The Lord said to Abram: “Go out from your land, your relatives,
and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
. . . So, Abram went, as the Lord had told him.
Genesis 12:1, 4 (CSB)
Twenty-six. That’s the number of different homes I lived in before I was thirty years old. Sometimes moving meant to a new house in the same town, but many times moving meant to a new city far away, where I wouldn’t know a soul.
By necessity, I became something of an expert at packing and labeling boxes. Perhaps this is why I never accumulated much clutter. Deep down, I knew — extra stuff meant more to pack and transport.
Moving a lot also meant I never stayed in one place long enough to paint the walls, settle in, and really make the place feel like home. Every house felt temporary, a stop-over until it was time to move on to the next thing.
Then shortly after I turned thirty-one, my husband and I purchased the house we’re in now. Fifteen years later, we’re still here. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived in the same place long enough to need to repaint the same walls I previously painted. And that’s what I’ve been doing this past year — redecorating some of the same rooms I decorated years ago. It was time for a fresh sprucing up of things.
When you’ve been in the same place for a long time, you get used to the smudges on the walls, and you no longer notice the way the doorknob won’t close unless you jiggle it just right. But that’s part of settling in and growing familiar with your surroundings.
When I was in my twenties, I would grow restless after I had lived in the same place about a year. I’d get the itch to move on and do something new. It’s just what I was used to. But the older I’ve become, the more I like being in the same place, knowing the same people. I don’t live in a small town, but I know the names of the cashiers at my nearby grocery store, and I know all my neighbors because we’ve been here a long while.
It’s home to me, and I like it here.
While I’ve been repainting and redecorating this past year, I’ve also been studying Genesis with a group of women (whom I adore!) at my church. Abraham left everything that was familiar to him, and he lived in tents in a foreign land for the rest of his life.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out
for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance.
He went out, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 (CSB)
Abraham’s obedience to follow God’s call on his life has been credited to him as righteousness, but to be honest, I never used to think this was that big of a deal. I mean, I moved all the time to new places. I was used to being a stranger in a “foreign land.” Starting someplace new was kind of exciting.
But now that I’ve been in the same place for quite a while, I realize how much Abraham was leaving behind. Like Abraham, we’ve all left things:
We’ve left childhood.
We’ve left home.
We’ve left school.
Perhaps some of us have even left jobs or cities.
Sometimes we need to say good-bye so we can say hello to new vistas and horizons, new opportunities and experiences. Leaving is a part of life — to grab hold of what is in front of us and let go of what is behind us. That’s what Abraham experienced when he obeyed God’s voice and set out for a new land, a new home.
Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go.
In fact, “leaving and going” is how this whole “children of God” thing began. We are heirs of the promise God gave Abraham. As believers in Christ, we are Abraham’s spiritual descendants, part of the same family.
Today, God still sometimes calls us to leave — to embark on a new journey toward an unknown future, trusting He will lead the way. But other times, God calls us to stay. At another point in biblical history, God told His people to stay put — right there in Babylon!
As the writer in Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to plant and a time to uproot.”
So wherever you are today — if you’re in a season of “uprooting” where you’re being called to move and do something new, or if you’re in a season of “planting” where you’re being called to stay right where you are — you can know that God is with you. He is with you wherever you go. It’s a promise.
Jesus came near and said,
“Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18, 20 (CSB)
Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go. -@DeniseJHughes: Click To Tweet