BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
I hate moving. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, honestly. It’s horrible. Not only is your whole life literally uprooted as you leave one home and try to make a home in another place, but somehow all of your stuff has multiplied, and did we really have this many coffee mugs last week?
My husband and I just moved for the first time since we got married. This wasn’t a big move—just a quick drive down the road to a new apartment with more space. When we decided to move, I had it all planned out. We got the keys to our new apartment before our lease was up at our current space, which I thought was great. Instead of moving in one horrible, colossal day, we could slowly migrate our stuff over during the weekends. I was convinced that this was going to be a stress-free move.
In reality, a third of our stuff was in boxes in our tiny apartment (which felt even smaller with all the boxes), another third we couldn’t box up or move because we needed it, and the last third was already at our new place. We had no idea where anything was. We were moving or packing every night after work, but it didn’t feel like we were making any real progress.
Added to that, work got super stressful and crazy for both me and my husband. It was a hot mess at the Stapleton household. I was anxious and two seconds away from tears at any given moment.
Transitions are hard! I don’t do well in in-between spaces like this one, where we didn’t fully live at either apartment and nowhere felt like home. I tend to want to rush through these periods because they make me so anxious and uncomfortable. I don’t want to linger. I’m a get in and get out kind of person.
But God likes to do a lot of work in these spaces, in these times when I am so deeply uncomfortable. In my rushing to get it all over with, I try to push my body and my mind beyond what I can handle. So God gave me a husband who would regularly remind me that it’s okay to not have it all done, to slow down, to breathe, to read a few pages in my book.
I kept thinking about Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God cares about all the things that make us anxious, that make us uncomfortable. God gives me opportunities (even though sometimes it feels more like I’m forced) to linger in these uncomfortable in-betweens because it gives me the chance to let go of my anxiety. All God wanted was for me to stop trying to just push through my anxiety over the move and to hand it to Him.
This wasn’t a bad move, by any means. I’ve heard far worse horror stories. But that doesn’t matter to God. My anxiety over the fact that I had no idea if I had packed my Excedrin or where it was mattered to Him. Instead of tearing through boxes and racking my brain, and generally flying around like a small, crying tornado, all He wanted was for me stop and give it to Him. To just say, God, I’m really anxious about all this moving. I don’t like not knowing where things are, because I find a lot of peace in knowing that everything is where it’s supposed to be. Help me turn to You for my peace instead of things that I believe I can control. And also do something about this migraine.
Was I good about this during the three weeks it took us to move and unpack? Nooooo. But God still gave me lots of chances to sit in my anxiety and lack of control and give it all up. I’m not good at giving it all up. Sometimes I gave some of it up. Sometimes I held on to my anxiety and didn’t give anything up. The chances kept coming. And eventually, I figured out that really, God was using this an opportunity to show me something about myself—that I look for peace in things I can control instead of Him—and give me chances to correct my thinking. That’s a hard thing to correct! Of course, I didn’t get it right every time. But I’m a bit more in tune with what God wants from me, with who He wants me to be.
These moments where we are uncomfortable are opportunities for us to grow and develop habits that put us in closer connection with God. We won’t be perfect at it. Sometimes we will use the skills God wants to cultivate in us and sometimes we won’t. Habits take time to stick. God gives us chances to make them habits.
We’re all unpacked now, and I still don’t know where my Excedrin is. But instead of freaking out and tearing around our new place trying to find it, I let go and went to Walmart to get some more.