Monday, November 30, 2009

Take the "un" out of unsettled

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.
1 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (NIV)

The question I dread the most about moving is "Are you settled yet?"

Each time we move, I go through an identity crisis. With no point of reference, no credentials, and no history in a new place, it's as if I have to identify myself all over again. A totally unsettling experience!

My husband's new job provides him both a role and an automatic structure to become involved within a new community. School offered our children a built-in social network that helped them get established quickly; consequently, we timed our moves to occur either during the school year or immediately before classes began.

I don't have a specific way to connect; yet, I have a basic need to be accepted and loved in my new world. I'm afraid the nitty-gritty of settling pushes even an outgoing, Pollyanna, Myers Briggs ENFJ personality type like me out of my comfort zone.

Mary is an incredible young woman who willingly abandons what she knows to settle on something better, Someone greater. I treasure her story recorded in the Bible's New Testament.

The Master has been in her home before. He's not like other rabbis. He cautions about distractions of performance, good intentions, and the tyranny of the urgent. He offers unconditional love and welcomes alike the downtrodden and healthy, outcast and upright, sinner and saint to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, and brings the dead to life. Goodness. Were Lazarus not reclining this very moment at the dinner table, it would be nearly impossible to believe the Master had raised her beloved brother from the tomb!

Yet, something is different about this visit. An urgency. A determination. A heightened degree of compassion fused with an intensity that seeps into every corner of the house. Perhaps intuitively, Mary senses the tragedy ahead.

Taking what is very likely her most valued, earthly possession, Mary can do no less than demonstrate her complete devotion to Jesus. She breaks open an entire flask of precious, perfumed oil; and in a lavish, extravagant gesture of affection, she anoints Jesus' head and feet with the costly treasure. Then, in complete abandonment, and at the risk of her reputation, she unbinds her headpiece and wipes His feet with her hair.

As the perfume fills the house with its powerful fragrance, not everyone understands. Some object silently. Others openly ridicule the extravagant display of devotion. "Leave her alone," Jesus says in the face of his disciples' disapproval. "She has done a beautiful thing for me." (Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-8)

Mary pours out her very life in love and sacrificial service. She settles once and for all the question of Christ's lordship. The sweet scent of that sacrifice still lingers today.

Like Mary, I, too, settled the question of Jesus' lordship. Leaving behind family, friends, job, and sense of belonging that help define me, I look to Jesus to soothe my emotions, strengthen my resolve, and confirm my identity. I am a:
child of God, forgiven, holy, and dearly loved
wife, in honor and love, committed to the marriage covenant I made with my husband
mother, charged with nurturing two children
steward, faithful and entrusted with the time and money God has given me
friend, sharing Jesus' love in the world that I serve

As a newcomer, I want to belong. With a renewed confidence, I focus on how to settle in and not bemoan that I have to do it. Besides, I've learned there are some distinct advantages to being new. Without old commitments, I have more control over my time, I find time to break old habits, and nobody has seen my wardrobe!

Friend, what is causing you to feel unsettled? In faith, will you pour out your heart at Jesus' feet? He knows your name. He loves you totally and unconditionally. I pray you will be strengthened and encouraged in your faith.

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

PS 10 tips to help you settle in your new home
  • Meet your neighbors (write down their names), borrow an egg, deliver a plate of brownies
  • Find a church home
  • Become part of the community, learn the area's history, meet your mail carrier, register to vote
  • Volunteer at your child's school
  • Invite a neighbor for coffee/tea
  • Attend a Bible study group, join a book club, take an exercise class
  • Have a picnic in a local park
  • Join a newcomer's organization (attend more than one meeting)
  • Take a walk
  • Don't rush from appointment to appointment, spend time, visit with those you meet


  1. Thank you for your blog... I, too, am a nomad having moved 7 times in the past 7 years with another one set for next year (we aren't sure where yet; we're still in the interview process right now). Trying to "settle in" as a mother of 4 has been quite difficult, so I appreciate your posts. I'm not sure why God has us traveling all over the country, but I need to trust that there is a bigger purpose and plan and take advantage of the opportunities available in starting over every year. Your blog is reassuring and helping me to keep things in perspective. Thank you!

  2. Wow! Seven moves in 7 years. You get the prize for exhibiting obedience, patience, and fortitude. I'm delighted to meet you and look forward to you stopping in for another visit.

    I'd love to hear which topics interest you as we travel a nomad life.