, being introduced as the new kid, and thinking, “I hope I never have to do this again.” That wish was not granted; and I am glad.
Since we married, my husband, Brad, and I have lived in eleven different homes; and for the last six months our home has been a small RV. I am grateful for moving because it motivates purging our possessions, revives our marriage, and births renewal.
Moving motivates purging: we can’t take everything with us, and so we ruthlessly sell, donate, recycle and discard things we no longer need.
Moving revives our marriage: when we move to a new place, Brad and I are each other’s only friends. We need to search together for a grocery store, hardware store, places to exercise, restaurants and a church. We need to work together to solve problems that arise in the transition; we need to re-create home, our place of rest.
Moving births renewal: we arrive in each new place incognito. A fresh start is an opportunity to start healthier habits, to try out new roles, to make new friends.
There was one time though, when I did not want to move. We had lived in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, for a total of eight years. I was working at a school I loved, The American School of The Hague. I loved commuting by bicycle, and riding long distances through the dunes on weekends. I was experiencing the treasure of long-term friendships.
But Brad got transferred to the United Arab Emirates; and we had to go. I was distraught, and everyone knew it, especially Brad. (Sorry, Sweetie!) A wise friend who knew how much I love the Christian Bible suggested I find a verse to write in calligraphy each day. I acted on his suggestion for several months, and it slowly re-focused my heart.
In a sermon a few weeks after we moved to the UAE, our pastor, Cam Arensen, suggested we “plow God’s Word into our lives.” I love how God sometimes sends us important messages through more than one person, in more than one place. As I mused on that phrase, I decided it meant I should read the same number of pages of the Bible every day, proceeding directly from the beginning (Genesis) to the end (Revelation). This has become my daily habit, and I have found that when I plow God’s Word into my life something grows: renewed understanding of who God is, renewed understanding of who I am, and an increasing supply of love and grace towards others.
Application: Dear friend, whether you have moved frequently like I have, or you have lived in the same home long-term, you can organize a soul move. Weary friend, your soul will flourish if you purge excess possessions and commitments, nurture your closest relationships, and plow God’s Word into your heart and life.
What areas of your life would benefit from a soul move? What habits can you change to help that to happen?