When Change Becomes Your Norm

Earlier this year, I became an expert in our neighborhood real estate - a complete MLS listing addict. I could tell you how much a house was listed for, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, and how long it had been on the market. I kept an eye out all the time for houses for sale in the surrounding streets, calculating how much we could afford, and badgering Andrew to look up potential buys.

We weren't actually looking to move. But I was convinced we needed to. I jokingly told friends we were like the couple who said, "We aren't trying to get pregnant, but we're not not trying - if it happens, we'll be happy!" If we found a house that suited us, we'd move.

Eventually Andrew brought me back to earth, explaining that it was actually a pretty bad idea for us to buy another house at this point. I sulked and pouted - then realized there was something else going on beneath the surface of my heart.

I had grown so accustomed to change that staying in the same place felt uncomfortable to me.

For the past four years, we had gone through countless transitions in our jobs, houses, community, the countries we traveled to and lived in. Every fall, during our three years in Cambodia, we'd pack up our house and move back to KC for a month's home leave. Then we'd move back and plan the next trip - normally to a nearby country for Christmas holiday. We had a baby and moved to Thailand for his birth. I worked on different projects and always had something new on my schedule.

It was an exciting life, but it was also so very tiring. And it programmed me to expect constant change in my environment, which has actually made it harder to live here.

My itching for a new home was my brain telling me, "Ok, it's time to switch it up! Things have been the same too long. You need something new - how about a new house and new neighborhood?!" And I ran with it.

But I failed to ask what was motivating that desire. I wasn't putting roots down into the life God had given me. I wasn't focusing on the wonderful, debt-free home we already had. I looked at the small kitchen and tiny bedrooms and compared my life to others - and found it wanting.

It's a dangerous place to be, where constant transition becomes your norm and you have a hard time living a "normal" life.

So I brought all these emotions and discontents to God. I gave up my striving for change and accepted where we are right now in life. And I deleted the Reece & Nichols real estate app from my phone - a huge step towards taking my focus off what I don't have. (Let's be honest - I still get on there and look around once in a while. But I no longer have the obsessive compulsion to find every house that we could possibly move to.)

We will probably move someday. Our lives will not continue on like this forever. It's just a fact of life that change happens. But I don't need to push for change to happen before it's time. As Jesus said in the book of Matthew, every day has enough trouble of its own. Focus on the life you're given today; keep pursuing Him; and God will handle the details of the future.

Have you ever experienced this? When you realize your actions are just a symptom of something deeper going on in your heart? Or feeling like you want your life to change, just because that's what has always happened before?