For three years my family lived above a lovely couple, Vin and Anna. For three years I worried about the noise and disturbances that six pairs of feet can make. For three years I asked my children to stop stomping up and down the stairs and jumping around the living room. For three years I was anxious about the impact that we were having on those who lived around us, thinking that we were too loud, too disruptive or too rambunctious for condo living. As it turns out, for three years I had nothing to worry about.
As it turns out, we were not too disruptive, too loud or too rambunctious. My wife, Jeanine, ran into Anna at the grocery store the other day and eventually the conversation turned to the new owners of our prior residence. Anna related that the only time she heard us was when the family went down the stairs in the morning. Anna added that we were at our loudest on Sunday morning when we all went to church (the silver lining to that comment for me was that she knew we went to church as a family every Sunday; the silver lining to that comment for her was that she knew we had gone to church and she knew she would have serene sleep for the next three hours). So, I worried about something that was not an issue – Anna told Jeanine that she missed hearing the kids.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Maybe it is not concerns over excessive noise from the family’s footfalls on the neighbors ceiling, but I’m sure it is something. We all worry. Some worry about health issues and others worry about finances. Some worry about what the future holds and others worry about what could be revealed about our past. Some worry about their kids and others worry about their parents (and some worry about both). At some point, our thoughts get the better of us all and we become anxious over some aspect of life that is beyond our ability to control. The Bible says worry is not the answer.
Throughout the Scripture we are given narratives which prove that the antidote to worry is trust in the Almighty. Abraham didn’t worry about his son’s future and instead trusted that the Lord would provide a lamb. David didn’t worry about his ability to complete the task and instead trusted in the Lord to defeat Goliath. Three Israelite boys didn’t worry about dying in the fiery furnace and instead trusted in the Lord to deliver them. Jesus reminded us that we ought not worry about what we would eat or what we’d wear and instead trust that His Father would supply what we lack. And if these accounts are not sufficient, read about Noah, Moses, Elijah, Peter and Paul. Don’t worry, believe.
I realize that all this is easier (for me, at least) to say than to do. But I am going to trust God to provide, defeat, deliver and supply. I am going to follow His leading in communicating my fears and frustrations with Him and with others. I am going to let Him handle the details while I simply focus on Him. And I do my best to refrain from making faces or erupting emotionally when my 8-year-old is clomping down the hallway. Lord, help my unbelief!
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 (NIV)
By the time this is posted, my family and I will have moved the eight-tenth of a mile to our new apartment. By the time this is posted, my family will have eaten our first meal and slept our first night in our new home. By the time this is posted, the stress and nausea I have had for the last two weeks will have begun to subside…I hope. I am writing these words on Tuesday afternoon, will load the truck (the reservation on which, praise the Lord, was confirmed this morning) tomorrow and unload the truck on Thursday, Lord willing.
As I conclude the process of moving, I am struck by the following observations:
- In the task of packing, the three things I discovered we had the most of were clothes, photographs and loose change. I can understand the clothing (with 6 people and 4 seasons you gather a great deal of sweaters) and the photos (since you never want to throw a single one out); but the change was surprising (we seem to have found coins on every floor, drawer and flat surface); sometimes moving is important to discover the small treasures you never realized you had.
- We did not devote enough time to go through everything. We calculated in our minds how long it would take to go through memory boxes, school papers, the stuff that breeds in the backs of closets and kitchen cabinets and we ran out of days before we ran out of duties. This made me realize two things: that we (personally and as a culture) keep way too much stuff, and that we all need to move every decade or so to realize all the wonderful things we have in the backs of closets (or in attics, garages, sheds, cellars or storage units); sometimes we need to remember how vast God’s blessings really are.
- I will never use the phrase, “Let Go and Let God” ever again – because I know I’d be a hypocrite if I uttered it. Moving has revealed to me that I worry about too many things – will the truck be available, will the truck be big enough, will the kids like the new place, will the furniture fit up the stairs, will the truck fit down the small streets of Dorchester (especially with the contractor’s dumpster in the street and the pickup always parked across from it), and what will happen if we forget or break or lose something we need? God is always faithful and yet I am often fretful; sometimes we need to be out of control to remember Who really is.
By the time this is posted all will be settled and all the things that we’ve sorted, packed, recycled and worried about will have been resolved. Thank you all who prayed for us and assisted us throughout this process…moving also reminds you of all the good people God has surrounded you with.
I just thought of one more thing: I hope I got the truck back in time and they didn’t charge me an extra day!