Moving from one home to another can bring up a lot of emotions, and it’s typically the case that many of those emotions are not ones that feel good. But as my husband Will and I prepare to move from New York City to Upstate New York, there is one emotion that keeps coming to the surface for me: joy.
Most of us don’t hear the word “moving” and immediately think “joy.” Many people absolutely hate moving, because of the work involved in packing up one’s possessions, moving them somewhere else, and then having to reorganize them in a completely different living space. Moving can be a stressful process, and we often wish we could snap our fingers and have our things magically moved and set up in our new place.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing all the other emotions that come with moving. We will miss living in Manhattan very much, and we are leaving much sooner than we expected. We feel a very strong grief around this move.
Yet, moving has offered us some opportunities to reassess what matters most. And because of that, I also feel joy. As a Christian minimalist, I am excited and joyful when I get to revisit my priorities and realign them with what God is calling me to in the next chapter of life.
Here are three major opportunities moving offers us, and how we can experience joy in the experience of moving:
1) Moving forces us reassess what possessions are adding value to our lives.
There’s nothing like moving to make you realize how many possessions you actually own! Forgotten stuff comes out from closet corners, and more boxes than expected end up being needed. We end up having to pay more for moving supplies and the moving process because we own so much stuff.
OR, here’s a potentially different scenario entirely: moving gives us an opportunity to assess our possessions and see which ones are still adding value to our lives– and then we can get rid of those that aren’t. It’s not about what used to add value, or what could add value in the future. The possessions we choose keep are actually adding value to our lives right now. So keep those, and donate or get rid of the rest.
2) Moving can help us refocus on the important aspects of our lives, including God.
Our reason for moving is often attached to a refocusing of our lives. Maybe we are moving for a career that feels more in-tune with our God-given spiritual gifts. Maybe we are moving to be closer to loved ones. Maybe we are moving to find a different faith community. Maybe we are moving to simply start over somewhere else.
Whatever the reason for the move, we have the unique ability in a relocation to recognize what matters most and find new ways to prioritize those aspects of our lives– while also praying for God’s guidance throughout the moving process.
3) Moving can precipitate other major life shifts.
Any major life change can open us to other big life changes, and moving most definitely qualifies as a big life change. Relocating opens us up to changes in our lifestyle and worldview; we can take definitive steps in simplifying and focusing on what’s most important. If we stayed where we were, we may be too comfortable to change. But moving offers new perspectives and new ways to live. Let’s grab this opportunity and make some minimalism changes!
God is with us!
God is with us while we make huge changes to our living space and location. While the Israelites traveled in the wilderness, God guided them:
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.Exodus 13:21-22
God was present and guided the Israelites at all times, and God is with us and guides us while we move as well. When you are in the moving process, spend some time in prayer and listen for God– because God is surely with us. It is with God’s help that we are able to simplify and focus on what matters most.
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