We are presently in the midst of packing up to move… again. After living for 20 years in one place in South Florida we now have moved to five different cities and to 9 different houses in the last 13. While by no means are we nomads, we are, or so it seems, creating a normalcy of being on the move. Most of our moves have been to new jobs and exciting locations but the pain in the midst of all that is the packing. There may not be a worse job on earth. My Dad often says, “Moving is for the birds, and I don’t think they much like it.”
So, as I pack once again I got to thinking that maybe I should be learning something from this endeavor. So here are my 3 Lessons from moving, or most appropriately getting read to move.
Lesson 1: Don’t save the past. A lot of our packing angst has been the fact that we seem to be saving stuff that we don’t ever use! In every house over the last several years we have a stash of boxes that are stored away and never opened. How dumb is that? But as I thought about lessons to learn through this scenario I thought of how we tend to hang on to past stuff that isn’t worth much and might even be destructive. Some of us are actually holding on to hurt or guilt or mistakes that has long been boxed up emotionally but never really thrown away. Paul said, “Forgetting what is behind…” (Phil. 3:13) Are we forgetting what is behind or fashioning unnecessary burdens from it?
So this time we got rid of a bunch of stuff. Our motto was, if we hadn’t used it for a year than get rid of it. Maybe you need to do the same with some of the old stuff you’re hanging on to. Time to stop shuffling it from place to place in your heart and get rid of it.
Lesson 2: Don’t miss the memories. While we don’t need to hang on to the old stuff we never use, it certainly can be a positive experience to take a moment or two to look at some things that remind you of family, fun or both. While packing I ran across some pictures of a trip we took as a family to Estes Park, CO. From staying at the YMCA of the Rockies, to driving go-carts in Estes to seeing the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, looking at those pictures reminded me how lucky I am to have such a loving family. Then I came across some “cards” from a children’s Sunday School class that were “Thank-you Pastor Tim” cards… if it had been a MasterCard commercial I would have had to say, “priceless.”
When is the last time you took a moment to thank God for the priceless memories you have? Take a moment to walk back down those paths of good times. It may seem contrary to the first lesson but it’s not. There are things we need to get rid of and things we need to treasure. Paul once again in Philippians wrote: “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers…” (Phil. 1:4)
Lesson 3: Concentrate on what is ahead. Unless you are forced to move for unfortunate reasons, most of us move due to something new. For us most of our relocation were due to new calls to ministry. This time is no different. We are heading for a new town, and most importantly a new, growing and exciting church! We’ve already received notes from people we hardly know who can’t wait for us to get there. So, as I was in the midst of a frustrating part of packing I remembered this lesson and thought, “Yeah, but just think, in less than two weeks you will be unpacking in a new town, a new home, with brothers and sisters that you will be working with to extend God’s Kingdom. All of a sudden I wasn’t quite as frustrated (notice I didn’t say all frustration disappeared!) as I had been as I thought about what lies ahead. After all, after telling us that he forgot what was behind Paul also said, “I strain toward what is ahead.” Thinking about what is ahead keeps me from languishing over all I have to do to get there.
So there they are. I’m sure there are more but these were the ones that came to mind as I packed boxes today. As someone once said, “Don’t let today’s frustrations ruin tomorrow’s dreams.” (Unknown)