There’s just something about being forced to sort through and lay hands on ALL of one’s worldly goods. Kinda grabs you around the throat and causes you think one of two things. “Man, are we blessed to be part of the 1%.” Or, “Man, why do I have so much stuff?!?!?!” Me? I tend to vacillate back and forth between those polar opposites when we have to move. The Lord, by way of the Army, is sending us on. Sending us out west. (We’re traveling with a camper with the word “Pioneer” emblazoned on it! Ironic?!) We’ve moved 5 times in the past 7 years since my husband followed God’s calling into the Army (3 moves before that!). 2 of those 5 times we moved ourselves, also known as a DITY move (do-it-yourself). Some people say that building a new construction home with your spouse can bring you to the brink of divorce. I say moving all your earthly possessions yourself with your spouse can do the same (and costs less! :-) I’m kidding (sorta), but it is stressful and back-breaking for sure.
Through observation, I’ve learned a few things in the midst of these different types of moves. First, LET THE MOVERS MOVE YOU any time you can. Second, when one has to move oneself, one tends to NOT go through one’s belongings meticulously the way one would if someone else was coming to pack them up. I do not know why. I have just observed this in myself. This time, moving so many hundreds of miles and knowing that someone else was going to pack up my stuff made me WANT to go through each thing we owned and hold it up to this light: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (William Morris) Now, my husband and I are not on the same page about this (after all, he’s a guy — and that’s what I like about him!) but when it came to things that are specifically mine or under my responsibility (and wouldn’t affect him), I used this quote in my decision making process. I am happy to say that we are lighter than we’ve ever been. We (as a family and a society) accumulate “stuff” at SUCH a fast rate! (We’ve only been in our current home 15 months.) Even thought we’ve moved 5 times in 7 years, I still ended up making 5 trips to the donation center and throwing away 3 times as much trash as we normally would in one week. I’m amazed. And quite frankly appalled.
Being a chaplain family, we function as a special type of missionary. The Army sends us where they want when they want, but we firmly believe with all of our hearts that God is sovereign over that process (even when the Army sends us to one of our top picks, we believe that God made us passionate about that “pick” from the start - quickening our hearts to that location as we prayed and sought His will). I never feel more “missionary-like” than move week. I’m a global thinker, so this process makes me question EV-ER-Y-THING. Are we still called to do this? Is this still what we/God want for our family? Are we still walking in His will? Do we really want to do this for the next 10-15 years??? This is a good thing, though, because as long as my heart’s answer is still “yes” to all those questions (okay, not sure about that last question because I’m taking life one year at a time!) then my life is built on a firm foundation and I’m not just going through the motions in a lukewarm manner. I’m doing this because He’s called me and because I want to! Passionate obedience.
Many more lessons and observations to come throughout this move, I’m sure. But this was what was on my heart today. And just to keep it real for you…this is a picture of what our “do-not-move-because-we-are-taking-this-stuff-with-us” room looks like. You’re welcome. Makes you want to watch an episode of hoarders, huh?